Choosing a Therapist

Choosing a Therapist - About Me

Choosing a massage therapist can be a daunting task. For many, the idea of taking off their clothes and laying on a table covered by a sheet is unnerving – and understandably so. As a client, you are being asked to be vulnerable in a way that can be very uncomfortable. A good massage therapist will talk to you prior to putting you on the table, get a thorough medical history to be certain massage will not harm you in any way, make sure you are covered the entire time you are on the table (the only time a body part should be exposed is when it’s being worked on), and will do everything they can to make you feel at ease. As for the aspects you can control, one of the best ways to minimize your anxiety is to do some research before choosing a therapist.

There is as large a variety of therapists as there are personalities. Think about it this way - what therapists offer to their clients is who they are as people who have been educated in varying degrees as massage therapists. As such, some therapists are highly educated, some very intuitive, some extremely compassionate, others astute clinicians and many are a combination of all of the above. Unfortunately, there are also therapists out there who are none of the above. The key to having a valuable massage experience is finding the practitioner that most closely matches your needs . This can be difficult to determine by a business card or a listing in the phone book. If you don’t know a therapist or have a referral from someone you trust, I highly recommend searching therapist websites to get a better understanding of who you are about to trust your body to and what the focus of their practice seems to be. For instance, if you want to be treated for a specific medical condition, a spa may not best meet your needs. Likewise, if you are just looking to relax and feel pampered, seeing a therapist who focuses more on medical massage may not be the best fit.

As for me and what I have to offer to clients, I am primarily a therapeutic/medical massage therapist. Virtually all of my clients have either an acute injury that I am treating or a chronic condition that requires regular treatments for an improved quality of life. I am a passionate student of massage therapy and the human body. I am fascinated by how the human body works and am continuously amazed at how the body responds to touch. My journey to this profession began years ago when I was an orthopaedic patient with a herniated disc and a condition called spondylolysis. At the time, surgery was not a good option for me and I used a combination of massage therapy and physical therapy to manage my condition. My curiosity about how a massage therapist could locate my trouble areas without my direction – and then give me relief – was insatiable. I feel strongly that I held off having spinal fusion for over 12 years due in large part to receiving regular massage treatments.

After fully recovering from surgery, I chose to make a career change (I had previously been a marketing specialist) and returned to school, feeling that massage therapy was my calling. I have since graduated from SHI School of Medical Massage in Lebanon, Ohio, and am now licensed by the States of Ohio and Kentucky and nationally certified by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. My learning didn’t stop with graduation, however. I take continuing education classes as frequently as I am able and I learn daily from the people I touch. I believe that every person I am fortunate to touch is sacred and try to treat them as such. I am also a firm believer in the power of communication and education. As such, I make it a priority to teach my clients about their own bodies and what they can do at home to minimize the pain caused by their medical conditions or dysfunctions. Finally, I am an avid believer in staying active. Finding an exercise plan that works with your abilities and interests is crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Massage is only part of a complete wellness plan.

Not every practitioner is right for every client. Do your research and try to get recommendations whenever possible. I know how difficult finding a good massage therapist can be so if you have any questions about me, my education or my philosophies, please don’t hesitate to call or email and ask. I will do everything I can to put your mind at ease. I hope to see you soon!

April A. Vale, LMT