It’s often easy to tell if a massage therapist is great — they usually have a really long waiting list, because their services are always in demand. But how did these therapists get there in the first place? If you need massage services for your workplace or anywhere else, here are some qualities to look for in the person you’re considering.
A Relaxing Demeanor
A big part of massage therapy is relaxation. The goal, after all, is to relax, and if you feel relaxed, you’re halfway there. A great massage therapist will use lighting, music, scents, as well as touch, to create the sort of atmosphere where stress just sort of fades away.
Listen to your prospective therapist’s tone of voice. Is it the kind of voice that puts you at ease? Are you allowed to respond and have an easy conversation? If the therapist can respond with patience, kindness, and clarity, that is a very good sign. You should never feel like you’re being rushed so your therapist can move on to the next client.
Massage is a very personal experience, so you want a massage therapist who is personable. If you don’t feel like you like the person about to give you a massage, or they don’t have the ability to make you feel comfortable, you’re not going to be relaxed.
A Full Skill Set
Of course, a good massage therapist knows what he or she is doing. Most massage schools require 700 hours of study, including practice. The therapist for you will have studied more than that. Anyone who has a skill should refresh those skills periodically, and the same goes for your massage therapist.
There is a great deal of anatomical knowledge that goes into massage. Your therapist should have extensive knowledge of muscles and joints, and the right places to place pressure and relieve tension. Training will allow him or her to know what to do by touch, finding the places that need special attention. The trained massage therapist should recognize, however, that no two bodies are the same, and be able to adjust technique accordingly.
Massage is actually pretty hard work. A great massage therapist will be in good shape, because it takes the muscles all over the body to perform a good massage. While the hands and arms are used directly for massage, foot position and the way the therapists stands are also important factors. When your job involves standing for long periods of time, it’s important to know how to avoid fatigue. Therapists who don’t know how to manage their own bodies may also suffer from repetitive motion injuries before long.
Massage is all about improving the client’s wellbeing. So, while good massage technique is important, just as important is personality required to help relieve any internal stress the client may feel. Anyone can learn the physical skills of massage, but it takes a special person who can listen and respond in such a way to make their clients feel refreshed not only physically, but mentally and emotionally, as well.
Anyone coming into the massage therapist’s space is going to be going to be feeling some tension. That physical stress is generally caused by some underlying factor, whether it be work, family, school, or something else causing difficulty in their lives. The therapist you want is one who knows what to say to start the process, making a clear transition from whatever it is causing stress to a place where that stress can be lifted away.
The Ultimate Therapist
All in all, the most important person to a great massage therapist is their current client — at least while they are in a massage session together. It’s not just about a mechanical process where tight muscles are rubbed smooth. The greatest massage therapists are the ones that show a commitment to making sure their clients have a positive experience and come out feeling much better than when they arrived.
Emily Hunter crafts content on behalf of the mobile massage specialists at Massage on the Go USA while working for The Marketing Zen Group. She loves designing strategies with her team and is excited about spreading the Zen gospel. In her spare time, she cheers for Spirit of Atlanta, Carolina Crown and Phantom Regiment, creates her own sodas, and crushes tower defense games. Follow her on Twitter at @Emily2Zen