You may have come across recent research about the many proven benefits of therapeutic massage. Are they true? Absolutely. In the past, you may have thought of massage as just a way to unwind, relax, and reward yourself after a tough week. These are still great reasons to enjoy a massage, but now we know so much more.

We know, for example, that massage therapy can help people with high blood pressure by lowering the blood pressure to healthy levels. We know that it can improve circulation, which leads to a cascade of other health benefits. We know that massage therapy can help improve posture, restore range of motion, and lead to more restful sleep. This is just the half of it – if you look at the research, the list of health benefits is long.

But there’s another fact about massage therapy that needs to be acknowledged: There is a wide spectrum of quality when it comes to receiving treatments. Different states have different requirements in terms of certification, and it’s often possible to see a certified therapist who really doesn’t have a high level of knowledge or skill. It’s also very much possible, as with any profession, that you might receive a treatment from someone who has not even passed the basic certification. This points to the importance of researching therapists carefully and choosing one that’s both reputable and experienced.

With that in mind, here are three important ways to maximize your massage therapy treatments:

1. Communicate with your therapist

One of the biggest reasons why so many treatments produce results that are less than ideal is a lack of communication between the therapist and the patient. Some people report feeling “bad” about asking for adjustments in pressure or technique, or letting the therapist know when something is painful. Any good therapist will let their clients know that feedback is important, and will be happy to make immediate adjustments based on how the patient is feeling.

2. Follow common guidelines

Not drinking alcohol before or after your treatment, and making an effort to hydrate and eat healthy foods, are an important way to maximize your health benefits from therapeutic massage. When setting up your appointment, as about any guidelines your therapist recommends. Making good lifestyle adjustments in the period before and after your treatment can make a big difference.

3. Explore different modalities of massage

Many people prefer to stick with Swedish or deep tissue massage, and these are very good styles. But some people also respond very well to other modalities, such as Thai massage, or the incorporation of hot stone therapy. Consider exploring different styles of massage to find the one that has the most health benefits for you.

Where to look for a better-quality massage

Let’s face it, massage therapy can seem like a slot machine if you don’t know what to look for. There are plenty of qualified and highly talented professionals out there who consistently deliver a better-quality massage to their clients – so take your time when researching options.

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