Seeing a massage therapist might feel a little overwhelming, especially if you’re in pain or feeling anxious. But never fear! Whether you are a new client or a seasoned massage enthusiast, we have an exhaustive list of questions to ask a massage therapist before, during, and after treatment.
Keep in mind that the goal for any client-therapist relationship is open and honest communication. Massage therapists abide by HIPAA guidelines just like other healthcare providers, so you don’t have to worry about what’s said or revealed about your medical history before or after you’re on the table. It is always best to ask questions and answer the ones you’re asked to the best of your ability, as it could affect the services your massage therapist recommends or performs.
Find a new massage therapist who offers the techniques you’d like to try (sports massage, pregnancy massage, hot stone massage, Reiki, etc.) and read their reviews. If ever you feel uncomfortable at an appointment or unsure about a practitioner, it’s simply not the right fit. Be kind but firm, and always act in your best interest.
Now, onward to the questions to ask your massage therapist!
FOR WHEN YOU’RE NEW
This list of questions can apply to those who are new to massage, a specific modality, or just new to a practitioner. The first thing that you want to do is to establish a baseline.
You can expect your intake form(s) and your massage therapist to ask YOU about: 1. Previous injuries 2. Current health issue(s) you’re facing 3. Medications you’re taking
If you’re new to the massage practice, you may want to ask: 4. How long have you been a massage therapist? 5. Are you licensed? Where did you get your degree? 6. What is your specialty? 7. Do you think you can help me with this [condition]? 8. How do you prefer I communicate throughout the massage? 9. Where can I find patient testimonials or reviews?
If you’re new to massage in general, you may want to ask: 10. What should I wear? 11. Is there anything I should know before I arrive? 12. What can I expect my first session to be like? 13. What should I do after my massage? 14. Do you have a shower on-site? 15. What paperwork will I need to fill out? 16. Is there a condition or medication that makes me not a good candidate for this service? 17. Should I arrive early? 18. Is it OK if I fall asleep or prefer not to talk?
FOR YOUR ONGOING SERVICE
Though the emphasis of massage therapist questions are often at the beginning of a client’s and therapist’s relationship, we cannot overestimate the importance of ongoing, clear communication. You can expect a great massage therapist to consistently inquire about your range of motion, pain level, sensitive or tense areas, lifestyle changes and/or your priorities. Therefore, we recommend that you ask questions like these no matter how often you visit your practitioner:
19. Are you noticing changes in my gait/muscles and tissues? 20. How long do you anticipate it will take to recover from this injury? 21. What can I be doing outside of this room to improve mobility/range of motion? 22. I am taking a new medication. Will this interfere with my treatment? 23. I am pregnant or planning to become pregnant. How will this impact my treatment? 24. I have a recent injury. What other ways can I support recovery? 25. What are your recommendations for this [condition/issue]? 26. I’ve thought about trying this [new service/modality]. Would you recommend it for me? 27. I have been suffering from increased stress. Is there anything you recommend?
And finally, this is the question all massage therapists want to hear:
28. I have thoroughly enjoyed treatment. How can I review or recommend you?
Phew! That was a lot of questions and territory to cover. But we would be remiss if we did not also mention a few questions that you should avoid asking your massage therapist. Please keep these in mind when making conversation unless your therapist has indicated that one of these topics is okay to discuss.
1. Avoid personal questions.
Your massage therapist is a professional and does not likely want to reveal or converse about his or her lifestyle with a client.
2. Listen to boundaries.
If your massage therapist has indicated that they do not make outcalls, for example, do not ask them to do so. Additionally, only reach out during business hours. Due to the on-demand nature of communications with texting and social media, it is easy to overlook but your attention here will be much appreciated. If they offer online booking, try using their website to schedule your appointments instead of calling or texting.
3. Inquire about discounts or promotion details prior to service. Do not wait until after the service to discuss payment, gift certificates, or discounts. Ask your questions beforehand so that everyone is on the same page.
This list of questions to ask your massage therapist is extensive and we are not expecting that most clients will ask these within their first or second visits. However, our hope is that you foster a relationship with your massage therapist that lasts for years. With longevity come changes to your lifestyle and specific needs, which is why we encourage you to keep the conversation flowing—even if you’re not chatty during your session.
Keep in mind that the best questions are ones that will empower or educate you. Your massage therapist can be a wealth of wellness information and allow you to feel healing results even after you leave the table. However, avoid asking questions if you do not really value the answer. This will only upset the balance and restorative nature of massage therapy.