Getting Massages – Where to Begin?

By |2018-01-08T20:29:55+00:00July 4th, 2017|Massage|

Confessions of a Massage Therapist:
by Shalene Zarate, LMT, NMT, CST

People don’t always realize that there are so many important elements to consider before deciding where to get a massage.

One would hope that finding a massage therapist that meets your needs is as simple as looking up a place close to home or work.

Finding a really GOOD therapist – a reliable person that you like, trust, and thoroughly enjoy their work. Who also plans on sticking around for a  while (because let us be honest here, massage therapist have a high turn over rate), has proven to be a little more complicated than that, in my own personal experience.

Ask yourself these questions. They might help you narrow down your choices and help you find someone you like and trust, faster.

  • What atmosphere would you prefer? A spa, medical office (chiropractors office), a private professional office, the kiosk at the mall? Would you prefer someone who was referred? Do you want to read reviews from their customers?
  • What qualities do you want in a practitioner – that would make you feel comfortable with and who also provides the type of work you need? (Yeah, this takes deeper thought and consideration!) You will be sharing with this person your health history, medical stories, traumas, struggles, likes/dislikes, goals, and such.  You may want to genuinely trust them.
  • Are there questions you want to ask the therapist’s you are interviewing? Are they qualified? What style of work does she/he do and what are their philosophies and guiding principles?
  • Is their location convenient to home or work?
  • Is it a nice place? Is it a sanitary place? Will you be able to relax?
  • Is this person someone you feel comfortable having touch you? Are they knowledgeable, skilled, and have good ethics? Are they capable of holding healthy boundaries?
  • What different modalities might you benefit from receiving?  Thai Massage, Cranio-Sacral, Therapy and Lymphatic Massage?

The most important thing is that you trust and feel safe with any practitioner you choose to work with.

Here is a little guide to help you find a better fit faster by applying the questions – What, Where, Who and Why?


  • What kind of massage do you need and want? Deep, light, relaxing, invigorating, therapeutic, general, specific, specialized, fluff and buff, spiritual-energy based, professional?
  • What are your ultimate goals? Relaxation, pain relief, stress reduction?
  • Do your needs require specialized treatment, such as for TMJ dysfunction, lymphatic blockage, trauma, whiplash, sports injury, etc?

The answers will determine where you begin your search.


What kind of environment are you looking for?

A few options include:

1. Spas
2. Medical Offices
3. Mobile Massage/In-home
4. Kiosks
5. Private Practices

Click Here for an overview of the Pros and Cons of each to help you decide which environment will best suit your needs/wants.


How does one select a new therapist?

In some settings, you will not get to choose who you work with, rather you will get who is on duty. Unless you specify otherwise and/or book ahead of time. In the instances when you do get to select your therapist, here are a couple tips to help you narrow your search. Finding a good match is essential.

• Be sure to have your goals, needs, and preferences in mind
• Ask a friend or trusted source (such as your acupuncturist or chiropractor) if they know someone they would highly recommend
• Read business reviews and testimonials from the therapists you find online
• Interview a couple therapists to see if they provide the style of massage you are seeking and to see if you have a good personality match

Questions you can ask:

  1. What styles of massage do you provide?
    2. How long have you been practicing massage?
    3. Are you licensed?
    4. Do you have any advanced or specialized training?
    5. How do you come up with your treatment plans?
    6. Who do you typically work with, or who is their ideal client?
    7. How do they ensure their clients wants/needs are met?Listen to your gut.
    Do they seem knowledgeable and professional?
    Do you agree with their approach?
    Are they good listeners?Pro Tip: If they say they can “fix” you, keep searching. A wise therapist knows their role in the process.

Finding a good match is priceless. If you are new to receiving massage, here are a few further considerations:
8 Tips for Achieving Better Results with Massage


Why are you seeking massage? What are the results you want to achieve?
How do you want to feel before, during, and after?

This brings us full circle. You will want to start with this in mind.

Massage is a time and financial investment in your health. Asking these questions may help you partner with a therapist who will help you achieve your bodywork goals, and will make a world of difference in your overall experience.

There are great benefits to seeing one or two therapists for consistent care. rather than going to someone new every time.

At Embodiwork Studio, we are a private practice that blends the best of all of them.

We designed our office with the beauty and elements of a spa, but with the aim of making it cozy and comfortable like a home. Our office evokes calm and tranquility. The dim lights, white noise, earthly scents, soothing colors, and simplicity, will allow you to unplug for time to rejuvenate.

Optimum results with somatic therapies (bodywork) are achieved by creating collaborative partnerships. Building a relationship that feels safe, supportive, and allows for open communication is of great importance to us because it allows us to tailor our techniques, for greatest effectiveness and enjoyment.

We always devise customized treatment plans that address each client’s specific therapeutic needs and preferences, implementing whichever techniques best meet the needs of our clients. We never ever follow routines or take a one-size fits all approach.

In the instance that a person cannot travel to our office, we providein-home treatment on a case by case basis.

You can certainly come for a quick fix. We do offer shorter sessions.

More importantly, we spend quality time getting to know our clients. You are never just a number to us. We get to know your bodies, personal stories, health conditions, and what you respond well to. Our training allows us to integrate various techniques for optimized improvement.

We hope this guide helps you find the best fit possible by asking the right questions and starting with the end in mind. 

May you embody health and wholeness.

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