Massage Therapy

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a massage therapist during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Ask your massage therapist if they offer consultations over a video chat or phone call. If they do, ask them any questions you have about the upcoming appointment. For example, ask what precautions they're taking to keep both parties safe due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You might also want to ask if they offer gift cards that can be used at a later time, remote services or even virtual lessons for you or members in your household.

Also, ask how they plan to handle payments, and whether you can pay through an online or digital method instead of with physical cash or credit cards. 

Are there ways to be safe if I hire a massage therapist when social distancing?

Because massage therapy requires person-to-person contact, social distancing is not possible. However, you can ask massage therapists near you if they can offer remote services instead, such as lessons for you and your partner.

If you don’t want to book an appointment with a massage therapist right now, but you will in the future when the pandemic subsides, consider paying your massage therapist in advance or tipping them anyway. You can also ask about buying a gift card for future work. 

Can I use digital payments to pay for a massage?

Many massage therapists accept digital payments through Venmo, Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Zelle and other online platforms. Even businesses that do not typically accept digital payments may be changing their methods to practice social distancing. Just check with your massage therapist before the appointment to see how they handle payments.  

Do massage therapists offer remote or virtual services?

Ask massage therapists near you about the possibility of remote services. You might come across profiles that state the therapist is offering remote services such as lessons and techniques you can do on your own, with a friend or with a partner.

Does a massage therapist need to enter my home?

Many massage therapists operate their businesses out of their own homes, though some offer mobile massages and come to your home. You should ask the massage therapist where they typically operate and if they are making any special accommodations to better observe the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing

If you must cancel or delay your massage therapy appointment due to COVID-19, consider asking the therapist if they can offer massage techniques or lessons via video chat, email or some other digital format. You can also ask if it's possible to buy gift cards that can be used at a later time.

How can I find out if a massage therapist is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

The definition of an essential COVID-19 service provider varies from state to state and city to city. To see which businesses are considered essential in your area, visit the official government website of your state or city.

You can also read CISA’s publication on identifying critical workers to find out more information on a national level. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.

Do deep tissue massages work?

Deep tissue massage not only feels fabulous, it can provide results. The massage technique targets deeper layers of muscle and your connective tissue. For its ability to stimulate those deeper muscles, deep tissue massage is commonly used during recuperation from sports-related and other injuries, according to the Mayo Clinic. Deep tissue massage has been proved to reduce high blood pressure and a range of other ailments. Deep tissue and other types of massage are frequently used for relieving stress, managing pain, breaking down scar tissue, relieving muscle tension and improving health. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health cites the following as health conditions for which that deep tissue massage can provide relief:

  • Chronic low back pain, chronic neck pain, and osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Labor pains
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Fibromyalgia pain and fatigue
  • Headaches

The proper deep tissue massage may also benefit preterm infant health. Cancer patients may experience reduced pain, increased relaxation, and improved mood.

What is a traditional Thai massage?

Traditional Thai massage is a different experience if you’ve only ever had a Swedish or deep tissue massage. In Thai massage, you wear loose-fitting clothing (often provided by the massage therapist) and start by lying on a mat. Throughout the massage, the therapist moves your body into various seated and prone positions, which stretch and release your muscles and soft tissue. Although your body is moving, the therapist is doing all the work, making it feel similar to supported yoga. The massage therapist will bend, stretch, and compress and lengthen your body using their hands, forearms, elbows and even feet. Don’t be alarmed by the feet! Many studios have overhead supports that allow the practitioners to safely walk on your back, releasing tight adhesions and promoting ease. Thai massage can be both invigorating and relaxing. It is an excellent option for keeping your muscles in good health if you regularly work out, or if you want to overcome a lack of flexibility. Studies show that Thai massage can increase blood circulation, improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension and enhance mental well-being.

What are the different Swedish massage techniques?

There are five main techniques in Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Within each category there are various movements, all intended to ease muscle tension and pain. Each movement has a specific purpose for loosening, warming, soothing or stimulating your muscles during your massage. Here is a breakdown of each of the five Swedish massage techniques:

  • Effleurage: Sweeping, gliding, smooth long strokes done with the hands or forearms. These strokes can loosen and warm the body and are said to help stimulate blood flow.
  • Friction: These circular or transverse rubbing strokes are also warming and can get deeper into the muscle tissue. They should be avoided on injured or inflamed areas or areas.
  • Petrissage: Lifting, kneading, skin rolling, muscle rolling and wringing. These movements help with circulation, which stimulates cell regeneration, and aid in loosening tense muscles.
  • Tapotement: Tapping, plucking, cupping and pounding. Tapotement movements can help improve blood circulation and cell rejuvenation, and also relax and release tight muscles.  
  • Vibration: Rocking, shaking and trembling movements. These motions can help muscles release.

