As an increasing number of people turn to massage therapy for help with medical conditions and stress relief, it's more important than ever to know how to find a qualified practitioner. There are many types of massage, but three of the most common are Swedish Massage, used primarily for relaxation and energizing; Deep Tissue Massage, for muscle damage from an injury such as whiplash or back strain; and Sports Massage to help prevent athletic injury and to keep the body flexible.
When looking for a massage therapist, word of mouth is a good place to start.
Ask a friend or associate if they've had good experience with a therapist. Another way is to log onto the American Massage Therapy Association's Web site (amtamassage.org) and click on the "Find a Practitioner" link.
Some basic questions to ask include: "Are you licensed by the state? Ohio and Kentucky as well as 37 other states regulate massage therapists. Is your therapist a member of the AMTA? The AMTA recommends a minimum of 500 hours of education, the standard followed by most regulating states.
Does your therapist have training in any specific massage modalities? Certainly the therapist's experience is important, as well as his or her approach to massage. Some specialize in one type of massage while others employ a variety of techniques.
If you have an injury or a very specific ailment, you might need a more therapeutic and specialized therapist. Any therapist should be happy to share their credentials and discuss their methods. Communication is important. Don't be afraid to discuss any apprehensions or concerns.
Touch is a wonderful form of healing, and the therapeutic effects of massage are cumulative -- so the more often you receive one, the more quickly the body responds and the better you'll feel.
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