Regular massage therapy can be a wonderfully effective addition to almost any healthcare regimen. Your massage therapist should be someone with whom you feel at ease, and who can help you with your specific bodywork needs with personalized care. So how do you find the right massage therapist for you? Here are a few tips:

1. Referrals

The first thing you may want to do when looking for a massage therapist is to ask your friends and family for a referral. If you know someone who regularly visits a massage therapy, ask about his or her experience with the therapist. Facebook and other social media sites can be a great place to start- you can cast a larger net that way, asking friends, family members, co-workers and acquaintances all at once.

Another good source of referrals would be any healthcare professional who you see as a client or patient. For instance, your family care physician, your chiropractor or your physical therapist. These healthcare professionals probably already have relationships with massage therapists in your area, and can suggest one who would potentially be a good fit.

2. Education and Credentials

Once you have narrowed down a list of potential therapists, visit each therapists’s website to find out where they studied massage therapy and what continuing education credits they have. Call the therapist’s office to find out more, if the information is not readily available on their website.

3. Specialization

Many massage therapists specialize in certain techniques or types of clients. For instance, some choose to focus on elderly populations or find their calling in working with cancer patients. Some specialize in pregnancy massage. Others specialize in techniques like neuromuscular therapy, Thai massage, or craniosacral therapy. When you interview a therapist over the phone or in person, ask about their specializations and think about whether you could benefit from that type of work.

4. Experience

If you have a specific physical complaint, such as sciatic pain, a rotator cuff injury, or carpal tunnel syndrome, that you are seeking to address through bodywork, ask the therapist if he or she has any experience treating other clients with the same issue or condition. With massage schools requiring upwards of 100 hours of clinical practicum, even a recent graduate may have experience working with the type of complaint that you have.

5. Rapport

This may be the most important criteria in finding the right massage therapist for you. When you interview the therapist, pay special attention to how you feel in his or her presence. Does he or she have a kind and capable demeanor? Do you feel more or less relaxed when you are speaking with him or her? Trust your instincts. Years of experience and credentials are good, but there is no substitute for a good rapport with your bodywork professional. Remember, this is a relationship that will ideally last a long time, so it is good to start with a solid foundation of trust.

6. Try it out!

Once you have narrowed your list down to two or three therapists, there is no better way to come to a firm decision than by getting on the table and letting them work their magic. Often, after just one massage, a client will know for sure that this is the right therapist for him or her.

I hope you found this post to be informative and enjoyable. If you live in the Asheville area and are looking for the right massage therapist for you, I would be happy to speak with you! If you are already a client please recommend me to your friends and family. My greatest source of new clients is through your referrals for which I’m deeply grateful.