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sports massage news and articles from London's premier sports massage team

I’d love to come and visit you guys for a massage in London but I live elsewhere. How do I choose the right massage therapist in my locality?

It’s a tough question, with no easy answer!

What sort of massage am I looking for?
In the UK there are two terms – deep tissue and sports massage. A sports massage qualification requires more hours of study and practice than a deep tissue qualification, and the BTEC diploma is currently the highest level of sports massage certification in the UK.

So you really dont need to have a ‘sports injury’? In fact the majority of our clients work in an office and many suffer from stress, tension, anxiety, and all the things that are normal in a modern-day, city-based lifestyle.

At City Sports Massage we have developed a way of working that includes ALL of the factors in your lifestyle. This is largely centred on our ability to encourage COMMUNICATION. There is no reason you can’t find that elsewhere, but you might need to look hard! This article is designed to help you in that search.

Where do I start?
Your first port of call should be your social network-friends, colleagues, loved ones. Have they had a successful treatment locally? If not, then try asking at ballet academies, football and rugby clubs.

There are various sports massage and complementary health associations, and although membership will guarantee a certain minimum level of good quality training, what you are really looking for in a therapist is not just training, but also equal measures of dexterity, communication, empathy, confidence and willingness to listen. Unfortunately there is no existing ‘directory’ that guarantees all these qualities.

Online searches
Search online – ‘sports massage (your area)’, ‘deep tissue massage (your area)’. In the UK you could look at Level 4 or 5 BTEC qualified massage therapists on www.thesma.org and try cross referencing their name to see if you can find any reviews or testimonials online. Check out running and cycling forums where people are often sharing recommendations.

So you’ve found a potential therapist?
So you’ve found a potential therapist. Do they have any customer testimonials or references? A successful therapist should have no end of willing clients pleased to put in a good word. But maybe they’ve just qualified? Don’t be put off by that, they might be naturally fantastic and as-yet-undiscovered. Many newly qualified therapists are happy to offer introductory discounts as they build up their confidence and client base. Why not book in for a short introductory session to see if it feels ‘right’? But do bear in mind that, depending on your temperament, it might take you a little time to relax into the session, so don’t expect any ‘miracles’ from a short session.

Communication is the key
A successful treatment is dependent on your relationship with your therapist. You should try to be direct and straightforward with your requests. A good therapist will be sensitive, but none are ‘mind readers’ – so be prepared to clearly communicate your desired outcome.

Try to go into the session with an open, relaxed state of mind. Remember that the vast majority of working therapists are kind, caring sensitive people who genuinely want to help you. The more relaxed you are the more a therapist can ‘work their magic’ – because your tissues are softer and more pliable.

So to summarise;

Do your research – ask friends, colleagues, family, local sports clubs or dance companies.

Search online – ‘sports massage (your area)’, ‘deep tissue massage (your area)’.

Ask for testimonials/references if you find someone you think might be suitable.

Communicate your wishes – both before the treatment and during. Remember a treatment is a relationship, and trust and communication is the lifeblood of any relationship.

© Jon Gee 2011

Jon Gee is the founder of City Sports Massage, a team of massage therapists in London who combine deep-tissue massage therapy with stress-reduction and body-awareness techniques.

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