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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
  • 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
Ken H.
Very professional massage
MassagebychristineMassagebychristine
John D.
Amazing massage and really worked my tight spots.
Dorayn’s Massage TherapyDorayn’s Massage Therapy
Shelby S.
Omgg you need to hire her. Best massage ever!!!!!!!
Soothing Massage by YaelSoothing Massage by Yael
John D.
An amazing and relaxing massage. One one the best I've had and will definitely be seeing Nickita again!
NB Beauty & HealthNB Beauty & Health
John D.
Shelby was very responsive in setting up our appointment. The location was very clean and comfortable and my massage was fantastic. Highly recommended.
Healing TouchHealing Touch
Quiana B.
Working with Lehmont was by far the best massage experience. He was very responsive leading up to my appointment and informative about his services. He communicated while he was in route to my location. I was pleased when he arrived on time following all COVID-19 guidelines. I was beyond pleased with his level of professionalism and respect during the undressing and setting up process. Lehmont has a true gift, I felt completely relaxed and refreshed before he officially started my massage just by his knowledge of touching pressure points within the body. This massage exceeded all others I've received. My mother and cousin both received a massage as well and we collectively agreed Lehmont was the best we've ever experienced. We are looking forward to working with him again for his quality is incomparable.
Safe Hands LLCSafe Hands LLC
Ben R.
All around great experience with Janette. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever gotten and the reiki was very calming to start the session. Thank you!
Sunlight Reiki StudioSunlight Reiki Studio
Troy W.
Gavin was absolutely amazing. He asked all the right questions and focused on the key areas! We have had many massages, but Gavin was very focused on the needs. There were areas that needed more therapeutics than others, and he made sure to treat those places! The best, he gave tips on how to continue therapy between massages! I’d recommend him in a heartbeat!
Legendary TherapyLegendary Therapy
Thumbtack Customer
Most professional yet. I have weekly massages at a very posh spa and club....for major $'s. David surpassed them all. Best of the Best
David JonesDavid Jones
Madison B.
I am so pleased with my experience with Shelby. She gave me one of the best massages I’ve ever received. She took her time to make the atmosphere of the room just right. She listened to my needs and thoroughly worked through the spots that were giving me so much pain. The value of her massage is worth every penny. I will definitely be going back to see her!
Healing TouchHealing Touch
Lisa W.
KP was great. He was very responsive and showed up on time and ready to work. He asked lots of questions to determine what I needed and the massage was perfect. I highly recommend him.
The Massage GodThe Massage God
Maria D.
Amazing, professional, clean, very knowledgeable and intuitive! I would absolutely book another massage soon. I was having constant, sharp nerve pain in my neck and head and I am already feeling much needed relief. Thank you! 🙏
Safe Hands LLCSafe Hands LLC
Kathryn K.
Dorayn is an excellent Massage Therapist! From the moment I entered her beautiful little spa I felt relaxed and welcomed. She has a few little features like aromatherapy and paraffin dips that make the experience extra yummy. Her healing touch is warm and very intuitive. As a MT myself I was impressed by her knowledge and intuition. I’ve been touched by many MTs and Dorayn is among the best of the best! I will be back often.
Dorayn’s Massage TherapyDorayn’s Massage Therapy
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