What would your therapist like to know when you come in for a massage treatment?

Understanding is key to each relationship. There is no exception when it comes to a therapist-client relationship. In order to achieve the best massage results and ensure clients' satisfaction, a therapist should be able to ask relevant questions. A good massage therapist should invest time in learning what client’s expectations are to be able to match or exceed them and offer the best care. A therapist might be a master of massage and soft tissue therapy but each client is a master of their body, only working together will bring the best results.

So what exactly is relevant and what your therapist should find out from you in order to facilitate the most effective outcome?

- How would you like to feel at the end of the session/ what outcome do you expect from the treatment?

This is key information. If you want to feel relaxed and your therapist gives you fantastic sports or remedial massage trying to fix niggle, you will leave feeling like you haven’t received the service you hoped for. If could have been a great treatment, but if it wasn’t what you had in mind, you won’t be satisfied.

- Are you looking for a one-off massage or thinking of regular treatments?

It might sound strange, but this is actually incredibly important to know.  If you wish for just a one-off “feel good” massage your therapist has to be careful not to go too deep and to avoid “investigating” the areas of problem. Opening a can of worms could leave you vulnerable and prone to injuries or imbalance without further treatments.

- Have you had any bad experiences from previous massage treatments?

If there was something in the past that made you unhappy about your massage treatment and prevented you from going back, your new therapist will certainly want to know.

- Is there any area that you would like to avoid during massage (head, face, hands, feet, etc)?

Some therapists just assume that full body treatment will involve massaging hands, feet, face, head, stomach, etc. However, giving you a chance to say that you don’t like a scalp or feet massage will get your therapist extra points so you don’t have to go through the parts you don’t like.

- Do you undertake any physical activity?

In order to understand what your body and mind go through each day or week, your therapist should find out what sort of sporting exercises you practice, its frequency and intensity as well as future events or sports goals. The treatment plan they propose will take into consideration when you train or perform and therefore will advise on the best massage type or time for massage treatments

- What do you do for a living?

Although this might sound like your therapist is nosey, but the truth is, each job comes with consequences. The type of work you do might often be an indication of posture, repetitive movement pattern, and stress level or work-life balance – all factors that influence physical and mental health.

- General health and lifestyle  

This may also not feel very relevant if you just want a good massage, but getting the most out of your regular massage treatments means your therapist needs to understand what you are against in everyday life. The type of diet, sleep pattern, hobbies, planned holidays, children are just an example.

The amount of water drunk, certain vitamins, and minerals in the diet, the amount of sugar consumed, will all have an impact on the condition of muscles and the level of release possible to achieve in the treatment. The typical length of sleep is an indication of the recovery period and your body’s ability to recharge. Hobbies will tell whether you are able to do things that make you happy. Your treatment plan will also depend if you have family, in particular on your partner’s availability or childcare. Your therapist would also like to know if you’re going on holidays - often the change of activities, different beds and pillows, luggage and travel itself can set your massage goals back and affect recovery.

- Is there anything that could stop you from achieving the results that you wish for?

This could involve a new job or career change that will need more time than previously or if you’re expecting a child, moving house or planning a long trip abroad. Identifying potential changes in circumstances can be useful in order to adapt your treatment plan.

- Detailed analysis of injury or pain

Your therapist will want to know what influences the injury or pain. Does it get worse at certain times of the day? What eases it?  What aggravates it? How often it reoccurs? Where exactly do you feel it and does it spread anywhere else? Remember that it is absolutely fine to guide your therapist during the treatment so they can find the places that cause you the most discomfort. Any good therapist will appreciate your guidance rather than get upset or unsecured.

All therapists love seeing their clients satisfied and happy with the treatment. This is what prompted them to become therapists in the first place – wanting to help others and seeing the relief on clients’ faces. Finding a therapist who offers the treatment that you love and meets your expectations each time you receive treatment is simply priceless. This can only happen if your therapist invests time in getting to know you and your goals. Asking relevant questions is key to establishing a great therapist-client relationship that can last for years.

Written by: Agata Dudo, Fulham Massage & Wellness 

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