Finding the right massage therapist (MT) can really be a challenge. I know, as that's what I've been up to lately and it's taken a bit of effort even for me. I was dealing with shoulder pain and needed more than just relaxation but also didn't want it to become worse as the result of a too aggressive treatment. I wanted someone to give me the massage my clients receive; pain free, customized AND with relaxation. Finding the right MT is similar to finding most health care professionals. We want someone in a nearby location we connect to and who has the skill, education and experience to deliver.
Like Goldilocks, it took three tries before finding what I needed in a MT. The first one did not listen well and was too hard. She was all about her advanced training theory in a particular modality with the philosophy it has to hurt before it gets better (not true). Needless to say, I won't go back to her again.
The next MT gave a relaxing session but was too soft. She didn't seem to know what I meant when asked to focus on my area of pain (although she'd nodded in agreement). She had a routine and was stuck to it. I may go back to her again at some point, but only if a relaxation massage is in order.
Finally, the third MT was juuuuuust right. She listened carefully to what I told her and used a gradual approach with increasing pressure based on my body's reactions and to verbal feedback. When I needed more pressure I asked for it and she obliged. This MT actually had the same advanced training as the first one I'd seen but a whole different philosophy on approach. I've seen her twice now; after giving her additional feedback regarding the first session she has adjusted accordingly. She's a keeper.
So the next time you get a massage ask some questions..
After the session, did you feel attended to or disappointed? You'll know if the MT is someone you can work with after the first visit. In my experience, it’s a combination of the massage therapist appropriately addressing the pain issue, communication, and adjusting to feedback. As with any client/practitioner relationship, your experience is unique to you. Every MT is different based on their education, technique and experience. Keep trying until you find your best fit. Good luck!