Massage Therapy

How to find a great massage therapist to relieve your stress

When we are stressed, our bodies, as well as our minds, are affected. Our heart rate and blood pressure may increase, our digestion be disrupted, and we will certainly hold tension in our muscles (especially our neck and shoulders). Any of these effects may result in physical pain.

Massage therapy can help alleviate all of these symptoms and bring you a sense of relaxation and well-being. With many different kinds of massage available, you will be sure to find a therapy (or two) to suit your needs.

What kind of therapy would you prefer? Swedish massage offers a traditional therapy, while Shiatsu works with the same pressure points as acupuncture (but without the needles!). Do you feel comfortable receiving a full-body massage, or would you be more comfortable with a therapy like Indian Head Massage, for which you can stay fully clothed? Perhaps you would appreciate the additional health and fragrance benefits of an aromatherapy massage?

Not sure which to try? Then why not look out for centers running "taster" or sample days when you may be able to try one or several therapies briefly at little cost or even for free. Be sure to take into account any particular health requirements you may have, such as pregnancy or osteoporosis.

When looking for a massage therapist, always ensure they are registered by an accredited body. These organizations exist for all massage therapies, and a qualification offers you reassurance that your therapist is skilled and has an awareness of anatomy and physiology and the techniques of massage.

So, where should you look for a massage therapist? A personal recommendation from a friend or colleague is always ideal. If that isn't available, then you should be able to rely on services available in your local gym, health center or alternative-health center.

Another way to get quality therapy for free or at low cost is to contact local training courses, which sometimes need volunteers to receive massage from skilled trainees under supervision. Otherwise, it is advisable to contact the professional associations for details of members in your area. The World Massage Forum, which has a website, provides lots of helpful information on massage accreditation bodies worldwide, including those of many American states.

In the United Kingdom, the website Massage Therapy UK provides information on available therapies, relevant professional bodies and individual therapists.

Good luck, and remember to enjoy it!

By Lynne MC