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[alt.backrubs] Frequently Asked Questions (FAQL), (4/5)
Section - Finding a good professional massage

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do not provide a good massage.  Some provide substandard services and
others provide sexual services under the guise of massage.  Many people
post to alt.backrubs seeking advice about how to tell where they can get a
skilled massage before they have paid for the services.  Three questions
are answered here: (a) how can I find someone who will give me a massage,
or other bodywork treatment, rather than some sexual service; (b) how can I
tell if they are any good before I pay them; and (c) what referral services
can I call upon for recommendations?
        If you are not sure what to expect from a professional massage you
might find some of the information in the archive (question 5.1.2) of
interest.  The files in the professional category and the `'
and `what.price' files should be of especial interest.  If you'd like to
summarize that information for inclusion here, please see questions 0.3 and


a)      Either way typical advice is to get a referral from a trusted
friend, physician or other health care professional, local massage school,
health food store or Chamber of Commerce.  Steve Brooks
<> suggested (in article
<3eco5n$>) that major hotel chains that cater
to Japanese tourists should be able to refer you to reputable Japanese
style massage therapists.  How you're supposed to locate such hotels is
left as an exercise to the reader.  Some people like to search
advertisements in the telephone book and so-called New Age or Holistic
Health stores and publications.  Other people say this is a terrible way to
find a MT.  I suppose it depends on where you live and what your local
publications are like.
        If all you care about is whether you are going to get a
professional massage or sexual services then ask.  Be aware however that if
they are using massage as a cover for sexual services then they probably
won't answer direct questions about whether or not they offer sexual
services.  Many of the suggestions in this answer come from the
`finding.a.MT' file in the archive.  The archive is the topic of question
        Someone suggested some questions that might help you detect whether
the prospective masseur offers such services as `relief massage' (often a
codeword for masturbation).  You might also ask what professional
organizations they belong to as members of the AMTA (American Massage
Therapy Association) and ABMP (Association of Bodywork and Massage
Professionals) are strictly forbidden from sexual involvement with their
clients.  Not all professional MTs belong to either of these organizations 
-- you can read some of the arguments in the archive (see question 5.1.2)
if you're really interested.  Those arguments appear in the `certification'
file.  The `medical.model' and other files in the Professional category may
also be of particular interest.


b)      When you're satisfied that you have found an above board MT you
should try to find out if they will be suitable for the type of treatment
you want.  Be clear about what your needs are and tell the MT.  Perhaps you
want massage for relaxation or you have a specific area that needs
attention, for example.  A good MT will help you pinpoint what it is you
want from the session, often just by talking about it with you.  
        If you are at all uncomfortable with the thought of being
unclothed, then discuss draping with the MT before the massage begins.
Absolutely no professional MT will demand a client remove any clothing that
the client is not comfortable removing regardless of what impact this will
have on the massage.  Are you comfortable with a male (or female) MT, or
would you prefer a MT of the other sex?
        Please note however that just because a MT graduated from a
professional school they aren't necessarily going to give you a great
massage.  It has been said many times in alt.backrubs that some MTs have
the technical knowledge of what to do but lack the sensitivity to detect
what clients really need.  Corrina Perrone has written that, in her
experience, it almost always takes at least two years of practice after
graduation for MTs to a develop a truly professional calibre of massage.
        Once you have a short list of MTs you want to consider, then you
should ask questions to determine what services these unknown massagers
really provide, and how skilled they are in the type of massage you want
(see question 2.1).  You could ask about their professional education,
e.g. how many hours of training have they had (this varies from about 250
to 2000), which massage school did they attend, what their favourite course
was and what types of massage they prefer.
        Corrina Perrone <> recommends: 
   If you still have doubts about the qualifications ask direct
   questions about the types of bodywork they do -- and expect some
   technical answers [such as those in question 2.2].  Ask them to
   describe these techniques, and how they use them in a session.
   You'll get a lot of `it depends' answers, but a good therapist will
   be able to give you an example, such as, `I warm the muscle tissue
   up using mostly Swedish massage strokes, and then use deep tissue
   techniques to work out tightness.  If there is limited movement I
   might use NMT [neuromuscular massage therapy] work on the muscle
   attachments, and some Trager techniques to integrate the work.'
   Find out how long they have been in practice.
      If you are screening the therapists by phone, look for qualities
   that indicate they would be a good person with whom to work:
         Do they listen to what you are saying and respond to it?  
         Do they ask questions about your needs?  
         Do they impress you as professional?  
         Do you feel like you are being listened to, or do you feel
           like you are getting a lecture in physiology?
   Take some time to consider those questions strategically.  You want
   something from the bodywork, and you are picking the best partner
   to help you achieve that goal.  You should also be clear in your
   mind about what you want.  The MT's answers will tell you something
   about them and their massage practice.


c)      In the `finding.a.MT' file mentioned above Brother Bernard Seif
<> noted that the Associated Bodywork and Massage 
Professionals (ABMP) offer a free referral service.  To use the service
call +1(800) 862-7724.
        Please note that the inclusion of information about a commercial
organization (the ABMP in this case) does not indicate in any way approval
or disapproval of the organization in any way by anyone responsible for
this document.  The information is included because it is deemed useful to
the readers of alt.backrubs and is part of the answer to a frequently asked
question.  If you have corrections to the telephone number or additions
(e.g., the number of another referral service) then please inform the FAQL 

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Top Document: [alt.backrubs] Frequently Asked Questions (FAQL), (4/5)
Previous Document: Professional issues
Next Document: Advice for a recipient of professional massage

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