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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
Dominador Jeffrey R.
Great massage! One of the best massages I've experienced. I especially like the shoulder/upper back massage! Will definitely hire him again.
Pro MassagePro Massage
Claire A.
Wonderful couples massage !! Very relaxing 💗
Soul Touch Massage and BodyworkSoul Touch Massage and Bodywork
Claire J.
I hired Sarah for a pregnancy massage because I’ve been dealing with back pain. She was able to get me in quickly for an in home massage and it was incredible! I prefer a deeper tissue massage and she was able to do that for me. I’ve noticed a difference even after one massage and I plan on hiring her throughout the rest of my pregnancy. She was very professional and timely. Thank you!
Serendipity MassageSerendipity Massage
Derrick W.
Awesome deep tissue massage...really helped..
Doug D.
Good environment for the massage and Casey has a great touch.
Pro MassagePro Massage
Becky F.
Such a talented massage therapist. Really thorough but with a healing hand.
High Vibes MassageHigh Vibes Massage
Marty P.
Excellent massage by an experienced personable professional. Highly recommended!!!
Massage On the Go!Massage On the Go!
Taimoor H.
Great massage and overall service! Very friendly as well!
Candace Massage TherapyCandace Massage Therapy
Jonathan B.
She gave a great massage. Very friendly and professional.
Bodywork by JessiBodywork by Jessi
Jodi L.
Amy was amazing! My husband needed to get in for a massage and she worked with me to get him in. He felt so much better after the massage. She really helped him. Thank you!
Technique Solutions MassageTechnique Solutions Massage
Chris R.
Fantastic massage, absolutely someone i plan on using regularly.
All Bottled Up Massage & WellnessAll Bottled Up Massage & Wellness
Rob H.
Sarah gave me a last minute 2-hour massage on a Sunday and it was one of the best massages I’ve ever had. And incredibly good price. I will definitely be coming back to see her. Hopefully soon!
Serendipity MassageSerendipity Massage
Jack V.
I was very satisfied with the massage given to me. and will be scheduling another appt.
Charlene ChartierCharlene Chartier
Christina C.
My massage with Troy was really wonderful. He was detailed and I left feeling great.
Halo massageHalo massage
William S.
Amie is the best! If you want a massage that actually heals you Amie is the woman. Other massages just feel good but nothing gets worked out, where Amie expertly works out all the kinks. She also comes to me and that's a huge bonus. A++++
Technique Solutions MassageTechnique Solutions Massage
Thumbtack Customer
Charlene was great to coordinate schedules with and the massage quality was great! I would definitely use her again.
Charlene ChartierCharlene Chartier
Kyle D.
I had many massages over the years. Best I’ve had in a long time. Doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.
Ora's MassageOra's Massage
Khira h.
My mother absolutely loved her massage, she said Cassandra used perfect pressure and relieved her muscle pain
Knot So Tight Massage LLCKnot So Tight Massage LLC
Terry M.
great experience, very effective but didn't torture even when in deep massage mode. felt better after not eventually. highly recommend.
Cosmic Vibrations Specialized Massage TherapyCosmic Vibrations Specialized Massage Therapy
Nicole L.
Absolutely the most amazing massage I’ve ever had. Cannot wait for my next appointment. I cannot recommend enough. Thank you!
All Bottled Up Massage & WellnessAll Bottled Up Massage & Wellness
Katie S.
Sharipa was amazing! The best massage I’ve had by far. She was very professional and attentive to individual needs, and made the overall experience super comfortable. Worth every penny :)
A Peace of Mind MassageA Peace of Mind Massage
Jay B.
I highly recommend Erin. She responded very quickly to my request for an appointment and even texted me quickly a couple more times with alternative appointment times. Erin is knowledgeable, very professional in her approach, and a delightful person. I am a big fan of deep tissue massage, and I have been to numerous massage therapists over the years. I would rate Erin easily among the best therapists that I have seen.
Massage by ErinMassage by Erin
Catherine M.
She listened to my needs and focused on my pain area. She’s so calm, knowledgeable, and friendly. Her space is inviting and peaceful. Best massage I have ever had!
Soul Touch Massage and BodyworkSoul Touch Massage and Bodywork
Janet A.
William Is a fantastic massage therapist! He knew what muscles two work on for my issues I was having in my feet, legs , arms shoulders and hands! I totally recommend him!
Red Rocks MassageRed Rocks Massage
Kolten S.
I’m glad I found Knot So Tight I will definitely be back. Andy was great! Hands down best massage I have had and I look forward to the next one.
Knot So Tight Massage LLCKnot So Tight Massage LLC
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