Most professional massage therapists have gone through extensive training to prepare for their profession. A few years ago, all it took was for one to complete 100 hours of training and get a city and/or county license to practice and off you go, building a clientele. Today, in California, MT’s must complete at least 100 hours of Anatomy and Physiology alone. A “Massage Practitioner” has only completed 250 to 450 hours including the required 100 hours of A&P. A “Massage Therapist” on the other hand, has completed upwards of 500 hours of study and clinical practice including the required 100 hours of A&P. The general public is not aware that there is such a distinction and requirement for certification in California. Elsewhere across the country, the qualifications vary.
What does this have to do with your communication and your experience with your therapist? Well, everything! Do you know whether he or she is a “practitioner” or a “therapist”? Maybe you don’t really care. After all, some practitioners do a better job than some therapists and as long as the person is certified by the State, you are assured that they have had some kind of training. Your consult upon being led into session should give you an idea of the confidence and skill set he/she is working with. If you are more concerned about telling the therapist how to do the job, you might not get the full benefit of that skill set. You wouldn’t go to the doctor’s office for a check-up and begin to tell him/her where to start, how long to stay in that position and how to do the diagnostics and what to prescribe, so why treat your therapist any different?
If you have heard that massage therapy can help you with your aches and pains, then you are correct. But when it comes to selecting a massage therapist in your local area, how do you go about it, and which one do you choose?
I know in my area here on the Central Coast of Australia, there are probably hundreds of massage therapists. They all do different techniques, have different skills, cater to different customers, and have very different levels of expertise.
Let’s imagine you’ve called a therapist and booked an in-home appointment with her. You’ve never met the therapist before ~ you either saw an ad, internet or otherwise, or someone referred her to you. You have a conversation with the therapist on the phone, she tells you her rate, let’s say for fun it’s $100 for 75 minutes, and you make an appointment. Before she arrives, you make sure your house is clean and tidy and you’ve showered, shaved and washed your hair out of courtesy for the therapist. You’ve sent the kids packing, the husband golfing and put the dogs in the backyard and turned off the phones. So far, so good, right?