Many people benefit from receiving a massage on a regular basis. However, it can be difficult to find a reputable massage therapist, as a wide number of people offer massage services with minimal training. Especially in urban areas, you should search with care for a quality massage therapist to ensure that you work with someone who is ethical and fully trained.
Before you try to find a reputable massage therapist in your area, it helps to know the requirements for practicing massage. Most cities have a minimum hours of training requirement, ranging from 200 hours of training to 1500. Be wary about seeing a massage therapist who has not met the training requirement, because that means that he or she is probably also practicing without being registered. This may make it difficult for you to complain if you are not satisfied with your session. If you want a therapist who specializes in a particular modality, look for more training and certification.
To find a reputable massage therapist, it also helps to be knowledgeable about massage. There are numerous styles of massage ranging from traditional Swedish style to Watsu, so make sure to research different massage modalities and choose one that is right for you. In most cases, a professional organization of massage therapists who focus on that particular technique can be sought out if you want more information about the technique and people practicing it in your area.
It is an excellent idea to begin by finding someone who refers to him or herself as a “massage therapist," as this is typically used by professionals. The terms masseuse and masseur have fallen out of favor for referring to massage therapists, largely because they have been co-opted by massage parlors who offer a different type of massage service.
A number of professional organizations such as the Associated Bodywork Massage Professionals can help you find a reputable massage therapist. Usually professional massage organizations retain a list of members and can refer you to member massage therapists in your area. In order to be listed as a member, a massage therapist must agree to abide by a code of ethics and must demonstrate sufficient training for the area in which he or she is practicing.
The best place to find a reputable massage therapist is a day spa. Day spas usually have stringent hiring requirements, ensuring that their staff are highly qualified and ethical. Spas must keep certifications for their staff on file as well as proof of insurance, making a visit to a spa much more comfortable for you. In addition, if you find a reputable massage therapist in a day spa, you can often purchase a package deal of massages which will allow you to get a small discount on repeat sessions.
If you choose to find a reputable massage therapist through advertisements, read the language of his or her ads with care. Find out if the massage is being offered in the therapist's studio, or if he or she will do a session at your home. When you call the therapist to book an appointment, make sure to ask about the techniques the massage therapist uses, where he or she trained, how many hours he or she has accrued, and the fees for massage. If you get a strange feeling after a meeting or phone call, you should probably seek out another therapist.
Another technique for finding a reputable massage therapist is to ask friends and coworkers for recommendations. Word of mouth helps to spread knowledge about skilled and ethical practitioners. When you find a reputable massage therapist, be sure to recommend him or her to your friends, helping to promote business for ethical and committed massage therapists.