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  • Why You May Want (or Need) More Than One Massage Therapist

    barefoot massageMany people find one massage therapist they like and stick with them to the exclusion of all other therapists. Let’s hear if for loyalty! Yay!  But while I, and all the other massage therapist out there, appreciate your loyalty, you do yourself a disservice if you don’t seriously consider if your chosen therapist should truly be your one and only.

    Here’s the thing: As a therapist, we each have our strengths and you are a complex person with (most likely)  complex issues. What happens if one of your needs doesn’t correspond to one of our strengths? Do you go without that need being met? Does that need get only partially met?

    The Many Faces of Massage

    Massage specialties can run the gamut from general to specific. Here’s a small sampling of specialities to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

    • Relaxation massage – Some therapists are best at giving you a one hour oasis from the world. It’s a service that too often is looked down upon, but it’s vital for many people who don’t know how to relax otherwise. It also aids any therapeutic work that the therapist may do.
    • Therapeutic massage –  Some therapists prefer to do work that relieves pain and increases function. There are two broad categories of therapeutic massage:
      • Injury work – While any therapist can address your injury and reduce your pain, the most effective injury work requires a specific skill set.
      • Chronic pain relief – This is a specialty unto itself because if a therapist used injury techniques on someone with chronic pain it could send them into a pain flare not just for days but for weeks.
    • Specific techniques
      • Myofascial release – Releases the fascia, or connective tissue, in the body. Great for many conditions including plantar fasciitis, low back pain, headaches, and TMJ pain.
      • Craniosacral therapy – Gently restores balance to the craniosacral complex, which consists of the head, spine, and hips. Useful for TMJ dysfunction, headaches, and low back pain, and many other things.
      • Ashiatsu bar therapy – Deep tissue massage given with bare feet while the therapist holds onto overhead bars.
      • Scar release – Releases adhesions and dysfunctions associated with scar tissue.
      • Orthopedic massage – A specific set of techniques used to address injury and dysfunction in the body.
      • Sports massage – Helps get you ready to compete and helps you recover afterward. Getting massage prior to competition from someone who doesn’t specialize in sports massage could cause you to perform worse than normal.
    • Specific conditions – Some therapists choose to specialize in specific conditions like TMJD, plantar fasciitis, headaches, fibromyalgia, etc. They get training in a wide variety of techniques which allows them to assess and address these conditions from a variety of perspectives. The therapist then uses all the techniques at their disposal to choose the best one(s) for each client.

    So sit down and figure out, truly, what issues you have that could be addressed by a massage therapist and then ask yourself if one massage therapist can fill the bill for all of those needs. Maybe you want a sports massage therapist to help you get ready for and recover from athletic events and another one who does myofascial or craniosacral therapy to help with your chronic headaches.

    If you decide that you need more than one therapist, feel free to ask your current therapist if they know someone who has the specialty you’re looking for. If you’re uncomfortable doing that, ask your friends and coworkers if they know anyone. It’s always best to get a recommendation if possible.