Choosing a massage therapist is just like choosing any other healthcare professional. There are a lot of questions that you should ask to ensure that there is a good fit. In addition to confirming the clinic is open during hours that actually work with your schedule, and that you get a good vibe from the person offering your massage therapy treatment, there are some general guidelines to help you know what to ask your massage therapist.
Are You a Registered Massage Therapist?
RMTs are highly trained professionals who undergo extensive education in their discipline. In British Columbia, registered massage therapists are accredited by the College of Massage Therapists of BC only after completing 3,000+ hours of accredited training and passing a set of rigorous exams. They must also take part in continuing education and training to stay in good standing. If you’re planning to use private health insurance coverage to pay for your treatment, know that this is usually limited to services provided by an RMT only.
What Type of Massage Should I Book?
There are many different types of massage. Most therapists do not stick to one style, they blend a variety of therapeutic interventions into a cohesive treatment plan. Swedish massage, deep tissue, various connective tissue therapies are all names for doing similar things, manual and massage therapy where the goal is to decrease your pain experience and help you to move more comfortably and confidently. The type of massage you require depends on what brought you to investigate massage therapy in the first place.
What is Your Philosophy During Massage?
Every client is different, and even the same client will feel differently from appointment to appointment. Registered massage therapists are highly trained professionals who have a good ability to work with their patient to determine the amount of pressure required for your treatment needs, but as a client, you should feel comfortable asking your therapist to decrease (or increase) the pressure during the course of your massage.
How Will I Feel Tomorrow?
When we see massage on television, it’s usually a very light-hearted back rub that’s blissful and fun. Treatment with a massage therapist certainly can be like that, but if it’s to treat an injury or a lingering, painful condition, it may be less comfortable. It’s perfectly OK to ask your massage therapist how you’re likely to feel the next day, and what massage therapy aftercare activities they recommend.
When you seek massage therapy, be it to treat musculoskeletal pain or to achieve a greater sense of relaxation, remember that this is YOUR treatment. There is no such thing as a stupid question, and a good massage therapist will be only too happy to answer your questions to ensure your experience is a great one.
Bonus: Questions a Massage Therapist Should Ask YOU
As part of your care team, your massage therapy practitioner should also have a vested interest in your physical and mental well-being. Before you start treatment, you can (and should) expect to be asked questions like the following:
- Have you previously engaged in massage therapy? Knowing your history with massage will help your therapist understand your expectations and your comfort level. If it’s your first time having a massage, the therapist will spend a little extra time explaining what you can expect.
- How long have you been experiencing pain or discomfort? Gaining a better understanding of your symptoms and how long you have been experiencing them will provide your massage therapist with better insight into the nature of your condition and what treatment approach to use as a starting point.
- What are your treatment goals? A massage therapist can better help you meet your goals when there is some specificity around them. Are you training for improved athletic performance? Hoping to increase activity after a long period of sedentary living? Recovering from an accident or injury? Knowing what you’re hoping to get out of massage therapy will go a long way to helping you get more out of treatment.
At Achieve Health, we’re committed to providing evidence-based, integrative massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and physiotherapy to help our clients live their best lives. The road to wellness starts with a consultation to discuss your treatment needs.