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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.

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
  • HIV/AIDS

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
Richard P.
Relaxing massage, and the stretches she added to my massage were very beneficial.
Heart Flow Intuitive Healing- Spiritual CounselingHeart Flow Intuitive Healing- Spiritual Counseling
Rachel W.
I was on a layover and needed this massage. The massage was better than the massages I’ve received at high end day spas back at home. Thank you so much!
Celma PereiraCelma Pereira
Irene W.
Loved my massage & how attentive mike was. Will be getting many many more massages. Thanks again!
Mike's Mobile MassageMike's Mobile Massage
Herman H.
Excellent massage
Mobile Massage by Eric BonhamMobile Massage by Eric Bonham
Lauren C.
Great massage!
Mobile Massage by Eric BonhamMobile Massage by Eric Bonham
Jedidiah M.
Great massage!
Relax In-Home Massage, LLCRelax In-Home Massage, LLC
James R.
Outstanding massage.
Kaitlyn Hart Massage TherapyKaitlyn Hart Massage Therapy
Eric b.
Great massage
Alyssa Madlom MassageAlyssa Madlom Massage
Sean N.
Excellent massage
Jennifer Slivinski LMTJennifer Slivinski LMT
Patrick S.
Skilled massage
Mobile Massage by Eric BonhamMobile Massage by Eric Bonham
Victor V.
Great massage
BlossOm Bodywork -Emily Grant, L.M.TBlossOm Bodywork -Emily Grant, L.M.T
Darrin t.
Fantastic massage!
Alyssa Madlom MassageAlyssa Madlom Massage
Victor V.
Great massage
Omni Massage and WellnessOmni Massage and Wellness
Steve M.
wonderful massage!
A Touch of HeavenA Touch of Heaven
Minh C.
Great massage
Chelsea LaFond, Limb by Limb TherapeuticsChelsea LaFond, Limb by Limb Therapeutics
Bryan H.
The massage was great! Pressure was just right and consistent the entire time. The entire massage was fluid. Studio was clean and inviting. If you’re looking for a professional massage therapist then Keith is your guy! Thank you!
Mobile massage by KeithMobile massage by Keith
James M.
I liked the quality of the massage. He was friendly and thoughtful. He massaged my glutes through the sheets. It was not a good massage of my glutes. It seems he is over sexualizing a part of the human anatomy.
Marshall Massage LLCMarshall Massage LLC
Beatris D.
Excellent massage!
Omni Massage and WellnessOmni Massage and Wellness
Porshua D.
Excellent massage.
Mobile Massage by Eric BonhamMobile Massage by Eric Bonham
Robert S.
Great massage!
European Sports MassageEuropean Sports Massage
Christina D.
Jemma gave an amazing massage. I requested deep tissue and she was very capable of this type of massage. It was wonderful having her come to my home. I highly recommend Jemma for deep tissue massage.
Omni Massage and WellnessOmni Massage and Wellness
Jim D.
Great therapeutic massage!
Chelsea LaFond, Limb by Limb TherapeuticsChelsea LaFond, Limb by Limb Therapeutics
Kristen P.
Amazing massage - the best!
Relax In-Home Massage, LLCRelax In-Home Massage, LLC
Timothy P.
Great therapeutic massage!
Mobile Massage by Eric BonhamMobile Massage by Eric Bonham
Thumbtack Customer
Receiving my first massage from Alyssa was great. She is very professional and listens to your needs to deliver a wonderful massage.
Massage On Wheels, LLCMassage On Wheels, LLC
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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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