It all starts with intention. With thousands of modalities and hundreds of thousands of practitioners tweaking their technique, it is best to be direct when booking a treatment. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you begin looking for a practitioner.
1) Are you looking for therapeutic bodywork or for relaxation? If you are in pain, then you definitely should look for a therapist confident in their ability to provide a skillful application of soft tissue manipulation. If stress release is your goal, the relationship with the therapist is just as important as their training. If they have any content or testimonials online, give them a look over. If someone resonates, that's a good sign they may be able to hold a safe healing space for you.
2) What is a modality and why should I ask my therapist theirs? A modality is a specialized massage technique, also used by many other practice to define specialization. I like to define my practice in two categories: therapeutic and restorative. Commonly known as deep tissue, therapeutic techniques address adhesions in the soft tissue from origin to insertion. Restorative, generally called swedish in spas, are techniques that address the circulation of systems of the body: circulatory, respiratory, lymphatic, and even the energy body. In an abundance of impassioned therapists dedicated to honing their craft, don't stop short at "swedish or deep tissue."
3) Do products matter? YES! Oh my oils, yes. The skin is the largest organ of the body. It drinks in everything that touches your skin. You should definitely be mindful when picking out home care products and you should certainly make sure your therapist is even more mindful. Ask them what product line they use, and if they are not partnered then make sure they at least have a raw plant based alternative. Many spas or sole practitioners will use brands that are more cost effective that may make for cheaper session, but the cost is the health of your skin. I am partnered with Epicuren.
4) "May I see the enhancement menu?" Many massage establishments carry an additional line of enhancements for a small up-charge. This is a great way to get a little more umph out of your time block. Some services don't take much time, like sheet or eye masks, but some will take longer so be sure to keep that in mind when booking. If concerned, just ask. It may even be possible to just add on an additional 30 minutes to include all your pampering goals. Some enhancement products may even be available to take home so don't hesitate to ask your therapist to write down or email a home care protocol.
5) What session length is right for me, and what time of day is best to book? You may be able to get away with a 60 minute session for restorative techniques, but if you are looking for therapeutic work or to add enhancements then I would recommend a minimum of 90 minutes. If you are booking a relaxing massage then the best time is as close to sleep as possible, with a light meal about an hour beforehand. For therapeutic relief, you can get more benefit if you work out, sweat in a sauna, or take a salt bath before your session. Triple bonus if you do all three. When in doubt, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or dm me on instagram.