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How to Choose The Right Massage Therapist For You (Part II)

Today we continue our discussion on how to choose the right therapist for you.  The first question was to figure out what type of massage and experience you want.  Now that you have that answered, your next question should be  “How do I know the therapist is qualified?”

First and foremost, you want to go to a massage place that has licensed massage therapists.  NJ requires all massage therapists to hold a state license which requires continuing education.  The license validates that the massage therapist went to a reputable school, has graduated, and has completed a background check. Licensing also requires a certain number of continuing education credits in order to renew.  We are required by law to display the licenses of all massage therapists that perform at that location, so look around and see if the license is prominently displayed. Here’s an example of what a license looks like: massage license. You can also go to the Board of Nursing or Consumer Affairs to check the status of a massage therapist’s license.

If your massage therapist is not licensed, do not have them work on you as they may not have any training and can potentially do damage to your body.  Furthermore, non-licensed therapists are not held to a code of ethics like licensed massage therapists. This means you may end up at a place you thought was for massage and actually is not a massage place.

Asking what their education program was like can indicate some of their knowledge/skill level.  In the state of New Jersey, the minimum education requirement is a 500 hour program.  Most programs ensure that your therapist is fluent in anatomy, physiology, and Swedish massage.  As a therapist continues their training, they may have other certifications like myofascial, hot stone massage, neuromuscular therapy, trigger point, sports massage, lymphatic draining…just to name a few.  One way you can tell how passionate your therapist is about their work is by how much extra training they’ve done.  Mostly because they will want all the tools possible to best help their clients.

For relaxation type massages, Swedish massage will do the trick.  And for those individuals who experience chronic pain, you want a therapist who has the skill set to be able to address your needs.  This will require further training than just the basic program.

To summarize, make sure the place you go to has state licensed massage therapists and check with your therapist on their type of education and if they have any special certifications.  Next question to ask in how to choose the right therapist for you is “What modality will get rid of my pain?”