Massage goalsThe first thing is to figure out what the goals are from the massage itself.
- Are there acute back or neck issues that need to be addressed?
- Looking for non-invasive therapy for long-term management of a chronic spinal condition?
- Is the massage for performance enhancement? Could be athletic or to help perform daily activities easier.
- Is it just wanting to relax?
Massage clinic, spa, health club, homeA massage can be performed in health clubs, spas, medical clinics, and at home. The location does not predict the massage type or specialty of the massage therapists, but it can be an indicator. Example: For athletic performance, a gym, or Crossfit center massage therapist is a good place to start. If massage is part of a back and neck pain management plan, look into the massage therapists at a medical clinic or a therapeutic massage clinic.
Ask for recommendations and ask questionsWhen searching, get recommendations, and ask plenty of questions to get all the information needed.
- Talk to friends and family
- Look online to see reviews
- Use massage therapist finder apps from reputable companies, like the American Massage Therapy Association and Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
Questions to ask potential therapists:
- How long have you been practicing?
- What’s your massage education?
- Related education or practice experience? Many nurses or occupational therapists go on to become massage therapists. This means the information and knowledge from their nursing are now integrated into their massage practice.
- How much-continued education have you gone through?
- How many sessions do you offer?
- What does the schedule look like? Think about scheduling when the therapist is more refreshed, like early in the workweek or their scheduled shift.
- Do you have specialties with specific conditions or techniques?
- Do you get massaged? If so, how often? Massage is a labor-intensive task. Therefore, it could be best to go to a therapist that keeps themselves healthy and balanced.
- How long does it take for the initial appointment?
- Do you have to book ahead?
If a therapist is booked don’t get frustratedIf a long-term therapeutic relationship for the management of a spinal condition is the goal, then it may be worth waiting for. A therapist that has a long wait time for initial appointments means they have patients that see them regularly and that’s a very good sign of quality care. One possible option for individuals waiting for their appointment is to go to a local massage school to get treated. This option is less expensive, great for body maintenance, and provides opportunities for the training therapists.
ProfessionalismA quality indicator is the professionalism of the therapist. This includes the extent to which they model the values of a health care professional valued by the patient. This is different for everyone. Questions to consider:
- Are they on time?
- Does the therapist cancel appointments?
- Are you comfortable around them?
- Do they listen?
- Does the patient help in the development of a treatment plan?
- Are they comfortable and engaged in the work?
- Are they taking their massage career seriously?
Massage ManagementMassage is an excellent back pain treatment option that has gained popularity as a complement to pain management plans and as an alternative to invasive procedures. But, massage is not a cure-all. Often the cause of the back pain does not go away entirely. This is where massage therapy comes in as a pain management tool. It’s important to consider the condition’s duration and severity when evaluating the success of a session. This helps in planning the massage schedule. When there is a complex and established spinal condition be patient, as a 1-hour massage is not going to solve a 10-year back pain battle. However, with perseverance massage can safely and effectively help reduce pain and promote a better quality of life.