How to book the right massage therapist for you

Because booking the right therapist can sometimes be tricky... 

There are so many massage therapists advertising their services (as well as their “services”) on the internet. Have you ever felt like it's hard to pick the "right" one for you?

Here are my top tips to help you find a therapist with the knowledge, skills, and experience required to give you the type of massage you want, in an environment that’s comfortable for you, at a price you can afford.


Figure out why you want a massage, and what you want to get out of it

Let's start with a reflective question:  why do you want a massage? 

Maybe a healthcare professional, such as your doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor recommended it. Perhaps you have medical or physical conditions that you think a massage could help. Maybe your friends and family enjoy getting massages, and now you want to try it out. Or you simply love getting massages.

And what do you want a massage to do for you? Place a mental "✅" next to these, as many as you want:

  1. Lower your stress
  2. Relax and reduce blood pressure
  3. Improve blood circulation and warmth
  4. Loosen those tight muscles 
  5. Increase range of motion
  6. Aid recovery from injury or trauma
  7. Feel more grounded
  8. Reduce any pain (those knots!)
  9. Improve your athletic performance
  10. Enjoy nurturing touch
  11. Improve your athletic performance
  12. Enhance your health and well-being (eg T-cell count for immune response)
  13. Take a mini-vacation from your routine

Getting a massage actually has so many benefits, in case you didn't know!


Do your research, consider the factors

Log on to a reputable site (like the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT), or the Guild of Therapists - the 2 largest bodies for professional therapists in the U.K.) to check out different massage therapists. Look for ones that align with what you want to get out of a massage and why you want to get one. Tip:  if you want the most professional experience, look for a therapist who has a significant number of hours of training from a licensed massage school. In the U.K., if a massage therapist is certified at Level 3 by the Vocational Training Charitable Trust  (VTCT), they have at least 50 hours of practical training from an accredited massage school, with at least 20 different practice models, and passed exams in anatomy and physiology. Accredited therapists at levels 4 and 5 would have higher levels of experience and training, and Levels and 1 and 2 would have had less training. Then it's simple: If a listing doesn’t reflect your wants and needs, keep looking for one that does. If you're not feeling the vibe, then you're not feeling it.

Here are some things you should consider while booking your massage therapist:

  1. Do you prefer the masseur to come to your home or do you prefer to travel to his studio?
  2. How far are you willing to drive to get a massage?
  3. What modalities do they offer to address my needs? (such as Thai Yoga Massage, Swedish Massage, Lymphatic Drainage Massage, Clinical Sports Massage, Ayurvedic Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, Hot Stone Massage)
  4. What experience and qualifications do they have? 
  5. Do you prefer working with certain types of people?
  6. What kind of setting do you prefer:  clinical, cozy, spa or zen?
  7. Is showering facilities before and/or after a massage important to you?
  8. Are there speciality services (like scrubs, male grooming, facials, pool, hot tub, sauna) available?
  9. Do you have allergies to certain types of lotions or oils?
  10. Any other factors?

It’s simple.  If you understand your own needs, and are clear what the masseur offers, you will have a better overall massage experience. 


Connect with the masseur before booking

The next step is to text or call your masseur of choice. Go ahead, don't be shy, text him!

You can ask about things you want to know about the masseur, including:

  1. The massage styles they work with ("I'm looking for some deep pressure / I've injured my achilles tendon and require remedial massage / I'm highly stressed and suffering mental burnout / I can't move my right shoulder very much at all / My feet and hands are always so cold / My lymph glands are swollen / I have varicose veins - is that something you can help with?")
  2. Their fees for different types and lengths of service, and whether any discount packages are available ("What's your rate for a 90-min Swedish Massage outcall?")
  3. If it's an outcall, do they bring a table? If it's Thai massage, a floor-mat?
  4. What their availability is like (Want a same-day appointment? Go for it! But don't expect them to always have a slot.)
  5. The products they use ("What type of oils or lotions do you work with?")
  6. What their policy on clothing, cancellations, giving consultations is...

Also, don't be afraid to ask about their education/training or years of experience. If they are a good masseur, they'll want to tell you!

The therapist may well send out a consultation for you to fill in and sign related to details of any special medical or health conditions, such as recent surgery, fractures, sprains or cuts, and diagnosed conditions such as Arthritis, Cancer, Psoriasis, Allergies and Blood Pressure. You should advise your therapist of these, especially if you are under the care of a medical professional. If you have any special medical conditions, you can go ahead and share those. They are trained to be able to handle them and be sensitive to your particular body's needs. Alternatively, be prepared to spend 5-20 minutes discussing these details before your treatment. Consultations are necessary to give you a safe and holistic treatment that best suits your conditions and needs. Some therapists charge for consultations, in addition to the treatment. The time for consutlaitons depends on the thoroughness of the therapist, and the complexity of your conditions. You may be asked to supply the therapist with a signed 'approval for massage' letter from your GP or medical professional before the therapist is willing to provide you with a massage. This is for health and safety and in no way reflects on you.

You may be able to claim the cost of treatments back, if you have a healthcare policy that will pay for qualified treatments. So, do check with your policy which modalities of massage they will pay for, and also check whether the masseur is correctly qualified in that form of therapy (as deemed by the policy documents). If you have a match, then hey ho, you're in luck and it was well worth the research!


Book the session!

Alright, you've called or texted the masseur and you've taken some time to get to know them.  If you're ready and feeling good about it, it's time to book. You will probably be asked for a deposit to secure a booking with a cancellation policy for refund.


Now you can let the masseur do what they're best at:  making you feel good!    

For more info on how to book and/or if you're unsure about for best etiquette tips during the session, read this article here.

You're now ready to enjoy the glorious experience of a good massage!