Have you ever tried to figure out what makes a good massage therapist good? Have you wasted time and money getting massage after massage just to realize that you are getting nowhere? Here's a list of things to look for in an #MT that will help you discover what makes a good therapist "good". The less time you spend with back ticklers and finger painters (you know who I'm talking about...those therapists that don't actually treat you, they just seem to spread oil over your skin and call it a day), the better.
5. #PASSION FOR THEIR PROFESSION
A good therapist should have a strong passion for massage therapy, compassion for people and strong desire to help them get better no matter what that means, even if it means referring them on. Passion for helping people is imperative when you are a massage therapist. Many students start massage therapy school because the schedule suits their lifestyle or they think they can make a lot of money. The truth is they will not be successful if they are not passionate about what they do. Without compassion for people or passion for the work, they won't give great massages and clients will know because they can feel it (or the lack thereof) in their touch. How do you feel this, you ask? Well, ask yourself, does your therapist follow what your body is telling them? For example, when she is treating you and you feel a tender spot and everything in your being is screaming "massage me there for a while!" and she totally does without you saying anything about it, she is probably listening to your body. Especially if she does this through the whole treatment! This is her following her intuition which means she is paying attention and her passion is guiding her. This is the best experience you can get as a client. It means you can just relax and let her do her job. You don't have to be in control. You don't have to know what she's doing or why in that moment, you are free to drift off to la la land and get up and feel better. As a client, ask yourself if you can feel the passion in your therapists touch. If not, it's time to move on. If so, you're on the right track to getting better but don't stop there. There are other things that make a massage therapist great, and you deserve the best!
4. RECEIVING AN #ASSESSMENT AND DETAILED HEALTH HISTORY INTAKE IS IMPERATIVE
Receiving a thorough assessment and health history intake to really understand your situation is extremely important to helping you get better. As a massage therapist, we are taught to treat clients. We learn how to collect detailed information from clients, sort through their health history and search for the cause of their pain. Once we have an idea of the issue, we are taught to test our theory and make conclusions based on those tests. The treatment is then created and applied based on those conclusions. If our techniques are not indicated for your issue, we are not allowed to use those techniques. So in other words, we are not allowed to massage your neck just because you want your neck treated. We must asses the area of pain and determine if a treatment to your neck is necessary and not only that, you must consent to our treatment plan. Any massage therapist that doesn't assess you or determine what the problem is, is doing you a great disservice. We are trained for this reason, to help you! Now, having said that, you may be spot on about your issues and we may end up working that exact spot but we are required by our college to assess you and create a treatment plan based on our findings. This will be so much better for you in the long run so expect a thorough review of your health history and a detailed #assessment your first visit with a new #MT and if it doesn't happen, be very wary.
3. GOOD #COMMUNICATION CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOUR TREATMENT
Giving you a detailed explanation about our findings and our treatment plan moving forward is a requirement of every #MT. It might take a couple sessions for you to understand it but when you ask your therapist about what they found and how they plan on fixing it, they should have a detailed answer for you that makes sense. They should never proceed with treatment until you understand the treatment plan thoroughly. This goes for self care and remedial exercise too. This is very important since you will be unattended while doing these regimens.
2. #LISTENING INSTEAD OF CHIT CHAT
Have you ever had a massage where the massage therapist just chit chats through the whole treatment about everything and anything, except you and your issues? Ugh. It's the worst! A good therapist will communicate to you about what is necessary to proceed with treatment, like making sure you are comfortable in the massage, or explaining a technique and what you can expect to feel, but will keep the unnecessary chit chat to a minimum. A good therapist follows the simple rule of 'speak when spoken to', with regards to unnecessary chatter. Every conversation should be in your control. This allows you to rest, relax as well as absorb the treatment and give you the opportunity to inform the therapist of any changes during the treatment, such as adjusting the pressure, temperature or positioning etc. It is also important in the assessment and during the self care explanation for the therapist to pay attention to your answers and listen closely to what you are saying. A good therapist will paraphrase your responses so she has a better understanding of what you are trying to say but will give you time talk whenever you need to. The more she allows you to talk about your issues or pain, the better she can devise a treatment plan that suits you but she has to take the time to listen first.
1. ARE YOU FEELING BETTER YET?
The most important thing to look for in a therapist is, is she giving you #results? Did the treatment reduce the pain you presented with? How long did it last? Did it come back and was it to the same degree? What did the therapist do and say to reduce the pain in the follow up appointment? Did she explain to you why it might have come back? Did the second, third or fourth treatment give you further relief or reduce your pain completely? A good therapist will adjust your treatment plan as your symptoms change and be able to explain why she is changing the treatment plan and what she hopes to accomplish, short term and long term. She should also be able to give you some form of #selfcare that will help you maintain yourself between appointments. Therapist are also trained to give you #exercises or #stretches that can help you maintain flexibility or gain strength to prevent the pain from returning. If you have an issue that can not be treated with massage, or something that needs the attention of another type of therapy or specialty, a good therapist will refer you out and follow up with you to make sure you received the help you need. Also, it is important to note that even though your pain may be gone, it may also be required that you return for intermittent "tune ups" to keep you on the path of prevention.
A good therapist can accomplish all of this in every session. It may seem like a lot to you, but for a good massage therapist, it's just another "day at the office".