You would like some relief from your pain or discomfort or your stress. You think a massage is a good idea to help you feel better. There are lots of choices to pick from when you are looking for a massage. You may find a daily deal online – but there are issues that you can read about here. You could also go to a massage chain – but you can read here why they are not for everybody. Some people wonder if they can go to just anybody for a massage.
The short answer is yes. There are people who will take your money and work on your muscles.
The full answer which I think you are really interested in is more involved.
Not everyone who does massage has the same training, and not all are licensed. Here in Ohio a person with massage education and training with a license is called a licensed massage therapist (LMT). Most people who are LMT’s will make that known in their advertising, web site, and marketing material. As a side note, massage is regulated by each state, so you may see something different than LMT in other areas.
There are many reasons to look for a LMT to work with as you make your decision. A person practicing massage without a license may have had no massage training at all – they may have been shown some things or learned on their own.
LMT’s (and I am one) have been educated in the following areas.
Ethics. There are a lot of situations that need to be considered. Nothing out of the ordinary may ever come up in your massages, but circumstances occur that we need to know how to handle. It could be serious (such as keeping all of your information confidential except as required by law), or something simple that people are unsure about, and being able to handle it professionally while keeping you at ease.
Training. I have studied muscles, soft tissue, and bones and how they work together and affect each other. I studied the physiology of the body to know what effects will occur from what I am doing. I had hundreds of hours of hands-on training to learn the proper massage techniques and worked in a school clinic under the supervision of an instructor. My training was massage specific and didn’t include other things such as haircuts and manicures.
Prostitution and sex. Yes it’s true that some people use massage as a cover for prostitution. Others, while not engaging in prostitution, will pursue sex with their client, and vice versa. As with any group of people, there are a minority who will bend the rules (of law or ethics) and those who will do whatever they think they can get away with. Sex with a client is illegal and an ethical violation, and a person with a license is jeopardizing their license, livelihood, reputation, and career. Besides knowing that it is wrong, we have too much at stake.
On an even more serious note, human trafficking still goes on partly under the heading of massage. Young girls are taken far from their homes and forced into prostitution. If you suspect this happening around you, please report the establishment to local and state authorities.
Insurance. I have liability insurance for my practice. Massage and some of the tools used can cause damage to your body if done incorrectly. If you have a problem, does the person working on you have insurance? You don’t want to walk out of your massage in worse shape and have a possible legal battle also.
Finally, as with so many other things in life, you get what you pay for. If you want to be cared for by a properly trained and licensed professional, do a little checking. It won’t take long. I will carefully listen to you and ask questions so you can walk out feeling great and knowing you got what you really needed. You can relax completely knowing that I have your best interests in mind and that I have the skills developed over many years to help you.
Do you let just anybody work on your roof, plumbing, or vehicle? Do you follow investment advice from some guy in a restaurant? Do you get legal advice from a baker? It’s your one and only body, so get it taken care of by somebody who knows what they are doing. The price in dollar terms should only be one of the factors you use to make a decision. Click here to read more about massage and price.
Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio. Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com
As Always, thanks for the well written informative article. I would also add that your therapist needs to be someone who makes keeping their space and body healthy and clear. If you have someone work on you that is not healthy or that doesn’t make bettering themselves a priority then any toxicity that they have will impact the client. It’s a priority for me in choosing my therapists.
Thanks Tiffany. You bring up a good point, but while looking for a massage therapist keep in mind that we are people also, and therefore are imperfect.
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