Iʼve been touching people all my life, and 13 years ago I became a licensed massage
therapist. In all my years, I have been fortunate enough never to have been asked
directly to perform a service that a “masseuse” does. But is it really luck? Or is it
professionalism? The answer is more the later than the former. Professionalism can be
found in the setting, the attitude, and the techniques of the individual offering massage –
the professional massage therapist.
Setting. The professional does not work in a massage parlor. I have worked primarily in
day spas and chiropractorsʼ offices. In every setting a formal intake form is provided for
the client to indicate areas of pain or other health concern. The therapist should always
dress professionally, without revealing too much leg or cleavage, with clean clothes.
Hair needs to be clean and pulled back when itʼs long, and fingernails should be clean
and trim. Rooms should be private, warm, and comfortable, with clean linen on the
table. Every sense can be and should be catered to with soft lighting, aromatherapy and
Attitude. From the first contact on the phone to the initial person-to-person greeting, the therapist should be concerned for the satisfaction of the client within the professionʼs
code of ethics. For me, this means understanding the desired effects like stress relief or
pain relief in particular areas. Pain may be chronic or recent in its formation. In almost
every situation, the client can expect a degree of pain relief and significant relaxation. I
always instruct the client to provide feedback when the therapy feels too intense or
indeed painful. If youʼve ever had a massage therapist that didnʼt seem to listen to your
needs or feedback you provided while on the table, you werenʼt working with a true
Techniques. Variety is the spice of life, and massage hosts quite a variety of techniques.
You might have heard of some of them, like Reiki, deep tissue massage, lymphatic
drainage, prenatal massage and Swedish massage. While some therapists have a
single focus, I have accomplished a well-rounded approach to massage. My primary
focus is neuro-muscular therapy, which focuses on trigger points and nerve issues
including numbness, limited range-of-motion, and pain. When my client has a significant
change in their life because Iʼve helped them eliminate pain, that just makes my day!
So, back to the beginning, I am lucky. Lucky I was been born with a “touch,” or intuitive
sense. Lucky Iʼve found clients who were open to letting me work closely with them to
solve their issues of pain. Lucky to be in the right place for them to find me. And lucky in
getting the level of training I did. But am I lucky to have never been asked for a sensual
massage? I donʼt call it that Luck. I call it Professionalism