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. 

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.

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.

What is a deep tissue full body massage?

A deep tissue full body massage is a form of healing bodywork. At your first massage, your massage therapist will do a brief intake. They will ask you questions about the type of pressure you’d like to receive during your deep tissue massage, any previous massage experience you’ve had, and any injuries or sensitivities you have. You can remain clothed, or the massage therapist will provide draping so that even if you’re not wearing clothes you are always fully covered. Deep tissue massage may be a good option for people with chronic pain or muscle tension. The systematic deep tissue strokes will work to break down any scar tissue or stiff tissues and create ease in your body again. Massage therapists use their hands, forearms, fists and knuckles to knead and stroke your muscles and loosen adhesions. Although deep tissue massage work is intense, it should not be painful, so communicate clearly with your massage therapist so they know if you’re having any discomfort. The national average cost of a deep tissue massage is between $70 and $90.

What is the purpose of a deep tissue massage?

There are many reasons to get a deep tissue massage. A deep tissue massage can release adhesions — also known as knots — that are causing painful tension in your muscles. Deep tissue massage can promote healing and ease discomfort related to illnesses such as cancer, chronic headaches, osteoarthritis of the knee, chronic neck or back pain, depression, and more, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. If you have an old sports injury such as shin splints, or a bad back from an old car accident, deep tissue massage can promote healing in your traumatized and scarred soft tissues and get you on the road to recovery. The strokes and techniques used in deep tissue massage work to lengthen soft tissue structures that have stiffened and hardened into knotty adhesions that allow minimal movement. Deep tissue massage can loosen these adhesions so that long-standing scar tissue releases and you can gain more mobility and more freedom from stiffness and pain. And it just feels good. The national average cost of a deep tissue massage is between $70 and $90.

What is the difference between a deep tissue massage and a Swedish massage?

Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage are both forms of therapeutic bodywork. In both modalities, a licensed massage therapist uses strokes administered with their hands or forearms to loosen and relax your muscles and other soft tissue. These releases can promote relaxation, pain relief and wellness.

Deep tissue massage may be an excellent therapeutic choice for people with chronic pain or severe tension in their muscles. The deep tissue massage technique moves below the top layer of muscle and soft tissue to release adhesions in your core muscles. In comparison, the strokes used in Swedish massage focus on loosening and relaxing the top layer of your soft tissues. Swedish massage produces relaxation and well-being, but if you have a long-term injury or back pain that won’t seem to go away, deep tissue massage may be a better option for you. The systematic deep tissue strokes will work to break down any scar tissue or stiff tissues and create ease in your body again.

Can you have massages while pregnant?

Not only can you have a massage while pregnant, multiple scientific studies published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services demonstrate that pregnancy massages provide physical and mental benefits to pregnant women and women in labor. Always ask your OB-GYN about receiving massages before starting any massage therapy to make sure it is safe for your own pregnancy. Pregnancy massage can alleviate pain, improve mental health and feel great. According to the DHHS, the benefits can include:  

  • Decreased depression.
  • Decreased anxiety.
  • Decreased leg and back pain.
  • Lower cortisol levels, which in turn lowers prematurity rates.
  • Lessened labor pain (for women who received massage during labor).
  • Labor time that is three hours shorter, on average, for women who receive massage during labor.
Reviews for Ashburn massage therapists
Reid R.
Great massage!
Erica Dietrich at Sacred Owl MassageErica Dietrich at Sacred Owl Massage
Don K.
great massage
Escape Massage & SpaEscape Massage & Spa
Allison C.
Great massage!
Relax & De-StressRelax & De-Stress
Michael G.
An absolutely excellent mix of massage modalities. Lomi, deep tissue, Swedish and Thai. Best massage I’ve had in Austin.
Kathleen K. Taylor, LMTKathleen K. Taylor, LMT
Chris M.
Very good massage!
KzHealsKzHeals
Aj S.
Very good massage.
BNL Massage & BodyworkBNL Massage & Bodywork
Soledad F.
Great massage and conversation!
Spa La LaSpa La La
Kimber S.
Massage was purchased as a gift, Emma was responsive maintained good communication in setting up appointment details. Client was very happy with Emma, reported great hand strength and massage technique- better than any other massage experience 🙌
Flow Shake IntegrateFlow Shake Integrate
Kessara D.
Kathleen is amazing. I originally booked her for my boyfriend’s birthday and he said is was the best massage, ever. We then booked a couple’s massage a couple weeks later and I must agree, it was the best massage ever. Professional and kind.
Kathleen K. Taylor, LMTKathleen K. Taylor, LMT
Aric J.
Great massage, convenient location.
Melissa J Wilt, LMTMelissa J Wilt, LMT
Doug G.
Good massage, very professional.
Melissa J Wilt, LMTMelissa J Wilt, LMT
Eric c.
Great massage. Highly recommended
Erica Dietrich at Sacred Owl MassageErica Dietrich at Sacred Owl Massage
Shawn O.
Good location with lots of natural light. Best massage I’ve ever had. Definitely the one to represent Austin at the massage world championships.
Flow Shake IntegrateFlow Shake Integrate
Colleen W.
Great massage, would recommend!
Kathleen K. Taylor, LMTKathleen K. Taylor, LMT
James L.
Very thorough massage with adequate strength.
Therapeutic Touch by JanitaTherapeutic Touch by Janita
Eileen S.
Very nice massage, very relaxing!
It's All About You! Reiki MassageIt's All About You! Reiki Massage
Anju P.
Gregory was amazing. We had 7 girls from our bachelorette group who wanted a massage. He was able to come to our Airbnb and give each of us a massage. All the girls thought the massage was great and left relaxed. I highly recommend Gregory!
Colliers Fitness XpressColliers Fitness Xpress
Bill K.
Great massage for my wife and I.
Therapeutic Touch by JanitaTherapeutic Touch by Janita
Aaron L.
Best massage I've ever had
Spa La LaSpa La La
Jason P.
Kathleen delivered a great massage and was professional
Kathleen K. Taylor, LMTKathleen K. Taylor, LMT
Erik B.
Naomi was great! On time and a great massage!
Naomi_MiyamotoNaomi_Miyamoto
Courtney C.
I’m a physical therapist and tend to be critical of massages….but this was by far one of the best massages I’ve ever had. Would 100% recommend her to anyone needing body work.
Kathleen K. Taylor, LMTKathleen K. Taylor, LMT
Al W.
Very good massage. I thoroughly enjoyed it
Bliss Therapeutics Massage StudioBliss Therapeutics Massage Studio
Allan D.
Suzanna is the best massage I ever had!!
Escape Massage & SpaEscape Massage & Spa
Meagan G.
Jessi is very professional and her massage was great!
Jessi Hudson, LMTJessi Hudson, LMT
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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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