Bloomington / Normal, IL

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How To Select a Massage Therapist


By Don Thorpe, LMT, Aches Away Massage Specialists

Massage therapy can be an extremely beneficial part of any health and wellness plan. While many people think that the primary benefit of massage therapy is to help you relax, it can do so much more. The key is finding the right massage therapist to meet your needs.

The first step is to articulate what goals you are trying to accomplish from a massage. In my 20 years of practice, here are some of the more common reasons I’ve seen for people to seek massages:

  • stress and anxiety reduction
  • chronic/acute pain that is a result of soft tissue (muscle, tendon ligaments)
  • relaxation and improved sleep
  • recovery from strenuous activity:  sports, gardening, yard work, etc.
  • enhancing your general health and wellbeing (simply feeling better when you leave than when you came in)

Individuals need to figure out what works for their body. I continue to be amazed at how different each person perceives the touch from massage. One person’s nervous system will relax as a result of firm pressure on muscles through deep tissue massage. Others crave a soothing light touch to let go of the tension they are holding. It may take a few massages, listening to your body, and communication with the massage therapist to figure out exactly what works for each individual.

Once you know your goals and have an idea of what works for you, start by asking friends, family, and health care professionals for recommendations. However, remember everyone has a different idea of what makes a “good massage.” Make sure to ask second level questions:  What type of massage do you get? What do you like about the massage therapist? What benefits have you seen?

Be sure that any therapist you are considering is licensed to practice in Illinois. Be aware that it takes ongoing education to keep that license. Some may do the bare minimum while others get additional certifications like Neuromuscular Therapy. The AMTA and ABMP are two very reputable associations that list therapists and bios along with businesses themselves.

When you find a therapist that seems to be a good fit, call and ask some questions. Tell them your goals and ask if they have experience in helping others with the same goals. You may also want to ask: How long of a session they would suggest? Do they feel like they would be a good fit for your situation and how would they approach it?

A therapist should be open, honest, and very transparent about their skills and ability to help. Successful therapists go to school and get licensed to help people. They don’t want to get into a situation where they are unable to help or uncomfortable trying to provide a specific type of work they are not trained to apply. Questions should be embraced and the conversation should lead to positive outcome for clients and therapists.

For those that want massage treatment, but are not comfortable receiving a hands-on massage from a therapist—whether due to COVID safety concerns or some other reason—there is a new technology called Migun Therapy. This FDA cleared class II medical device represents the fusion of acupressure, acupuncture, heat-therapy, chiropractic, and massage and is designed to treat many different kinds of pain as well as help with relaxation and stress reduction. And it’s completely contact-free! Many people use the Migun table along with a traditional massage.

It’s important to know what options are available when considering safe, natural methods to improve your health.

For more information, contact Aches Away at 309-662-2900 or online at Aches Away is locally owned by Don Thorpe and has been serving the community since 2001. Aches Away also provides float therapy and infrared sauna as well as traditional massage therapy. Their office is located at 3807 General Electric Road in Bloomington.