What should I look for in a massage therapist?
In the state of Oregon, and in most other states, massage therapists are required by state law to be licensed. Licensing ensures that the LMT you visit has had a basic education in massage techniques, has passed a nationally-recognized written exam to ensure technical knowledge competency, and must comply with all sanitation requirements, communicable disease control requirements, and ethical standards of practice. In the state of Oregon, LMTs must also pass a practical exam. Make sure the therapist you choose is licensed. OMTA requires that member therapists be current and licensed. You can access our Directory to search for a member LMT near you.
How do I know if someone is licensed in Oregon?
Please visit the Verification page for the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists. For other states, you will need to contact their individual boards or regulatory agencies.
How do I know what kind of massage I need?
There are many different "modalities" of massage therapy. Most people are somewhat familiar with "Swedish" techniques, which typically use lotion or oil and the muscle tissue is gently kneaded and stretched. There are many different varieties of touch therapies, ranging from extremely light techniques like lymph drainage (excellent for reducing edema) to much more intense work, like Rolfing (which can address postural issues). Some techniques require additional training or certification, which you want to make sure your LMT has. Talk to your massage therapist about your needs and goals and about which technique(s) are right for you.
Do I have to be naked?
Many people, especially first-time massage clients are nervous about the level of undress required for a massage treatment. This does vary by the technique, however, the level of undress should be left up to the client's comfort level. As some are more "comfortable" with different levels of undress, regardless of your personal comfort level, the state of Oregon requires draping by law. This means that you must be covered, except for the area being worked on, at all times. At no time shall the gluteal cleft, breast tissue, or genitals be exposed (there are a few exceptions to this for LMTs with specialized training, see more under "What parts of the body can LMTs work on" below. You will undress and get on the table as well as get off the table and dress in privacy. Some techniques do not require any undress and prefer you wear loose-fitting or yoga-type clothing (Thai massage, for example). Check with your practitioner to see what the specifics are for your treatment if you are unsure.
What if I'm not comfortable with something?
Keep the lines of communication open with your LMT. It is critical that you inform your practitioner if you are uncomfortable in any way (hot/cold, pressure too much/not enough, or if the draping sheet/towel feels as if it has slipped, etc.) While most LMTs are very intuitive about where a body needs work, it is still helpful to receive feedback if something isn't quite right for you. The better your communication with your LMT, the better your massage will be!
What parts of the body can LMTs work on?
In the state of Oregon, LMTs have a very wide scope of practice, allowing treatment work on the whole body. However, the very few appropriate techniques that access breast tissue, the gluteal cleft, and genitals require specialized training, clinical cause for treatment, informed and voluntary consent (preferably in writing and definitely prior to getting undressed or on the table), appropriate draping and communication, and the right to stop treatment at any time. If ANY of these aspects are missing, the treatment is inappropriate. If you do have concerns about a technique used, please contact the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists.