I have written about anxiety about getting your first massage before, but perhaps I didn’t answer the question with enough detail.
Here is my response:
Some tips for getting over your initial anxieties about meeting a massage therapist for the first time:
- Look at their website and determine if they seem knowledgeable about massage and have trained in different styles.
- Confirm they have a valid license in your state. In California, massage therapists are required to place their license number on any advertising they do. So, you can check that license number against the state’s licensing board. In CA, that’s the California Massage Therapy Council. Your state likely has their own regulating board. [In Missouri: The Missouri Division of Professional Registration]
- Remember that a licensed massage therapist is a professional healthcare worker, like a doctor, chiropractor, nurse, etc. We have professional ethics and training. I belong to two organizations that enforce strict ethical and professional standards: The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworkers (NCBTMB).
- Remember that we have seen and worked with all body types and personalities. We aren’t judging your looks or lifestyle. We got into massage, for the most part, because we have a desire to help people feel their best.
- Communicate your anxiety to the therapist. A good therapist will openly discuss any concerns you may have. However, a great one will keep you informed at every step of the way what body part they are about to touch and will discuss the goals of your treatment with you.
- Ask for references, or talk to your friends and family and get recommendations. It’s sometimes easier to relax around a new therapist when you know that someone you trust also trusts them.
Remember, there are specific techniques for massage therapists to treat anxiety disorders. Additionally, look for a therapist who provides a detailed description of how your first massage therapy session will be performed.