As a former massage therapist, I often find myself critiquing the skills and abilities of other therapists that I visit. Technique, touch, atmosphere, comfortablilty, cleanliness, attitude, and service are all things that I closely analyze and as such I have come up with this short list of things to look for in a massage therapist.
1. CLEANLINESS. This is incredibly important. Some massage therapists work out of their home, some from a spa or sports facility, and there are therapists that work on an out-call basis coming to clients homes. Now, what you’ve got to realize is that you’re probably not the first person this therapist has seen today. Look at their hands when you meet them… see if there is dirt under their fingernails. Bacteria are easily transferred, so you want to make sure they wash their hands well before and after each client. When you get into the actual massage area, look at the sheets on the massage table. Are they wrinkled? Can you see stains? If anything is dirty, either ask them to correct it, or leave. It’s that simple. Any therapist that doesn’t care about themselves or the environment they work in is probably not a good therapist for you!
2. ATTITUDE. Before you ever go to see a massage therapist, or have one come to you, you should at least talk to them on the phone. Get cues from their personality. Are they courteous, knowledgeable, and kind? Or are they grumpy, rude, and seem like they just want to get off the phone? In my experience, patient therapists seem to take their time in a session and address the problems that you have whole-heartedly, while others seem to rush through the whole situation just to be done and onto the next client. Make sure the therapist you choose has a good attitude; you want one who is in this business because they love it… not just to make a quick buck!
3. KNOWLEDGE. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a rookie straight out of school, because you have to go through school and learn all about massage and modalities in order to…. Get the license! So any massage therapist you ask about the basic massage practices and modalities should be able to answer the questions for you (assuming you’re not asking about some obscure little known area). If they can’t, either it’s been awhile since they were in school, they didn’t pay attention in school, or they don’t actually have a license. Yes, it’s true; some people try to pass themselves off as licensed massage therapists…without the license. Any licensed pro will gladly show you their license, or at very least give you their license number so you can check it out yourself. Knowledge is power folks, and if you want a great massage, then your therapist needs to know what they’re doing!
4. ATMOSPHERE. When you get to the massage therapist, what does their home/spa/office look like? Is it clean? Is it cluttered? Does it smell like smoke? Is there music playing? What kind of music? A comfortable atmosphere is imperative to massage. The first visit to a massage therapist can be a little tense in the beginning, but it shouldn’t stay that way after the first minute or so that you’re there. A primary reason to get massage is Relaxation, so you want to be assured that you can relax in the room that you’re in.
5. PROFESSIONALISM. Your interactions with the therapist should always be professional, courteous, and pleasant. If you contact a therapist and they mention anything about “hand release”, “sensual”, “tantra”, or “discreet”, run and run fast! These people are not licensed therapists, they are prostitutes. If they were licensed they would never say, or do this, because that is the number 1 reason that they could loose their license. I don’t know about them, but I worked hard for my license and I’m not about to throw it away!
Overall, the therapist should be right for you. You should feel comfortable in their presence and be able to relax around them. They should be clean, polite, and knowledgeable. You should call multiple therapists before deciding on one.