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How do you know which massage is right for you?

Published:Wednesday | June 22, 2016 | 12:40 AMRobert-Karim Besnier

There are many types of massages, often described as the massage modality. The massage modality is often determined according to the need(s) of the client which is usually ascertained by the massage therapist, in a consultation.

After carrying out a consultation, the massage therapist should review the information that the client has provided in response to the questions on the consultation form.

The therapist will then develop a treatment plan and give the client an overview of what the session will entail. Sexual touch or activities should never be a part of the treatment plan, which is against the prescribed standards for practice and has legal implications.


There are many conditions affecting an individual who is interested in getting a massage and these are called ‘contraindications.’ This is a condition that prevents a client from getting a particular kind of massage or during which the therapist should proceed with caution. A licensed professional will have the knowledge to make that judgement call. Some people believe a massage can solve all ailments. An honest therapist will admit what is and outside of their scope of practice, and make rational suggestions. A massage therapist should never diagnose a medical condition because he or she is an allied health professional.


A massage therapist or practitioner should never administer treatment to a client without having them sign a waiver that represents an agreement between both parties (massage therapist and client) that they are in agreement with the terms of treatment.


There are many styles of massages that will sedate you, knead your muscles or take advantage of your pressure points to get your energy flowing in the right direction. Knowing your way around a spa’s menu will help you get a massage that is tailored to your needs. There are dozens to choose from.

- SWEDISH MASSAGE: This classic treatment is rebranded by many establishments and is the foundation for other types of massage. It is the most common type of massage requested to reduce stress in which the therapist uses oil or massage cream and applies light to medium strokes. It is best for relaxation. The therapist determines the sequence of strokes according to the needs of the client.

- AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE: Aromatherapy massage will keep your scents in check. The nostrils are attached to a part of your brain called the limbic system, which is highly stimulating to the body when affected. Aromatherapy uses fragrant oils extracted from plants to naturally enhance the benefits of massage.

- HOT STONE MASSAGE: Basalt stones are heated in a crockpot (heating unit) to warm the stones as much as 130°F (about 54°C) then applied to the body. Stones are often placed on energy points of the body known as the chakras. Massage oil is used to glide the heated stones on the body and the sensation is to die for. Be prepared though, stones can feel really hot on the body but no worries because a good therapist will test it before applying.

- DEEP-TISSUE MASSAGE: Focuses primarily on the deeper layers of the muscles and can be painful in some instances but is very effective if done properly. Deep-tissue massage, such as the Swedish massage requires massage oil or cream. This type of massage offers stress relief, eases pain, and makes movement easier.

- SPORTS MASSAGE: This style of massage enhances exercise performance and is recommended for active individual. Sports massage incorporates several modalities into one therapy and it is one of the most dynamic and in-depth forms of massage. You can use massage cream or oil and there are times you do not need to use it. It involves a lot of joint mobilisation exercises (stretching) which leaves the client feeling fantastic! There are many other styles of massage that are becoming more popular locally, but these will be discussed in other articles.

-Robert-Karim Besnier is a TVET Educator, Licenced Aesthecian, Sports Massage and Body Work Practitioner, Skills Instructor and Lecturer at the HEART College of Beauty Services. Email: