Massage has become widely popular over the last few years. In a lot of cities, there is a massage center or day spa on every other corner. Massages are also becoming more affordable. And massage schools are popping up all over the place.

Although this can be exciting news for the industry, how does it affect the consumer? Well, anytime something becomes more mainstream, popular, and profitable, it also has the potential to become watered down. This increase in quantity usually means a decrease in quality.

So how do you ensure you receive a quality massage? Here are 5 questions you should ask any massage therapist before hiring them:

1. What types of massage do you specialize in?
This is especially important to ensure the therapist’s preferred style of massage matches yours. There are well over 50 different types of massage styles. If a massage therapist focuses on sports massage and deep tissue massage, and you are more interested in relaxation and you hate painful massages, then this is not the therapist for you. If you are unsure of the different types of massage, ask the therapist, “what are the benefits of your massage?” and “how will I feel after your massage?” This will help you determine if this massage is right for you.

2. What training and certifications do you have?
This question helps determine the quality of the mblex massage therapist. There are a lot of massage schools more interested in profit and business, than in training qualified massage therapists. In fact, I know a few schools who have business teachers on staff and no massage therapists.

Also, you want to make sure that the therapist is certified. There is a National Certification Agency for massage therapists called, National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). All states do not require a national certification, although you can be sure that therapist who acquire it are dedicated to their craft since it requires them to take a standardized test. To find out which states require NCBTMB, go toΒ .

As long as the Massage Therapist is licensed in your respective state, they have followed the required certification requirements.

3. Do you have testimonials you can share?
Find out what others have said about the potential massage therapist you are thinking of going to. This is one of the best ways to evaluate any type of bodywork therapist. If the therapist does not have testimonials on their website, you may not want to hire them.

If you are hiring a therapist for an in home massage, you may also want to ask if there are any clients you can e-mail as references. This will help you check the quality of the massage and professionalism of the therapist.

4. What do you do for stress relief?
Make sure the massage therapist practices what they preach. If they do not regularly schedule time to relax and take care of their health, how can they really guide you in relieving stress?

Also, consider that massage is a type of relaxation therapy in where touch is used to manipulate soft tissue. And this same touch can transfer stress from the therapist to the client.

The state of mind of the therapist can affect your session. If the massage therapist is stressed during the massage, they can transfer that state of stress to you, which is one of the reasons I don’t suggest going to a massage studio that requires therapist to perform 6 or 7 massages a day. Can you imagine the poor quality of massage the 6th or 7th person receives? Who wants to receive massage from an exhausted massage therapist.

Those who take their craft seriously will incorporate it into their own lives.

5. How long have you been practicing?
The average life span of a massage therapist is very short: 1-3 years. If the therapist has been practicing for more than three years, this shows real dedication. Massage is a craft that you truly learn through the experience of actually working on real people. So make sure your therapist has invested some time in the field.

If the therapist has been practicing for 10 or more years, ask them how they continue to improve their craft. Make sure they still take continuing education classes to stay on top of new developments in the field.

These questions will guarantee you find a qualified massage therapist. Lastly, any therapist who respects and enjoys the art of massage will be ready and willing to answer all of your questions. If a therapist does not return your phone call promptly or seems frustrated by your questions, then I strongly suggest you stop doing business with them. You want their professionalism to be top notch during your first encounter. If it’s not, it’s likely to continue to decline.

Massage is relaxation therapy. Why pay someone for stress relief when they cause you more stress?

These questions may seem detailed, but how many strangers do you hire that you share such an intimate space with? Massage is psycho-somatic, meaning there’s a physical component and psychological component. So make sure your therapist is qualified before you get on their table.