When people are looking to go get a massage with a therapist they have never been to before, they oftentimes default to going to one who is the closest, cheapest or most convenient with their schedule. In some instances, that’s your only option. I mean, some massage is better than none. Right? Unless it’s a terrible massage.

I imagine this especially happens when the person has never had a professional massage before. When they don’t really know the difference between a mediocre massage or an exceptionally good one. It’s hard to preconceive all the important elements that go into having a good experience before you enter into this therapeutic relationship.

In an ideal world, finding a massage therapist whom you like (their personality AND their work), trust, can rely on to show up and be present for the time you hire their services, and feel totally safe on their table – would be as simple as a quick internet search or just going to the place close to home or work. Other than a therapist coming highly recommended by someone I know, I’ve actually found that it’s a little more complicated and challenging finding a really GOOD therapist that is a good fit. This is true of all health and self-care providers.

I would like to support those of you who think massage/bodywork would help you improve the quality of your life, and are starting a brand new search for someone to work on your body.

Asking yourself some often overlooked questions before you start googling “massage therapists”, or schedule with someone, might help find someone you like and trust, faster. If you have an idea of what style and approach you want and where you will better generate that experience, the answers will help narrow down your search.

The most important thing is that the practitioner is qualified to touch people and that you trust and feel safe with them. So you can let down your guard during your session and get down to business. This may require you to go to a few people first before you find the ONE.

Here is a Two-Part Guide to help you with your search to find a therapist. In Part One, I list the most common environments you will likely receive a professional massage and the pros and cons of each. In Part Two, I offer some guidelines for what to look for and what to ask prospective therapist/bodyworkers before you hire them.

Part One: What Massage Setting Would You Prefer?

Part Two: What to Look for When Interviewing Bodyworkers 

I hope you find this all useful. Writing about it has me reflecting on my own health-care team and has made me aware of where I need to make some adjustments. There are different levels of skill, talent, passion for what they do, and more important, presence. Having a devoted bodyworker in your life who can help you mend and take care of your body, can be a lifesaver.  A true saving grace. May you find what you are looking for and know the amazingness that massage and bodywork really are.