Let's be honest the variety of skill in the industry is enormous and just because you are paying good money it does not necessary mean that you are going to get a fantastic treatment, but how to choose?
I have clients often arriving at my massage clinic in Geneva very nervous at their first appointment and I lost count of the horror massage stories that i have heard through the years.
Just to give you an idea these are my top 3
1) A lovely client once told me that she had not had the courage of having a massage for over 10 years since she was in Thailand and her therapist told her at the end of the session "you are a big fat lady so you have to pay me double because you are so big"!
2) Another client getting a massage in spa in a shopping center and her therapist put so much pressure on her lower back that after she couldn't walk for 2 weeks.
3) Many people complain of getting massages that are very superficial with no muscular benefits whatsoever more than a sense of light relaxation.
First of all when you are looking to find your massage therapist identify your goal for the treatment this will instantly narrow down your search.
If you are looking for a luxury experience you can probably safely choose one of the top spa in your town, of course check the reviews and be aware that you probably will be massage by a beauty therapist. Part of a beauty therapist course involves some massage modules and they do relaxation massages.
Check qualifications If however you are approaching massage with health in your mind the first thing to do is to check the level of training. Qualifications don't guarantee great treatment but a therapist that has studied 1500 hours of massage has a different level of knowledge than one that has studied 50 or 100 hours.
Look for a therapist with a skill set that matches your needs for example if you want a sports massage find someone that promotes and loves doing that.
It is completely OK to ask your therapist what training they have done or check their website first and then ask any questions that are left unanswered.
Location is also a key element not only the actual convenience of a therapist that is close to your home or work will guarantee more consistency in you health plan as you less likely to make excuses and make it a number one priority. Also a location where you feel comfortable, there is many differences in clinics some have only curtains in between cubicles, some are loud, some very quiet, old, new you get my drift have a look at the website and you will get an idea.
Ask your family and friends or read reviews Everyone has different needs and experiences but ultimately you can find patterns in the feedback left by others. If a place is sloppy usually the web will catch up to it, and if your friend recommends someone that has helped them greatly it's a good place to start.
Connection Some of my clients love to have a chat other just prefer to doze off but ultimately is important to feel at ease with the person massaging you, for this reason keep in consideration your preferences as for example if you prefer a male or female therapist, language can be another barrier to consider as well as personality clash. If your therapist is into music with dolphins and whales and that drives your crazy you either say something or you are not going to relax therefore counteracting the initial goals to start with.
Try It is never going to be 100% risk free but the only way to find out is to give it a go, and once your found your massage therapist stick to the same person. As a therapist you get to know your clients body and all the aches and pains, injuries and patterns and it makes working together more effective and pleasurable.