When we are stressed, overworked, or just plain tired, a massage can be exactly what we need to bring us back to our happy place.
Whether you prefer deep tissue massage or want something more gentle, finding the right massage therapist can be difficult if you don’t know where to look.
This article will help you through the process of finding a great massage therapist in ten simple steps, from asking friends and family to comparing prices and reviews online to ensure you find the best person for your needs.
1) Use websites specifically made for finding professionals
The first place you should go is a website made specifically for finding professionals in your area. Sites like Yelp, Kudzu, and Angie’s List are valuable resources for figuring out what types of businesses exist around you.
They will also make it easy to see how many people have reviewed various professionals in your area—the more reviews they have, generally speaking, the better.
Reviews aren’t always helpful though, because they may not be accurate or even real (consider whether there is some incentive for others to write positively about someone). So take everything with a grain of salt and use these sites as guides but not gospel when finding professional services.
2) Call their own personal phone number
Before you call and book an appointment, call up your prospective therapist’s phone number to ask some questions.
It is much easier to judge a professional service by its owner rather than by marketing material. This personal approach will not only help you find out more about massage therapy in general but will also allow you to test their customer service skills.
If they are polite, respectful and have time for you then that is all part of creating a great first impression, which is vital for any service industry.
If they don’t answer or if their attitude suggests that it is somehow beneath them then move on as there are plenty of other excellent massage therapists out there who will be more than happy to help and pamper you.
3) Leave reviews
If you’re seeking out a new therapist, it might be helpful to ask friends for recommendations or check online review sites. But don’t just settle on someone with a high rating—check out their credentials and make sure they have adequate training.
If you think you may want to visit more than one massage therapist, ask each therapist for two or three references. That way, you can easily set up appointments with other therapists and get expert advice from multiple perspectives.
And if your current massage therapist is up for it, ask if she knows of any good ones in your area. She might have some names ready for you when you leave her office!
4) Look at the number of years they have been in business
Before you go see a massage therapist, make sure they have experience! Many new businesses are started by people who don’t have much experience themselves in whatever business it is that they are starting.
A great massage therapist will be able to give you good information on what has worked well for them as far as marketing and advertising. Newer therapists may not be able to give you that insight, so look for someone with at least three years of experience under their belt.
5) Talk to your friends or family members who have gotten massages
Word of mouth is always a great way to find good professionals, but you should also be able to find massage therapists through friends and family who have had massages before. They may even recommend you some great ones that they’ve been too!
If your loved ones haven’t been able to help, don’t worry—you can easily search for massage therapists in your area on Google or Yelp. You should be able to find reviews and contact information for them quickly.
Don’t forget about local newspapers, either: Many times local businesses advertise their new locations or services there. Newspapers are also easy ways to track down business phone numbers too!
6) Visit them personally and see what they are like
All massage therapists are trained but not all of them are great. When looking for a good therapist, visit them personally and see how you feel about their personality and how they interact with you. You will be working with your massage therapist on an intimate level so it is important that you trust them.
Any complaints against your chosen massage therapist should also be looked into before hiring him or her. After all, you don’t want someone who may cause any harm to you in any way!
7) Check out their website
Before you make an appointment, ask about rates and experience. A good therapist will customize your massage based on your injury and body type. Be sure that you can afford what they’re charging, as prices vary widely.
If you have health insurance, check with your plan administrator to see if massage therapy is covered under your plan. If not, most states allow for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses for massage therapy in cases of acute injuries like chronic back pain or after an operation.
8) Do they look professional? Are they clean?
The first thing you should do is make sure that your potential massage therapist looks professional. They shouldn’t have tattoos, wear T-shirts with stupid slogans on them or pajamas. Cleanliness is also very important.
You don’t want someone who doesn’t wash their hands and use clean linens and towels while massaging you. Do they look competent?: Of course, professionalism doesn’t mean everything.
For example, if your potential therapist has purple hair, odds are good that they aren’t going to be able to give you a business-like haircut, even if they run a professional business in every other way.
9) Check out their prices
It’s true that finding a good therapist isn’t just about their credentials. Experience, personal style and technique are important aspects too. But you should also consider your budget and what you can afford to spend per session on massage services.
Talk with potential therapists about their rates or check their website or price list if they have one. And don’t be afraid to ask for discounts if it’s clear that cost is putting you off.
The point of visiting someone regularly for treatment isn’t only physical—it’s emotional too, and as long as you feel comfortable with your chosen therapist, more than likely any financial constraints will fade into insignificance over time.
10) The best massage is the right massage FOR YOU (That’s you!)
A great massage therapist is like an artist: She’s there to make you feel your best. And part of making you feel your best involves paying attention to how you respond to her touch, whether she can sense areas of tension in your body and how long it takes for you to reach total relaxation.
A good massage therapist will work with you until she gets it right—and then keep working with you until you’re satisfied. If a therapist rubs or pokes too hard or works on one area too long, speak up: Tell her what feels good and what doesn’t.
Your body knows best! Also, tell her if pressure points aren’t getting enough attention—you want those worked out just as much as any other muscle group.