What qualities should I look for in a massage therapist?

A busy lifestyle means many of us suffer from chronic back and neck pain or stress headaches. Sometimes these conditions can get worse and require serious medical intervention, but often they can be alleviated by a competent massage therapist who will harness the healing power of massage therapy in your favour. Here are some tips to help you find a professional worthy of the name.

What qualities should I look for in a massage therapist?

What makes a good massage therapist?

When shopping around for a massage therapist, there are some key points to remember:

  • Ask candidates about their training and certification.
  • Keep in mind that the way the profession is regulated can vary from one province to another.
  • Ask if they are members of a recognized association and if they issue receipts.
  • Find out how long they’ve been practicing and if they are self-employed or on staff at a clinic or spa.

Be on the lookout for a massage therapist who has:

  • A comforting manner and a willingness to listen to your specific problems or complaints.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Good judgment in determining the appropriate treatment for your needs.
  • Thoroughness and precision in their movements.
  • Dexterity in performing the manipulations required.
  • Good physical health.
  • Organizational skills and an ability to adapt to all situations.
  • Empathy skills.
  • Good personal hygiene and clean equipment and treatment room.

What is massage therapy?

It's good to know the qualities and skills of a good massage therapist, but it’s even better to understand the science behind this kind of treatment.

  • The therapeutic application of massage involves using specific stroking or kneading techniques from one or a combination of the massage traditions.
  • Essentially, the hands-on massage of the skin and underlying muscles contributes to the physical and mental well-being of the client.
  • Massage therapy can help relieve pain in joints and muscles caused by stress, physical trauma or ageing.

The main duties and responsibilities of a therapist

Here is what you can expect to unfold during a professional consultation with a massage therapist:

  • Before the massage session begins, the therapist will sit with you to assess your overall health via a questionnaire or interview.
  • The therapist may ask you to move certain body parts in order to verify any physical issues and plan a therapeutic treatment.
  • In preparation for the actual massage session, the therapist will leave you alone in the treatment room so you can remove your top and pants and lay down on the massage table, fully covered by a sheet or blanket.
  • When you’re ready, the therapist will re-enter the room and use a variety of massage techniques to relax your muscles (friction, muscle movement, touch, or vibration). The therapist only exposes the body part being worked on, while the rest stays covered.
  • If the situation calls for it, the therapist may use other accessories to relax the muscles, such as heat, light or water.
  • The therapist will maintain a record of each visit as well as any progress or new complaints.
  • Your massage therapist may also collaborate with other health-care professionals to develop the best possible holistic treatment for you.

It’s important to invest in your health

If you want to have a long, pain-free life, nothing is more important than staying in excellent health. The key to that is having a healthy mind in a healthy body. That’s why the greatest gift you can give yourself is a consultation with a health professional if something is bothering you, even if you think it’s only caused by stress. And now that you know the qualities and skills of a good massage therapist, you can start with a good therapeutic massage.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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