What do you want your massage therapist to do or not to do when you receive massage?

Few months ago I had a horrifying experience when I went to one of those Asian foot massage places. This one used to be very good but apparently the owner changed and the name was different. In addition to $25/hour foot massage, they offered body massage for $45/hour. Sure, why not. Not a bad price and I’m always eager to learn from other therapists.

I am taken to a wood floor room upstairs. There is a massage table with one sheet and a towel not big enough to cover the body. No top sheet and a blanket which I am used to. Okay… I put on the wrap with velcro top that they gave me and wait. Klunk, klunk, klunk… the massage therapist comes in. She is wearing a pair of stacked hi-heel boots. Her bright red nails are coming out of her fingers like claws. Her long hair is covering half of her face. Mmk… I lay face down as she tells me. She starts massaging and I immediately smell cigarette which I can’t stand. She starts with effleurage (long stroke) on my back which is normal. Few strokes later her hands go way to the side to an inappropriate, almost illegal zone. I am very tense, stiff as a plank. Then she leans over to use her forearm which is good except her long hair is now brushing my bare back.

Less than ten minutes into the session, when she started massaging my spine with her elbow, I had to stop. I couldn’t take it any more. You don’t massage bone with a bone because it hurts. The store lady told me that this therapist went to a massage school in China and she is licensed. Really?! Instead of investigating the legitimacy of the certificate and license, I paid $10 for the time (and lesson learned) and left in a hurry because the skin was itchy from the lotion they were using.

As a massage therapist, I have certain beliefs about how a massage therapist should be. This is purely my opinion as all the “shoulds” are created based on the culture, environment, parents, past, religion, etc. From my own experience and stories I’ve heard, my ideal massage therapist has the following professionalism aside from the massage techniques:

– No long hair touching the client

– No massaging in hi-heels

– No talking about personal drama such as ex-boyfriend, soon-to-be-ex husband, dying cat, child custody, financial situation, etc.

– No cigarette smell on hands, massage table, or sheets

– No Cheetos smell on fingers

– No long nails

– No watching TV during massage

– No texting during massage (I commend the skill though)

– Know the boundaries

– No sneezing onto the client

– No spitting onto the client while talking

– Wash hands after blowing nose

What other professionalism do you think a massage therapist should have? I would love to hear your thoughts. Your horrifying massage stories are welcome too!