Finding a good massage therapist

My boyfriend has been wanting a professional massage for a long time and I’d like to give him one as a Christmas gift. He’s never been and neither have I, so I don’t know where to start at finding him a good place. Google gives me some local spas with user reviews, but I’m a bit hesitant to shell out money based on 7 people giving it a thumbs-up, you know?
So how does one go about finding a decent massage therapist? Would a chain be better or worse? How about a chiropractor?
I’m in the Tampa/St Pete area of Florida, if any locals want to rave about their masseurs.

IMO a Chiropractor would be overkill if all he needs is a good backrub. I suggest you talk to friends and relatives to see if anyone has any experience with someone in the area.

At a place I used to work they would bring someone in to massage the employees once a week and it was amazing. I wish I could have that benefit again!

There’s some middle ground between the two. A massage therapist does more than give a mere backrub. Generally he or she has to be licensed for various types of massage. One has to be specially licensed to work on pregnant women or the elderly, for instance.

Lionne, if you want, I can ask a friend who is one what things to look for. But as to finding one that is right for your BF, that’s probably a matter of hit or miss. It’s a very personal thing.

It’s problematic. Finding an adequate massage therapist is not very difficult. Finding a REALLY GOOD massage therapist is hard. With a man who has never had a massage you run into gender problems. He might have a problem with a man giving him a massage, but very few women can get as deep as a man. While massage does fall under the scope of practice for a chiropractor the two are not interchangeable and a chiropractor isn’t really trained as a massage therapist.

You can also try focusing on the school. I went to the Swedish Institute which is kind of like the Harvard of Massage Therapy, it’s world famous. You can ask them for a Swedish Institute Grad. Not to say all of them are amazing but the curriculum is pretty good.

But basically word of mouth is the best way to find out. Unfortunately I can’t point you in the direction in Tampa.

Gotta disagree that women can’t go deep. The two women I’ve gotten massages from almost hurt me. The two men did it just right.

Then again, I don’t like it very deep.

This isn’t the case in Florida. You’re only allowed to say you’re certified in certain areas if you’ve had special training (I happen to be certified in prenatal massage), but any therapist can work on the pregnant or elderly under their regular license.

Honestly, word of mouth is the best way to narrow your chances of getting a dud, if you know anyone you can ask. Where I work the receptionists know who is good at what modality and if anyone should call and ask to be put with a therapist who is good at swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, etc., then they will do it.

One more thing: chiropractors have a totally different scope of practice than an LMT I’ve never met one who actually gives massage. The one I work for does have therapists on staff at the clinic but it’s strictly over-the-clothes pain management massage. If anyone wants relaxation or deep-tissue full-body they send them over to the salon, which is where I come in.

Hey tdn, long time no talk! I’ll take you up on your offer. Any info he or she can give would be appreciated.

mswas, my boyfriend actually expressed a preference for a man to perform the massage, but doesn’t mind if he gets a woman as long as it’s a good one. I know he’s looking for a deep-tissue treatment…that’s probably why he assumes a guy would be better.

I’ll start asking around, see if any co-workers or friends can recommend someone. Thanks all!

Yeah, I know, it’s been a long time!

I sent an e-mail, hopefully I’ll hear back in a day or two.

I found my therapist on Craigslist. Well, sort of. I was looking for one on Craigslist and saw her add and I remembered seeing her flyer at the gym. Turns out she was using a room in the same strip center as the gym.

I guess I got lucky when I found such a great therapist on the first try. She relieved my sciatica in two sesssions, thus enabling me to sleep again. I’ve been seeing her once a week since. She is amazing.

My wife uses Massage Envy in Orlando, they might have a branch near you as they are a chain.

I didn’t say women can’t go deep, I just said MOST women can’t go as deep as MOST men.

Gotcha, and that makes sense. I was just going by personal experience.

Right. If you do not like it deep then it’s also quite probable that it’s easy to get to the maximum depth that you can handle. For me, I get Tui Na done which is quite painful and sometimes consists of literally lifting the fascial layer of your back right off of the muscle. I am talking about excruciating pain. But then you feel great for days. :wink:

Ow ow ow. Not my cuppa.

Lionne, I heard back from my friend. She said you could go to the American Massage Therapy Association and use their locator search. She also said that high-end spas usually have quality MTs.

Yeah the AMTA is a good one, though that will just tell you what MTs have signed up for the AMTA (pretty much all of them for the insurance) so it doesn’t tell you much about quality. And I’ve had spotty experience with high end spas. You’d think that’s true, but it’s not as true as you may think. Sometimes the cheap chinese ladies are much better. Though I don’t know how prevalent they are outside of NYC.

Yeah, it does seem to be little more than a phone book.

Looks like we’re back to word of mouth.

Or you could just go and sample the buffet until you find one you like. I know it’s a hardship getting a bunch of massages. :wink:

(I know I know it’s expensive)

I’m not gonna touch that last sentence with a 10 foot… pole! ;):stuck_out_tongue:

But I concur on the women giving deep massages.

I had one, one time, when I’d been having a painful muscle spasm in my upper back for a week or more. Ibuprofen was barely keeping the pain at bay so I final scheduled a massage.

I swear that woman left BRUISES.

But the next day, my upper back felt better than it had in a week.

They say that the first foot is the most sensitive.

The spa with the best reviews on my Google search was a little Asian place, so I guess I’ll go and check it out. There’s also a Massage Envy nearby, so I’ll swing by that one too…thanks Lanzy.

I’ll just pick one and see how he likes it. The idea of trying them all has a nice appeal…
(Thanks to tdn, everything I type has some innuendo attached to it! :wink: