I always say, you usually get your best massages while at home (it’s a great way to start or end a vacation, getting a massage from your regular therapist) but sometimes you need one while on the road.
I was traveling recently and desperately in need of a good massage, so I took a chance and scheduled at a nice looking spa in downtown Denver. The spa asked if I minded scheduling with a male therapist and I said no. I had a few issues with the massage but the fact that the therapist was male was not one of them. What I should have asked is whether the therapist took regular continuing education.
The good news is that I got a massage that was 80% very good. But the 20% was painful and the therapist was surprisingly lacking in self confidence and people skills for someone who had been in the business for 20 years. During my massage teaching career, I received countless massage from students so I am not shy about giving specific, honest feedback during the massage. So I was able to get a lot of benefit from the massage, although I was not able to relax and zone out due to the need for regular feedback to the therapist.
What can you do as a consumer to get the best massage while traveling?
1) Look for online reviews, ask for personal recommendations from locals.
2) Ask for the therapist who takes continuing education. (most states require this, but not all)
3) Don’t be shy about giving specific feedback and what you like and don’t like, especially depth of pressure, amount of oil or cream, and quality of draping. If the therapist does not adjust according to your request, please tell them. Give them two chances to understand and adjust to your liking. If you are still not happy with the massage, tell them that you need to end the session.
The same holds true if you find the therapist talks through the whole session, especially if the conversation becomes overly personal. If you request a quiet session, 99% of therapists will be glad to comply. You should not pay for a session that is without value to you. If got an inedible meal at a restaurant, you would send it back. This is no different. It is disappointing and awkward, but not nearly as disappointing and awkward as laying there for an hour gritting your teeth!