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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. 

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.

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.  

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 Ashburn massage therapists
Deon Y.
Great massage all around!
Sonya Toole LMTSonya Toole LMT
Ashish K.
Great work all throughout! Happy with the massage my wife received!
Trillium MassageTrillium Massage
Jester W.
Great massage. Very informative on wellness for body and health. Thank you again.
MassageArts of GeorgetownMassageArts of Georgetown
Mitchell R.
One of the best massages I’ve ever received - talented hands (strong & smooth) I squeezed another client last minute and London made it work. Can’t recommend enough
Black Ivy WellnessBlack Ivy Wellness
David R.
She is the total professional. Knows how to make me relax and remove stresses. Highly recommend her massage therapy services. Modifies and adapts as the session progresses based on needs. Thank you
Sonya Toole LMTSonya Toole LMT
Melissa N.
Amazing!!!! This is the best I’ve felt in months (possibly years lol). My family moved in a December and I’ve felt what I thought was sciatica pain but my sciatica roller wasn’t helping like it usually does. Not only did I receive an amazing massage but she focused on the exact spot the pain was originating and suggested piriformis stretches. I slept amazing that night and have since been able to do stretches I googled which make a HUGE difference. Now I am not caring for two toddlers in pain. Thank you thank you thank you for an unbelievable massage and support!
Trillium MassageTrillium Massage
Rob P.
Wow, what an experience. I recently booked a session with Sonya for my wife, who was recovering from an illness and was experiencing moderate, routine soreness and fatigue. After 75 minutes with Sonya, it’s was as if my wife began to return to herself more quickly; it may seem dramatic to share this, but it's genuinely the best way to illustrate the results. A few hours after her massage, my wife, who has enjoyed any number of massages throughout her life and many in some exceptional resorts, shared that her experience with Sonya was one of the very best massages she ever experienced, period, bar none. Moreover, my wife added that she felt quite comfortable through the experience. Most of all, she said felt truly cared for in the manner that Sonya both asked, listened, and ultimately focused on her areas of pain and general concern. Shifting to my experience as the humble coordinator and gift-giver, in my opinion, Sonya was remarkable. Her relaxed, honest, open communication style was appreciated, her follow-up was remarkably prompt, all replies exhibited a sense of true caring, and, well, I imagine there's no better way to express it other than share that she was attentive to my situation and desires (e.g., I explained a bit about the illness and my hope for the massage). Sonya was just perfect through the whole process. Sonya is a true professional. I may not know a great deal about massage therapy or therapists, for that matter, yet, I cannot imagine any being above the caliber that my wife and I experienced working with Sonya. She put me at ease in the process, and she assuredly did the same for my wife, and it really made a difference. Upon reflection, as I close on this review and reading through it, I find myself thinking, "All of this, and she is available at a time and venue that is most convenient for her clients...does it actually get any better?" Sonya is an outstanding find; I fully anticipate working with her for a very long time as my wife continues to improve/heal. I cannot imagine seeking an alternative therapist following our experience. Absolutely highly recommended!
Sonya Toole LMTSonya Toole LMT
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