Why You Should Research Your Massage Therapist
You have visited your doctor for the headaches you have been having for the past year and she says it's from sitting at your computer too much and writes you a prescription for massage and sends you out the door. Now what?
Massage is now recognized more than ever as a therapeutic treatment with many benefits by the medical community. Massage is not just about pampering anymore. More and more medical professionals such as primary care doctors, naturopaths, osteopaths, chiropractors, and physical therapist are suggesting massage for their patients. It can treat a myriad of common issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, thoracic outlet syndrome, low back pain, plantar fasciitis, and knee pain. It can also ease the demands of pregnancy on the body, reduce stress, help diabetic neuropathy, and help athletes recover more quickly.
But where do you find the massage therapist for you? It seems we are barraged with choices. There is massage advertised in malls, airports, health clubs, chiropractor's offices, and spas.
The important thing to keep in mind is that massage is a medical procedure and requires specialized training. People can and have been injured by improper massage techniques. A professionally trained and licensed massage therapist has had specific training in pathology of the circulatory, nervous, muscular and skeletal systems of the body. Improper massage techniques can cause injury to muscles, dislodge blood clots and cause death, injure spinal nerves, and cause skin damage through burns (from improper hydrotherapy and/or chemicals applied to the skin). These are just a few of the serious injuries that have been reported from improper massage techniques. It is extremely important to seek a licensed massage therapist who is medical professional.
How to Find a Therapist in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Thurston County
- Ask for a referral from a doctor you trust—Doctors usually keep a huge library of referral sources from the medical community.
- Check with your insurance—Massage therapists who are contracted providers had to provide a comprehensive application showing fulfillment of educational requirements, professional references and current licenses.
- Go to the American Massage Therapy Association or National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Body work websites. They have search engines to find a reputable therapist in your area.
- Ask friends for recommendations--You may have a co-worker or friend who has already done the research and found a great licensed massage therapist.
The Next Step—Check Out Their Website & Online Referral Services Such As Yelp
As you are looking over the website, pay attention to the following things:
- Is the business licensed with the city?
- Are the therapists licensed by the State Health Department? Every licensed massage therapist should have a Professional License Number.
- Look for Nationally Certified Therapists-- If a therapist is nationally certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), he or she has at least 500 hours of training from an accredited school and has passed a written exam.
Your First Appointment
Comfort and professionalism should be the impression you get when you walk in the door. These are medical professionals and should act accordingly. Is the office clean and inviting? Are Massage Licenses prominently displayed? They should have you fill out a comprehensive health intake form and talk over the goals of the treatment before the treatment begins. This is the time for you to ask questions and all questions should be answered professionally and fully. The bottom line is that you should not feel rushed, pressured, or uncomfortable.
Now that you have had your first appointment, perhaps you feel like this therapist is the one for you or maybe it was just alright. Either way, it's ok to try other therapists in the office. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get just the right fit. Every therapist has a different personality, style, and training. The most important thing is to take the time to find a reputable, licensed massage therapist with whom you feel comfortable. Massage is an amazing modality that can help with so many common ailments. The best part is that even though it feels like pampering, it does not make it any less therapeutic!
Adriana Hutchings, LMP is a Massage Therapist at Organic Wellness Massage in Lacey, WA. Twelve years ago she chose to leave a "fancy pants" job in marketing to assist people in achieving optimum wellness and has never looked back.