People often treat professional massage as a reward for a job well done, or a way to unwind on vacation. These are great uses for the practice of massage, but they aren’t the only uses. Many people are discovering the deeper health benefits of regular, therapeutic massage. Whether it’s recovering from physical trauma or preventing injury during sports, professional massage therapy serves a wide array of meaningful functions. It often fits seamlessly into wellness strategies that include nutritional and chiropractic guidance.
But not every massage is created equal. First off, the level of skill and training varies widely. There are many highly qualified massage therapists in every State, but there are also many who lack the experience and background to treat patients effectively. Finding a reputable therapist is key.
Even then, the success of massage therapy depends on feedback and participation from the client. Many people assume their therapist knows best—but in order to get the best results, it’s important not to remain silent. Here are five things every massage therapy patient should be telling their therapist.
1. “That’s too much pressure.”
Don’t assume that because your therapist is licensed and trained means they always know how much pressure to apply. Every patient is unique, and that includes you. Massage therapy should never be painful or uncomfortable—if it is, don’t feel like you need to stay silent in order to be polite. Any reputable therapist will appreciate feedback and do everything they can to adjust the treatment, making it both effective and comfortable.
2. “I’d like more pressure.”
On the other hand, some people don’t feel like much is happening during a massage therapy session. The therapist may be working under the assumption that your muscles are extremely sensitive and that only a light pressure is called for; but in order to get the most therapeutic results, you should feel that your muscles are being worked in a firm yet comfortable way.
3. “I was a little sore after my last massage.”
When you go in for repeat massage therapy sessions, don’t forget to let your therapist know how you felt in the hours and days following the last treatment. This creates valuable context for future treatments and helps your therapist adjust to your body’s needs.
4. “My symptoms did (or did not) improve.”
When overseen by healthcare professionals, massage is a valuable aspect of preventative wellness and physical therapy. You’re here to feel better, and you should feel comfortable talking to your massage therapist about how your symptoms have or have not improved as a result of your therapy.
5. “I need more work on certain muscles.”
Again, many patients stay silent under the assumption that the therapist knows best. But a reputable professional will set you at ease and encourage feedback. Massage therapy is all about how you feel—not about set techniques or patterns that work on everybody.
Massage therapy that actually works
Integrating massage therapy into your wellness or recovery program can be one of the best decisions you make, and the medical benefits of massage are well-documented. But it’s important to be proactive and participate in the process. The feedback you provide will help your therapist adjust to your needs and deliver the best possible therapy to meet your needs.