A massage is the perfect way to relax after a hard day, and it can also enhance your health. A massage can reduce stress, relieve pain, help manage depression and anxiety, and even help you control your blood pressure. Choose the wrong therapist, however, and you won’t get those health benefits. You might end up more stressed-out, injured, or sick. Here are five warning signs of a bad massage therapist to watch out for.
Warning Sign 1: Telephone Rudeness
Even in the age of tablet computers and smart-phones, an old-fashioned telephone call is often the first point of contact between a massage therapist and her potential customers. As in all business (or, in fact, all of life), it isn’t a good idea to alienate people trying to give you money. Be wary of any therapist who allows the phone to ring off the hook, places calls on hold with no warning, whose phone system keeps you pressing buttons trying to get to a person, or is just generally rude.
Warning Sign 2: Disorganization
Disorganization is another warning sign to watch out for. Massage therapy requires attention to detail. A good therapist needs to keep accurate records, remember client preferences, and be on time for appointments. Initial warning signs of disorganization include failure to return calls in a timely manner, a cluttered office, and difficulty remembering names. If you aren’t sure, check the date on any magazines you find in the waiting area. Out-of-date magazines can be a subtle – but telling – indicator of sloppy business practices.
Warning Sign 3: No Questions about Injuries or Health Conditions
Though massage therapy carries little risk, a good therapist needs to know about any health conditions that may affect your treatment. If, for example, you suffer from back problems, skin problems, or have any allergies to compounds that may be found in massage oils, your therapist needs to know. Be wary if you aren’t asked to fill out a medical history form. Improperly done massage can exacerbate existing problems or even create new ones.
Warning Sign 4: The Office (or the Therapist) Isn’t Clean
High-traffic areas such as medical offices, especially ones where treatment is provided to clients in a state of semi-undress, are breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi. To guard against this, a good massage therapist should keep the office spotlessly clean. All linens and towels should be washed with hot water and an antibacterial agent after each use, there should be no visible dirt on any surfaces, and the therapist should thoroughly wash her hands before starting your treatment. Anything less can make you sick.
Warning Sign 5: Missing Credentials
Most areas have some legal requirements a massage therapist must meet before being licensed, certified, or otherwise allowed to practice. Find out what those requirements are. Be assertive about asking prospective therapists about their qualifications. A good therapist will be happy to answer such questions and happy to provide proof of credentials. If the information you want isn’t forthcoming, it’s a good idea to keep looking for a therapist.
Keep these warning signs in mind and you’ll be well on the way to enjoying the health benefits of massage, without the risk.