Are you in need of a ‘good’ massage?Massage has become one of the most popular treatments over the past few years and the need for a good massage is only increasing as more of our work and even some of our social activities are desk or computer based.When I first trained in massage therapy in the early 90’s, clients would normally visit the salon or spa for waxing, facials or for slimming treatments. Massage was one of the treatments which were considered as being a luxury or a special treat once in a blue moon.I must admit back then life was very different for people generally, many clients would have a secretary or assistant to type up work. For some, once you finished work that was it as there was no emails to check as not everyone had the internet. Very few people had laptops so sitting on the sofa or in bed whilst working was very minimal and finally ‘Googling’ and social networking was near non-existent.Coming in today things have changed. Many no longer have secretary’s so they have to deal with admin themselves, most work is done on the computer, some at desks and some in awkward positions whilst sitting on the sofa or lying in bed. Long gone are the days when once you left the office your work would be over, now we can be contacted on our mobiles or can check our emails at home if not on the way. Our working day still continues even after we’ve left the office or even before we’ve reached the office.There are a variety of massage based treatments are available in clinics, spa’s, salons and health clubs. We’ve even seen massage in clubs, shopping centres as well as massage therapists who come to the work place.With so many places offering massage, how do you know which is the best place to go and how can you tell if you are likely to get a good massage?1) Online ReviewsFirstly, online reviews are a great way of finding out about what people have to say about a particular business. Do bear in mind though, sometimes the reviews may be something negative about the establishment or one member of staff so you could potentially miss a great massage from another member of staff who hasn’t been reviewed. Also there is a saying which goes ‘a customer who has had a bad experience will tell five people but if they’ve had great experience they may not even tell a soul’. So sometimes you can’t always get a true indication whether you will get a ‘good’ massage treatment or not from a review.2) QualificationsA good massage therapist will have the following qualifications: NVQ level 3, HND Health & Beauty, ITEC, CIBTAC or CIDESCO, there maybe other recognised bodies too but check whether they have a qualification and not just a workshop certificate. Anatomy and physiology is a big part of the training as knowing the muscular system, skeletal system and their functions can make the difference in the quality of massage.3) LicenceBusinesses within many area’s especially London cannot operate without a valid massage license. In certain borough’s even the therapist needs to be licenced. The only way a therapist can get licenced is if they have the relevant qualification. Sometimes you can see the premises license displayed on the wall.4) Medical Questionnaire & ConsultationYour massage therapist should ask you to fill in a basic medical questionnaire to establish any medical conditions which may prevent you from having massage. For example any recent injuries or operations, wounds, infections etc. For certain conditions you can still have a massage but may need written permission from your Doctor that its OK to still have massage.If you are in your first trimester of pregnancy, its advisable not to have massage and a professional therapist will know this should they see it on your consultation form.Consultation time is also a great time to establish what your main concerns are or if there are any area’s you’d like your massage therapist to work most on. Its also a time to ensure you’ve been booked in for the correct type of massage for you, for example you may have been booked in for a ‘Swedish Massage’ but maybe wanting a ‘Deep Tissue’ massage.5) Your Massage TherapistSometimes the size or age of a massage therapist can be decieving. I’m 5 ft and only six and a half stone but i’m use to massaging bodybuilders so my pressure is very strong even though I look very small. Massage therapists develop their pressure by using a combination of strength as well as their own body weight to perform a good firm massage.Also i’ve trained a number of 18 year olds who are just as good as massage therapists who have years of experience. It depends on how passionate your therapist is about her job. If she enjoys massage and is passionate then you will most likely have a great treatment.6) The Massage TreatmentIts not uncommon for changing time to be included in your massage time so do make sure you try to settle onto your treatment bed as quickly as possible so you get more hands on time.Your massage therapist should check if you are warm enough and comfortable before they begin your massage. Many salons and spa’s have soft relaxing music playing in the background which really enhances the experience.You can often tell the difference between a really good massage therapist and one who is not as good. A really good massage therapist will be connected intuitively and will know the correct pressure to apply, they will also know which area’s need to be worked on the most without the need to stick to a robotic routine of just massage movements.7) AftercareYour therapist should give you the correct aftercare which includes drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated and help to flush away any toxins. Your massage therapist should also warn you that you may be a little sensitive the next day on the areas they have worked on.Massage has become more of a necessity rather than a luxury now for many people. Its become one of the most popular treatments in many spa’s and salons now. Its definitely a good investment for the physical and emotional benefits.