How much are pregnancy massages?

Prenatal massages can be a safe and therapeutic way to alleviate the aches and pains of pregnancy. A prenatal massage can promote a sense of relaxation and well-being for expectant mothers. The national average cost for a pregnancy massage ranges between $70 and $90. The cost of a pregnancy massage will vary depending on where you live, the length of the massage, and the massage therapist. Typically, the longer a massage, the higher the cost. Some massage therapists charge the same rate per minute, regardless of massage length, while others charge less per minute for longer appointments. Here are two examples of average prenatal massage costs:

  • Therapist A: Offers a 30-minute massage for $45, 45 minutes for $60, 60 minutes for $75, 75 minutes for $90 and 90 minutes for $105.
  • Therapist B: offers a 30-minute massage for $45, a 60-minute massage for $85, a 90-minute massage for $115 and a 120-minute massage for $145.
Reviews for Central massage therapists
Purva p.
She massaged me and it was very relaxing. I definitely recommend her for massage.
Ines MandalaInes Mandala
Dhananjay S.
TK is an excellent massage therapist. I did 1.5 hr Thai massage, the massage was so relaxing that I completely lost track of time. The best stress relief therapy. I would recommend TK for massage and would definitely visit him again.
Massage By T-KayMassage By T-Kay
Edin A.
Great and very professional massage.
Massage therapy by GiseleMassage therapy by Gisele
Kristen K.
Wonderful massage therapist! Extremely professional, accommodating, with perfect pressure points. Felt relaxed, calm and centered after the massage. Highly recommend. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Daily Relax BodyworkDaily Relax Bodywork
Ali H.
My husband and I both received full body massages from Lawrence. Both of our massages were truly excellent. Lawrence's rates were also very reasonable. Lawrence took covid precautions seriously- he brought a table, gave us massages in our backyard, and wore a mask. We are planning on many more massages from Lawrence in the future!
Daily Relax BodyworkDaily Relax Bodywork
Francois B.
Great massage therapist, very attentive and professional.
Restore Massage + WellnessRestore Massage + Wellness
Ruchi B.
I have been working with Jasmine over 2-3 weeks for a weekly pre-natal massage. She is great at communicating arrival, her requests as well checking in during the massage. I have enjoyed her massages and had her coming back to relieve me of the aches & pains that come with pregnancy and a house move!
Jasmine cosmeticJasmine cosmetic
Libby S.
Exactly what I needed! I got a 90 min Swedish massage with Edwin- he was right on time, made me feel comfortable and relaxed, and gave a fantastic massage. Would 100% recommend!
Edwin Cacdac , CMTEdwin Cacdac , CMT
Purva p.
He did massage for me plus 3 of my friends back to back. It was really great experience. He applied proper amount of pressure. I really liked him. Definitely recommended for massage for men or women.
Sal R.
very professional and exceptional work had not had a massage of these in many years. Gracias Karalyn
Embodhi AttunementEmbodhi Attunement
Chalise G.
One of the best massages I’ve ever had! I have tried many massage modalities, but this combined some approaches that I’ve never experienced and it was absolutely wonderful. If you have any persistent knots or tightness, Karalyn will find it. Your body will thank you.
Embodhi AttunementEmbodhi Attunement
Julie H.
We so appreciate Rhodel coming to give me and my husband massages! After two months sheltering in place, we sure missed massages. Rhodel had gotten a COVID test, wore a mask the whole time and used gloves. Felt very taken care of! We greatly recommend him and look forward to more visits!
Rhodel Rosales CMTRhodel Rosales CMT
Mary N.
Best massage I’ve had in a long time! Very professional and made the trek to my house. Definitely going to work with them again!
Art of MassageArt of Massage
Laure t.
Embodi was amazing and quick to respond. We had a company event where the entire team got a massage. She did not mind the challenge and planned it very well. The team was so happy and enjoyed the massage. She communicated very well prior to the event, arrived on time and let us know when she was done. Will definitely use her in the future. Thank you
Embodhi AttunementEmbodhi Attunement
Alena G.
I would definitely recommend! Therapist came on short notice and gave an excellent massage! I am looking forward to my next one! Thank you!!
Daily Relax BodyworkDaily Relax Bodywork
Joseph A.
Ni was fabulous, She knows how to read your body, the pressure was perfect, and the stretching was great. I will definitely have Ni return for future and on going massages..🤗
Livin'Touch MassageLivin'Touch Massage
Katie H.
Joanne was wonderful! I schedule an in home massage and see made it very relaxing! She worked with my disability and I felt great afterwards! I wo
528 Samadhi Healing Light528 Samadhi Healing Light
Ni delivered an excellent massage as promised. I had many knots and sore spots that she relieved. Her works is 5 stars and I highly recommend her!
Livin'Touch MassageLivin'Touch Massage
Kristen K.
Glen is a fantastic massage therapist. He took the time to understand specific pain points and was able to address the issue(s) effortlessly. Due to his knowledge in the medical field, I felt confident in his ability to assess my pain. Felt immediate and long term improvement. Highly recommend.
Glenn Gangano, RN, BScN, CMTGlenn Gangano, RN, BScN, CMT
Margaret M.
I had a great home prenatal massage with Lawrence! I feel brand new and my body feels lighter. Lawrence was responsive to areas of tension, did not rush through the process. I felt like he was not just working but cared that his client felt relief from the session.
Daily Relax BodyworkDaily Relax Bodywork
Gris C.
This was one of the most helpful massages I've gotten in my life, and before th e pandemic I used to get one every other week. I contacted Glen because I had a pain so sharp that it didn't let me sleep well. He explained to me how he would work on my troubled area and always checked on how his technique was helping me. By the end of the 90min sessjon, my troubled zone was way better, I went from not being able to move to freedom, I could move around and the pain was way less. I was impressed with his service, prefesionalissm and most importantly his qualifications and how he applies his onowledge.
Glenn Gangano, RN, BScN, CMTGlenn Gangano, RN, BScN, CMT
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Everything you need to know about massage therapy.

