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Criteria For Picking A Massage Therapist
Introduction

An unprecedented boom in the spa business has seen massage gaining ground all over the world as an alternative therapy. So much so that even certified doctors recommend massages to their patients to alleviate pain, relax and relieve stress. As a result, massage parlors are mushrooming through the globe to cash in on the alternative therapy boom.

Eligibility for becoming a massage therapist

Each country has a different set of regulations to allow people to start a business as a massage therapist. Some require a license from the state, while others don't recognize this as an alternative medicine. Some other countries allow people with little or no formal training in massage to start a massage center.

Finding a genuine massage therapist

Because of the proliferation of massage saloons left right and center, and with no specific worldwide norms that need to be adhered to, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a reliable and genuine massage therapist for yourself. Add to it the difficult jargon and incomprehensible and endless acronyms that massage therapists blurt out in order to sound authentic. This leaves a first timer confused, if not completely wary of the whole procedure. Here are a few tips that might help you in finding a good one for yourself.

Go by your instinct

A meeting with the massage therapist can put you in a good position to judge the outcome of a session. Even if you are a first timer, go by your gut feeling, because your basic instinct never guides you in the wrong direction. If he is a good listener, and respects his clients, he mi9ght well be the right therapist for you. See him interacting with other clients. If your heart says that a massage therapist would do a good job, he probably will.

Comfort level

Massage involves one of the most intimate forms of bonding – touch, wherein you lay your body at the disposal of other person. It isn't usually possible to lose your inhibitions in front of a complete stranger. On the other hand, if you are comfortable with the therapist in the first place, you can be yourself and relax. While a telephonic chat with the therapist allows you to test if he is a good listener, a personal banter with him will build up both confidence and comfort levels to a great extent. Open up with your therapist way before the massage and do not hesitate to ask questions about anything you might want to know about. Also it will help opening up the communication channels between the two of you, which could go a long way in breaking the ice. Here is a list of questions that could help you start conversation and get valuable information all at the same time:

• Do you provide discounts to clients who are referred to by earlier patrons?
• What kind of products do you use? Do you also sell the products that are used for treatments?
• Do you drape the client while massaging?
• Which treatment will be given to me? What is its cost?
• How long will the massage session last?
• How would you like the payment to be made?

Confidence

Another aspect that needs to be examined before choosing a therapist is the amount of confidence that you can entrust in him. If you are confident enough that the treatment he chooses for your needs is the right one for you, the confidence will percolate to him, and in turn, transform the massage session into a rejuvenating and fun experience. Have confidence in him and let the session take its own course. A few meetings with your massage therapist can put you at ease with him and his style of working.

Chemistry

Since massage is a touch therapy, the chemistry of the persons involved is imperative for its success. Hence, there is a fat chance of one massage therapist giving you jitters, while the other with the same amount of training and experience providing a relaxing and an endearing experience. The chemistry not only depends upon the touch of the therapist, but also upon the responses of your body to the touch. Apart from this, the right amount of pressure, the exact movements etc, all play their part in the success of the massage session.

Knowledge

The massage therapy is the outcome of numerous studies based upon health sciences. This strong foundation on which the massage therapy is based provides it the authenticity to hold its stead as a major alternative therapy. A massage therapist should ideally have knowledge in the streams of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, assessment & treatment techniques and massage theory. A lack of knowledge can affect the massage adversely in the following ways:

• Inaccurate treatment, resulting in injury, inflammation, and pain.
• Exaggeration of the existing ailment.
• Health threat because of being unaware of contraindications.
• Improper advice on the requirement of other healthcare routine.
• Continuation of the same treatment regardless of the client response.

Experience

Verify if the massage therapist is affiliated with a massage association of repute along with the certifications. Also find out if the massage therapist has a training experience of a minimum 400 hours. Find out if the therapist specializes in a particular massage therapy or is good at a number of them. Find out his tenacity in the massage industry as a qualified massage therapist.

Recommendations

Also recommendations from kith and kin or from a certified healthcare professional could be the best way to find a reliable massage therapist. Ask folks for honest opinions of therapists they have already visited. Go through the web where customers post their experience with a therapist in particular, or a parlor, in general. Have a great massage!
About the Author
Ashish Bhattacharya is an exponent of oriental and alternative medicine. Armed with a degree in East Asian Therapies from China, he has worked in an Ayurvedic spa resort in Mauritius, and is an expert in spa reservation.
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Comments
Apr 10th 2007, by brandydanu:
Pretty good info, but note the misuse of the expression "fat chance." This expression actually means "slim chance," just the opposite of what you might think. You might say there is a great chance...
brandydanu@yahoo.com, massage practitioner Istanbul, Turkey
Danu
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