Massages help relieve stress and soothe tense muscles. Whether it's your first time getting a massage, or you're trying out a new masseuse or spa, it's important to make sure you're getting the best treatment for your body. You may have to do a bit of trial and error before you find the perfect masseuse and treatment for you, but asking the right questions is a good way to start.
How Long Have You Been a Massage Therapist?
Although there are many talented beginners, look for massage therapists with at least five years' experience. Master massage therapists usually have 10 or more years of experience, and some may even have their own private practice.
What Kind of Training Have You Had?
Every massage school has its own unique approach to teaching. While some may focus on traditional massage, others can also incorporate alternative methods such as reflexology, aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Thai massage, Reiki, or other types of energy work. Most states require a minimum of 500 to 600 hours of training, while New York and Nebraska require 1,000 hours. Double check that the therapist is licensed or certified to practice massage.
What Style of Massage Do You Specialize In?
There are many kinds of massage, including deep tissue, Swedish, hot stone, and sports massage. Ask upfront to verify that you're getting the best person to perform your preferred massage method. If you're not sure which massage to get, feel free to ask the therapists about the benefits of each style to see what they may suggest for you.
Where Else Have You Worked?
Massage therapists can work in many different places. Some have past experience in day spas or resort spas while others may have worked with chiropractors or in clinics.
Are You Comfortable Working With My Health Condition?
When you arrive at the spa, the therapist will have you fill out a medical form before asking you if there are any areas you'd like to focus on or work around. If you have a specific health concern—such as scoliosis or fibromyalgia—you'll need a masseuse that has training or experience working with that condition. You may also want to look into medical massage, which often uses specific techniques like trigger point therapy, versus Swedish massage or a similar basic spa treatment that focuses more on relaxation than recovery.