A guide in finding a massage therapist, near you!

Mara Nicandro LMT, NMT, MMT giving a neck massageOver the years I have had a couple of clients relocate to a different city or even another state and I am always asked if I can refer them to another therapist.

Although, I can’t refer them to a specific therapist I can advise them on what to look for, the questions to ask and the resources available to find a massage therapist.

What questions to ask yourself? 
What are my immediate needs? Did you injure yourself, do you have acute pain? And, what are my long-term needs? Do I want to improve my quality of life? Are you living with chronic stress?

These questions can be used as a guide in finding a massage therapist that is appropriate and effective for your specific therapy needs.

What’s in a name?
What is the definition of Therapeutic Massage? It can mean many things and there are many massage business and practices that use “therapeutic massage” in their name, but it doesn’t refer to the type of massage they offer.

Definition of Therapeutic:  it refers to healing, such as a medicine or therapy that has healing or curative capability for treatment of disease or disability.

I have been asked before what does therapeutic massage really mean? So many different types of massage out there that it can be confusing, so I hope knowing the definition can help you pin point what to look for. When searching, the description of the therapies they offer can help you determine if they are able to meet your therapy needs.

For example, Deep Tissue: a style of massage that uses strong pressure; slow, deep strokes; and friction across the muscle grain to release chronic muscle tension.

Or, neuromuscular, a style of massage used to relieve pain, stimulate circulation, and loosen trigger points. This form of massage focuses on individual muscles rather than muscle groups and uses deep pressure.

The most important things to know about your therapist.
How long has the therapist been working as a massage therapist? The quality of service is very different from a massage therapist that just graduated and a therapist with years of experience. With experience a therapist has developed and fine tuned their skills.  What advance certifications do they have? Again the level of standards and quality of care are gained with the appropriate knowledge and experience.

Resources available to find a therapist
Here are the two main associations that some therapist will join and you can search by city and zip code

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals

American Massage Therapy Association

Local Massage Therapy Schools “to try them or not to try them, that is the question.” We all have to start somewhere and I was once a student too, I don’t want to scratch it off the list. But, these are student interns that are completing their training. They are learning so you will not find consistency or even worse you may not get an effective massage but if you just need to relax and haven’t found a therapist yet, try them.

Your Chiropractor office,  I think this is a good place to try, you get treated by your chiropractor then get a massage but most offices will hire therapist fresh out of school.  So again, they have not developed the experience needed to be effective. To just relax those muscles after treatment should be ok.

Massage business, the big chain’s: Paying a club membership does not always guarantee quality of care.  They are a business so you may get a therapist with knowledge and experience or a therapist fresh out of school there is no guarantee. You get what you pay for so again you may miss out on a consistent and effective massage.

Lastly, but by all means not the least: Word of mouth and personal recommendations from your friends, family or co-workers are always of great value, you can’t beat it.

Reference: Medical Dictionary


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