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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 massage therapists
Kristen K.
Wonderful massage therapist! Extremely professional, accommodating, with perfect pressure points. Felt relaxed, calm and centered after the massage. Highly recommend. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Daily Relax BodyworkDaily Relax Bodywork
Ali H.
My husband and I both received full body massages from Lawrence. Both of our massages were truly excellent. Lawrence's rates were also very reasonable. Lawrence took covid precautions seriously- he brought a table, gave us massages in our backyard, and wore a mask. We are planning on many more massages from Lawrence in the future!
Daily Relax BodyworkDaily Relax Bodywork
Francois B.
Great massage therapist, very attentive and professional.
Restore Massage + WellnessRestore Massage + Wellness
Ruchi B.
I have been working with Jasmine over 2-3 weeks for a weekly pre-natal massage. She is great at communicating arrival, her requests as well checking in during the massage. I have enjoyed her massages and had her coming back to relieve me of the aches & pains that come with pregnancy and a house move!
Jasmine cosmeticJasmine cosmetic
Sal R.
very professional and exceptional work had not had a massage of these in many years. Gracias Karalyn
Embodhi AttunementEmbodhi Attunement
Chalise G.
One of the best massages I’ve ever had! I have tried many massage modalities, but this combined some approaches that I’ve never experienced and it was absolutely wonderful. If you have any persistent knots or tightness, Karalyn will find it. Your body will thank you.
Embodhi AttunementEmbodhi Attunement
Julie H.
We so appreciate Rhodel coming to give me and my husband massages! After two months sheltering in place, we sure missed massages. Rhodel had gotten a COVID test, wore a mask the whole time and used gloves. Felt very taken care of! We greatly recommend him and look forward to more visits!
Rhodel Rosales CMTRhodel Rosales CMT
Mary N.
Best massage I’ve had in a long time! Very professional and made the trek to my house. Definitely going to work with them again!
Art of MassageArt of Massage
Thumbtack Customer
Shannon did a lot of good work on my shoulder, which really needed attention. I'm looking forward to getting another massage from her.
Holistic Healing MassageHolistic Healing Massage
Joseph A.
Ni was fabulous, She knows how to read your body, the pressure was perfect, and the stretching was great. I will definitely have Ni return for future and on going massages..🤗
Livin'Touch MassageLivin'Touch Massage
Alena G.
I would definitely recommend! Therapist came on short notice and gave an excellent massage! I am looking forward to my next one! Thank you!!
Daily Relax BodyworkDaily Relax Bodywork
Ni delivered an excellent massage as promised. I had many knots and sore spots that she relieved. Her works is 5 stars and I highly recommend her!
Livin'Touch MassageLivin'Touch Massage
Igo H.
Massage was perfect! I have problems with my lower back and my goal was to decrease the pain in my back and leg. Kosta is in a medicine so I got what I wanted. Everything he used was tidy and high quality. See you soon and thanks again!
Kosta BreeKosta Bree
Kristen K.
Glen is a fantastic massage therapist. He took the time to understand specific pain points and was able to address the issue(s) effortlessly. Due to his knowledge in the medical field, I felt confident in his ability to assess my pain. Felt immediate and long term improvement. Highly recommend.
Glenn Gangano, RN, BScN, CMTGlenn Gangano, RN, BScN, CMT
Gris C.
This was one of the most helpful massages I've gotten in my life, and before th e pandemic I used to get one every other week. I contacted Glen because I had a pain so sharp that it didn't let me sleep well. He explained to me how he would work on my troubled area and always checked on how his technique was helping me. By the end of the 90min sessjon, my troubled zone was way better, I went from not being able to move to freedom, I could move around and the pain was way less. I was impressed with his service, prefesionalissm and most importantly his qualifications and how he applies his onowledge.
Glenn Gangano, RN, BScN, CMTGlenn Gangano, RN, BScN, CMT
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