1. Find a specialist.
Why are you seeking massage? To feel relaxed, to work out 'kinks' in your body, to move stagnant lymphatic fluid?
There are many specialists within the massage world, like prenatal, sports injury, abdominal and oncology therapists to name a few. The variance between massage practitioners and their proficiency levels can be quite staggering. Therapists that specialize are likely to have extensive extra curricular education and a drive to be increasingly proficient in their modality.
2. Find a therapist in private practice.
Wonderful and skill full therapists are happily employed at spas and clinics, however as a generalization, the most competent and passionate therapists are the ones who venture out to build their private practices. On line reviews of individuals are more consistent than reviews of massage establishments, where high employee turn over rates is often the norm.
3. Speak Up!
Unfortunately it is way too common of an experience for people to be unhappy while on the massage table receiving their massage. From grinding their teeth to holding their breath, they are waiting for the discomfort to stop. A good therapist should get verbal consent initially regarding their treatment plan and intermittently throughout the session regarding satisfaction levels. I feel it is important to let our therapists know immediately if we would like an adjustment to pressure, technique and or position for example. A good therapist will be grateful for your feedback because they want you to be happy first. You have paid for the session and deserve the caring attention for the entirety of it.
4. Book your massage ahead of time.
Even as a therapist, I'm guilty of waiting until it is too late and trying to book a massage last minute. If we wait until we are in pain to schedule ourselves a session, we may compromise our options and higher standards just for immediacy. There are reasons why good therapists are booked out in advance. Try calling ahead to talk to your therapist on phone, its a useful way to gauge their receptivity and proficiency.