- Increases circulation
- Enhances the immune system
- Promotes nervous system functioning
- Reduces blood pressure
- Relieves pain and muscle tension
- Improves mood, intellectual reasoning and job performance
- Positive effect on conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, diabetes and migraine headaches
Massage Therapists are not, however, all created equal. I practice therapeutic massage. Therapeutic massage is designed to treat a specific condition, and a licensed or certified professional is trained to assist with soft tissue injuries and dysfunctions, as well as support general recovery. Extensive training enables the therapist to take a thorough history, identify contraindications (reasons to not massage). A healthcare provider can write a prescription for massage therapy and the therapist or practitioners who fills the prescription may be able to bill insurance groups and workers' compensation for the therapy services. There are individuals that are not formally trained and do not have a license or certification. Those individuals can perform a "spa style" massage for relaxation purposes. The fees charged are comparable even though the knowledge base and skills differ. If you have no health issues, want a basic massage and do not anticipate needing any therapeutic work, obtaining the services of these practitioners is an option. However, if a therapeutic need crops up during a session, a referral should be made to a trained and sanctioned practitioner.
When you are looking for the best practitioner to meet your needs the first place I suggest inquiring is your primary care physician. Just as you would check the credentials of your traditional physician, dentist, or chiropractor so you can be confident in them, you should learn as much as you can about your massage therapist or practitioner. A few questions to ask include:
- Are they formally trained?
- How long have they been practicing?
- Have they obtained credentialing, certification or licensure from the State in which they practice?
- Are they nationally certified?
- The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professional (ABMP)
- The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)
Aside from the technical aspects, a good therapist should be helping create a safe, healthy environment in a number of ways:
- Provide a private space
- Provide proper draping materials and methods
- Explain how the session will be conducted
- Communicate during the session about pressure, pain, comfort
- Educate about therapy, and methods at home for relief
If you aren't getting these ASK FOR THEM.
Things to remember:
- Remove clothing to your comfort level (although more skin contact=better data feedback=more effective therapy)
- Massage should not be painful. Maybe uncomfortable, but not painful
- Conversation level is ultimately up to you
- Think about your breathing; slowly and evenly
- You won't hurt our feelings, if you dislike something, tell us. We want what's best for you
- Trust your therapist. Don't help us when moving your limbs. While we appreciate your help, it's counterproductive
Thanks for reading. Take care of yourself so you can care for others.