Massages can help you feel better mentally and physically. When searching for a massage spa or massage therapist, be sure to let them know what you expect from the experience. They may be able to recommend certain types of massage, such as:

Common types of massages

  • Swedish massage: This full-body massage is best for those who struggle with tension, want to manage pain, are new to massage and are sensitive to touch. A Swedish massage is typically 60 - 90 minutes long. 
  • Hot stone massage: A massage therapist places warm stones in certain areas of the body to improve blood flow, encourage relaxation and ease tension. 
  • Aromatherapy massage: The massage therapist may diffuse essential oils into the room with a mister or use oils in their massage lotion. Aromatherapy can help boost your mood and reduce anxiety. 
  • Deep tissue massage: With this type of massage, the practitioner uses more pressure than with other massage types. A deep tissue massage may be more intense than other types of massage, but it should not be painful. 
  • Sports massage: People with repetitive motion injuries may benefit from a sports massage. This type of massage can relieve pain and muscle tension while helping the body heal. 
  • Reflexology: Using gentle pressure on points in the feet, legs and hands, a reflexology specialist focuses on “reflex” points to help clients relax. 
  • Shiatsu massage: Using rhythmic or pulsing motions, the practitioner helps release tension in certain parts of the body with their thumbs, hands and palms. 

Where can you get a massage?

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a massage in your home, at a spa or at a mobile massage business. Many massage therapists travel to their clients' homes or offices. 

Important things to know about getting a massage.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing for your massage:

  • Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing to your appointment. 
  • Arrive 15 minutes early if it's your first massage appointment with a provider so you have time to fill out paperwork and ask questions. Your massage should start on time; it's important that you’re ready so you can get the most out of your treatment. 
  • Stay hydrated before and after your massage, but don't overdo it.

You should also ask your massage therapist what steps you should take to prepare for your appointment.

How much does massage therapy cost?

The amount of money you'll pay for a massage depends on your location and the type and length of your treatment. Typically, hourly rates range anywhere from $65-$145.

To find out how much it may cost you to get a massage, get price quotes from several therapists near you. 

Benefits of getting a massage.

Regular massages can relieve stress, reduce pain and help you relax. Everyone's experience and results are different, of course. For some, massage provides emotional support and healing by reducing anxiety and helping you sleep better.

How to choose the best massage therapist or spa.

When searching for a massage therapist, look at reviews left by customers. Read the professionals’ online profiles to find out if they specialize in the treatment you’re seeking. You should also get estimates from a few massage therapists to ensure you’re paying a fair price for massage services.

Whether you want to relax your muscles or relieve stress, a professional can help you reach your goals. Start searching for massage therapists near you today.

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