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  • Writer's pictureAna Munoz

Beyond the Spa: How to Find a Massage That Delivers Results

A client told me halfway through her massage that she was angry!

Something I do often throughout my massage sessions is check in with my client and ask them how they are doing and how the pressure is. So imagine my surprise recently, when a client told me halfway through her massage that she was angry!

You read that right. It's not a typo!

I was halfway through her massage session,and had just completed working on her back muscles. The music was soothing, and her muscles had been responding well to the pressure I was offering. So of course, I was shocked when she said she was angry. Her tone didn’t sound angry, so what was going on?

Turns out she was angry because she couldn’t believe she had gone her whole life not knowing this type of massage was available! Now, you must be asking yourself, “What type of massage was she getting, Ana?”

It was what I call a normal routine Therapeutic Massage, but in my client's words, “I feel like I just learned that gourmet burgers were an option all along and I’ve only been eating fast food burgers!”

So, how do you find gourmet options in the massage industry? I’m here to share what to look for when booking a massage.

However, before we get to the three things to look for when booking your massage, let’s talk about how we got to this point. Because, while this was the first time a client described their massage experience in this manner, she wasn’t the first to be shocked that massage could be BOTH relaxing and physically impactful.

I’m here to share that actually your massage should be physically impactful first and foremost and relaxation is simply an added bonus.

Currently, the most common way to market massage is to lean heavily on promoting relaxation. You see images of clients on the massage table with cucumber slices on their eyes and hot stones on their backs. But I hate to break it to you, but in the 12 years I’ve been practicing massage therapy I’ve never placed cucumber slices on someone's eye, and if anyone were to simply place hot stones on a client's bareback and not slide them consistently around there is a very high possibility that they’d have cause for a personal injury lawsuit as they burn the skin if not consistently glided around the muscle.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t seek relaxation, but when a whole industry is only marketed in this format then how’s anyone supposed to know that massage can decrease muscular pain, impact posture, increase sleep productivity, decrease stress, and impact daily mobility, among other results?

The best way to move forward in finding a massage therapist that offers top-notch results is to break free from the standards marketed to you by the spa industry. Massage therapists who provide gourmet-level massages are doing the following three things:

1. Markets hands-on time honestly.

This may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be shocked to find out how many places promote 60-minute sessions but only deliver 50 minutes. I could write a whole dissertation as to why 50-minute massages are robbery. But I’ll only focus on two points.

The first is in a 50-minute massage time is allocated in a way where either whole body parts are skipped over or simply only lotioned. If you come in let's say with upper back pain you want to focus on then that requires 4 regions to be worked on (traps, neck, shoulders, and pecs). In a 50-minute session, to give the results of pain relief in that area then I may have to skip hands and feet, or face and scalp). Or if I don't skip an area then you might feel rushed as I complete a quick lotioning of the area and move on.

The second, and, in my opinion, the most impactful part of skimping off 10 minutes is that those 10 minutes are usually used to turn over the room and prepare for the next client. Which leads me to ask, how much rest and recovery is my therapist experiencing in-between sessions? Does this impact the quality of the massage if I’m the last client of the day?

A massage therapist who is offering complete 60, 90, or 120-minute sessions is more likely to actually be factoring in recovery, rest, and break times in-between clients so they are able to give the same high-quality touch to every client that they serve. When I find massage therapists whose work I love, I want to work with them long-term. Balancing their hands-on time with break time helps me gauge the possibility of us forming a long-term relationship.

2. Educating you on what to expect

You would be surprised by how many massage therapists incorporate a deep stretch technique that has a high probability of being effective but do not lead with educating the client on what to expect.

For example, there is a pec stretch that I find very effective in helping postpartum moms alleviate shoulder pain, back pain, and even carpal tunnel symptoms. However, it is not the most pleasant feeling in that moment. But once complete, each and every one of my clients has said it was worth the muscle tension release. This is because prior to doing the stretch I inform them of how the stretch works, what it feels like, what the benefits are, what the cons are, and finally I ask whether they would be open to trying it out.

Massage therapists who offer top-quality massage inform, educate and ask for consent to try out out-of-the-ordinary techniques.

3. Encourage open communication

The best way to ensure you are getting the massage that you seek is for your massage therapist to check in with you. It’s as simple as that, but the average massage therapist doesn’t check in to see how you are handling the pressure. Even less massage therapists give you the opening to give feedback on whether or not you would like more or less pressure or if an area makes you uncomfortable.

When there is open communication you are better able to relax and surrender to the massage. You know what to expect and you know you can voice a concern or a request if something comes up during your service. That is what makes the biggest difference between an average massage and a massage that rocks your world.

*BONUS* Know what outcome you are looking for!

The number 1 thing keeping people from experiencing amazing results through massage therapy is not having an outcome in mind. When you know what results you seek then you are better able to search out specialists in your area.

As a prenatal massage specialist, my passion revolves around serving pregnant and postpartum clients. I am consistently staying updated on the latest information around pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. This allows me to best serve my clients and continuously produce results such as pain relief, increased mobility, better sleep, and overall enjoyment of their pregnancy.

How To Work With Me

Ana Munoz serves the Orlando, Florida birthing community through prenatal, postpartum and therapeutic massage. She offers mobile massage services, also known as in-home massage services. In order to continuously deliver amazing results to her clients she limits her availability to up to 10 massage sessions a week, Monday through Saturday. To book your session now, click HERE.

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1 Comment

May 28, 2023

YES!! Thank you for writing this piece to help raise awareness !

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