The most important considerations when booking your next massage therapy session

It shouldn't be this challenging, but at least it's not celestial or lunar!

The challenge is that many good therapists are either too tightly scheduled, or are priced very highly.

We should all treat ourselves to a massage, at least once per month if not bi-weekly. Our minds and bodies are exposed to such high levels of toxic over stimulation that, giving yourself at least 2 hours regularly for self-care will definitely keep the doctors away!

But should you trust your body and mind to? After all, body workers, like me are exposed to similar levels of over stimulation. it's just that we understand how important self-care is and are much more aware of how to deal with all of this.

Therapists are just as human as we all are. They feel excitement, drive, motivation, burnout, stress, hunger, and irritability much like everyone else. It's therefore important to find a therapist that:

- Displays a diversity in skills and lifestyle

If your therapist spends 6 days a week, and all day in the spa or health center, then that's a sign that they, like most of use, we run the risk of auto-pilot or burn-out....treating every patient like the last one. We all are unique in our traumas, injuries, misalignments, and pain thresholds, and so having a therapist that ignores these factors is a red flag. If your therapist is in the process of just seeing 8 to 10 people a day, then they are at risk of having tunnel vision. There are some amazing therapists practicing, however there are few that have learned or experienced every single healing modality available. There are at least 130 of them, and so if your therapist has tunnel vision, they may be ignoring symptoms that can help accurately diagnose or treat your issue. We've all been there....sometimes physicians or healers misdiagnose issues, taking up our precious recovery time and it's unpleasant. As body workers, we definitely want to avoid that situation.

- Displays high levels of empathy and communication skills

Most people visiting a body worker will already be in some sort of pain. The last thing clients want to be in is more pain! But sometimes, that's what happens, and is unavoidable. For Chi Nei Tsang, when I apply pressure to specific points on the clients' stomach, it generally hurts much more than expected. For that session, as I fully understand the kind of uncomfortable pain needed to clear emotional or physical blockages and I always communicate the before the session and always check in with the client to see how they are feeling during. Do they want to continue working on that specific area, do they want to work on it another day? I am highly sensitive, and ensure that I stay within the clients' pain threshold. Obviously, in most modalities, giving the client more pain than they can handle, simply shuts down the body and area that is being worked on. Similarly, this applies to clients who want more pressure. This 'no pain, no gain' mentality can be harmful. Some clients are simply numb, in that, just lying on the mattress, at rest, they cannot feel their elbows, arms, or fingers. When I am applying pressure on their abdomen, they report no sensation whereas, I can clearly feel it their heart pulsing! So, applying too much pressure upon the client's request can be a dangerous thing to do. In this field, being cautious is just the most beneficial way to help a client, and demonstrate empathy, and communication. They can always return to work on a specific area or issue another time, but working too much at one time, it's easy to traumatize the body and client.

- They practice what they preach

Most of my clients are dancers, dragon-boaters, movers, acrobats, etc, and so am I (except a dragon-boater)! I am quite physical in my training, and when I injure myself, I know exactly, how it feels, and what it takes to recover. If your therapist has no idea about injuries, or your lifestyle, I would hesitate in booking a session. My current research is trying all kids of different healing modalities, so I fully understand what is out there. That way, when a client tells me they have tried, Fire Therapy, for example, and her benefits were free flow of energy from her neck to her sacrum, I have a good idea of what she is experiencing. The same is true of other therapists. If your therapist doesn't at least share some element of the same lifestyle you have, then how are they going to emphasize or understand what you are going through?

- Is clear on how they can help you and communicates what to expect during and after the session

I have been to some (thankfully not many) therapists who made me felt like someone else was being treated! More so, I had no idea of what they were doing, and when they were going to do it....for example, cracking my back! Eeeeeee!!

I had no idea how I was supposed to feel. Could I do a movement class after? Should I go home and pray? So many questions...which were not answered. Granted, I went to a Chinese Doctor who couldn't speak much English, but you get the idea.

I like to schedule sessions depending on when is most beneficial for the client. Does she want to go to bed right after the session? Does she plan on doing a workout? Is her home far?

I factor in all these to ensure that the client has the highest benefit from the session, feels understood, and understands what she may feel during, and after the session. If I find something that may benefit her from something outside of the standard session (I always find doing hybrid sessions beneficial), I stop, and ask their permission, communicating with them exactly what I'd like to do, and more importantly, why.

These are some of my top factors to look for. Depending on your experience, you may have other factors that are more important than mine. Please let me know what they are and why?

Here are some of my therapist recommendations: