Probably not often enough. And probably for different reasons. I know when I first started practicing massage, I looked to do exchanges. I was accustomed to getting regular massage in school and wanted to continue to receive the work, but also to continue to practice with other therapists and to exchange ideas. Exchanges became difficult when schedules got busy and paying customers beckoned. Paying for massage at times was difficult because money was tight, but probably the biggest obstacle for me was finding the right therapist.
Part of the problem of becoming an LMT, when it comes to booking massage time, is knowing what you like and finding a therapist who can deliver. Twenty-four years later the same problem exists. I have always maintained that we must recognize as therapists that we cannot be everyone’s cup of tea. There are different strokes for different folks, if you will. This is a good thing for massage therapists to remember and saves the ego from being bruised when a new client does not rebook.
When traveling, I almost always try to get a massage, because it is the perfect time to try something new and not talk shop. I almost never tell the therapist that I also practice massage for this reason. That is another obstacle for me, in town. When I receive massage, mostly, I do not want to talk, and certainly not about the profession.
In town, from time to time, I will try a new “spa” to check out the space and to see what they are offering with the hopes of finding a good massage and a good therapist. I suspect that after twenty-four years of practicing massage and twenty-two years of teaching, my tastes are rather specific, but I am always hopeful and looking for new strokes and stretches to add to my repertoire.
The good news is that since I started practicing in 1992, the availability of massage has grown exponentially. In New York City it is possible to receive massage on virtually every street corner. Spas, nails salons, hotels, gyms, doctors’ offices and internet booking services are all in the game and provide different levels of skill and service for the discerning consumer. As a whole, I suspect LMTs do not receive enough massage, but there is a whole wide market out there to explore and discovering one new delicious stroke may be worth having kissed a lot of frogs in the process.
What has been your experience?