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Massage/Finding therapist


How should one select a massage therapist? What is the best way to find one? I mostly go to the local school clinic but that is mostly for saving cost. I've mostly had rough massages both in clinic and in private practice and it seems one person's "high pressure" is low for the next person. The best massage I ever had was with what appeared to be with a slim Italian girl in her 20's with slim fingers. Giant hands seem like they do more harm than good. What criteria am I allowed to use when selecting someone as a long term LMT?

What a great question, James!

Word of mouth is an excellent way to find a new massage therapist.  We all have different personalities, techniques we have learned (correctly or not) and different techniques we prefer to use.  If you know someone who raves about their massage therapist, ask for the contact info.

Interviewing a therapist is a good way to get to kind of know them without spending any money.  This can be done in person or over the phone.  In person is best.  Just ask if they have a free consultation.  Most of us will do that.

When you are talking with them for maybe ten minutes, observe whether they touch you to demonstrate.  How is their pressure?  Do they have the type of office that would be pleasant for you?  Are there charts on the wall?  What do they mean?

If you have pain, why do they think you hurt?  What do they suggest?  What type of treatment do they think would help most?

Here's an article I wrote:

I have very strong preferences for my own massage treatment.  I don't want too light or too deep.  I want the practitioner to 'meet the muscles' but not destroy them.  I want a balanced massage, not 50 minutes on my back.  That just causes dysfunction when the back is relaxed but nothing else has been touched much.

I always interview someone new that I am considering.  Tell them your previous experience.  You don't want someone who tells you what you MUST have or do.  

I hope you give good honest feedback at the massage school.  It's the only way the students can learn.  You can tell them right when you are on the table and it's too deep or too light.  They will adjust and learn.

It's your massage.  YOU get to decide on the pressure, location, therapist, scents, music...everything!  :)  

The Italian woman may have had excellent training or be exceptionally talented.  Some schools are great, some aren't.  Some therapists are naturally and intuitively talented, some aren't.  Some techniques are more helpful, in my mind, than others.

I hope this helps you find great therapists.  Keep taking good care of yourself!



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Kathryn Merrow


I can respond to questions about migraines and headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, hand-wrist-arm pain, upper back pain, and other assorted and miscellaneous pain symptoms. I can also respond to general questions about massage and how to select a massage therapist.


I have been a massage therapist since 1992 specializing primarily in pain relief techniques. I utilize the St. John Method of Neuromuscular Massage Therapy (NMT) and other bodywork modalities. I'm The Pain Relief Coach online.

Professional Member of American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCTMB)


My initial training in massage was at Health Enrichment Center in Lapeer, Michigan. I have had advanced training or workshops with Kurashova Institute for Studies in Physical Medicine, St. John Neuromuscular Institute of Pain Relief, Center for Self-Healing and many others. I now share my education and experience as a Massage Instructor and Pain Relief Coach.

Awards and Honors
The highest honor I receive is when someone tells me that they finally understand why they had pain, that they took action and that their pain is either less or is totally gone.

Past/Present Clients
I have done well over 20,000 therapeutic massage sessions, primarily with clients with various types of pain or painful syndromes.

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