When There Are So Many Wannabees . . .

If you are looking for a professional-level MT for the first time, it can be quite confusing. Many well meaning, talented people buy a videotape or take a weekend course to get into something which is healthful, socially redeeming, "cool" and readily available. That, however, does not qualify them to introduce themselves as massage therapists and charge money for their questionable services. But often they do--precisely because you, the consumer, know little about this rediscovered health technology. Another complicating factor is the many exotic and/or self-promoting names of often similar approches to MT--some of which are not exactly MT. If you insist, here, take a look at the list of MT techniques and methods which we, of course, like to keep up with. Certainly, by the time you try to understand what each entails, you could have had many excellent MT sessions.

Clearly, an experienced MT who is well educated and physically well trained is your best bet to start with. Before you make an appointment, feel free to "interview" an MT about a state license, other recognized credentials, educational background, training and involvement in professional health organizations.

In particular, when looking for professional-quality massage therapy, ask about work experience and the setting of such experience. Obviously, someone who has worked for ten years in a commercial establishment has not had the same experience as someone who has worked in a professional office for the same amount of time, where massage therapy has been managed supervised, and delivered by a qualified MT professional and not simply offered by a commercial outfit as part of a marketing "fad du jour." Next and equally important, ask about the type of client/patient she or he has had the most experience with. Then, be specific about your condition or treatment purpose, and ask whether the massage therapist is professionally comfortable with it.

Finally, it makes sense to select a licensed massage therapist who has a readily accessible office and a predictable practice schedule. Normally, you will have to wait a few days for your first appointment, which should include an initial consultation and a thorough informational intake. Unlike many health treatments, and much like a psychotherapy session, an MT visit will start and end on time.

BTW, you would do well--for the present--to stay away from the Yellow Pages and classified ads, where the "Massage" ads (according to their own sales people) are very often for illicit sex. According to our on-going survey, the opening of a so called "Therapeutic Massage" category in Yellow Pages publications has not corrected the potential for sexual harassment suffered by the many legitimate practitioners of MT--women and men! The new category alongside the old one is simply an attempt to generate income and "have it both ways." If you you too believe that the market place and the workplace should be free of sexual harassment, we encourage you to call or E-Mail all such publications and ask them to respect your reader/consumer needs for clarity of information and for freedom from sexual harassment. ASSOCIATED MTs™ believes in staying on top of this issue. More on that in our Media Watch

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