What Is Real Massage?

Category: Massage Posted: 05 Jul 2018

Posted: 05 Jul 2018

The best mobile massage is one which is delivered with empathy

The Massage Rooms was launched in London in Summer 2009 with one key principle: Deliver A Real Massage

Of course other things mattered too. But delivering a high-quality, pure, true massage was paramount to our philosophy. These ranged from home visit mobile massages to luxurious hotel spa treatments. We had tried them in places near us in London and places as far away and diverse as Sweden to Thailand. We had tried relaxing, deep remedial, emotional, spiritual and even painful therapies performed by a wide range of massage therapists from deeply experienced ones with over 20 years of practice to newly qualified therapists who had just started out. The massage industry is huge and international. The cost, quality and types of massage treatment on offer vary as widely as the answers to the questions you may have about them. 

How Big Is The Massage Industry?

The massage therapy industry is massive. It had a global estimated value of over £20 billion in 2017 with hundreds of thousands of businesses and millions of individuals offering massage services all around the world. Some offer it as a business, some as a favour and others simply as a way of life! So, there is a huge amount of choice. So how do you differentiate between good massage and bad massage? It is not easy but as a curator of home and hotel visiting massage services in London for 10 years, we like to think have a pretty good idea.

What is Real Massage?

Real massage is massage that goes beyond simple pampering. It is a massage that you can truly feel and that is effective, both physically and psychologically. When receiving a real massage you will notice that your therapist is sincere and working hard during your treatment. Delivering real massage is exhausting but it is also hugely rewarding. There are 5 fundamental principles underlying real massage.

1. Qualifications Are Not Enough

Academic certificates alone are simply not sufficient. Classroom attendance, theoretical lectures, staged practice sessions and pretty printed certificates can form basic foundations from which a genuinely excellent massage therapist may emerge. Qualifications alone in massage neither guarantee nor indicate an ability to perform excellent massages. The best massage therapists are those who have also been trained and tested to ensure they are reliable, friendly, sensitive and full of empathy for others. 

Real massage cannot be effectively delivered if the therapist adopts a recipe-book approach. Dividing the body into a rigid number of segments, applying repeated strokes a set number of times to each body part and progressing the massage without any personalised intuition for that particular moment are all ingredients in a recipe for a terrible massage. 

We have met and experienced wonderful treatments from therapists who hold a variety of massage qualifications. We have also endured incredibly poor treatments from certain therapists who displayed several certificates in numerous massage techniques but none of the emotion and interest we believe is critical.

2. Beauty Massage Is Not Real Massage

Many beauty training schools offer massage as an add-on module. Whilst this has its purpose and place, as a secondary subject to beauty treatments it cannot be called real massage. Consider eating a meal prepared by someone who learned to cook on a module that formed part of a training course designed to teach how to run restaurants. 

There are always exceptions to the norm of course, but we repeatedly see that therapists who have focused on a career in massage alone offer very significantly better treatments than beauticians who offer massage as one of several beauty services.

3. Passion Matters

A genuine desire to massage people better is crucial. Feeling completely at ease – and enthusiastic – to touch and exchange energy with other human beings is key. When receiving a massage, the client may never have met the therapist before, may be from a completely different cultural background and may possess a very dissimilar physical appearance. None of these matter one bit to a great masseuse or masseur. 

A career in massage should not be seen as a means to an end (such as paying the monthly bills) but rather a true vocation, a calling in life. Those therapists who live and breathe massage are those that are most likely to offer truly amazing massages.

4. Empathy Is The Best Essential Oil

In treatments, oil is often used to lubricate and to provide pleasant aromas with natural healing properties. Chosen and used appropriately these oils can have an amazing uplifting effect on quality of the overall session. However there is no point in having the perfect massage oils or room setting without true understanding, sympathy and compassion for giving the treatment. 

Good parents, boyfriends and girlfriends give wonderful massages. Good nurses make great massage therapists. Genuine empathy enables real massage to be delivered naturally.

5. Massage Is An Innate Skill

When we unexpectedly knock a shoulder or leg against a hard, heavy object, we almost all instinctively reach to massage ourselves better. Massage is intrinsic, an inbuilt human skill that some of us have honed better than others, that some of us are naturally more skilled at. 

The secret is not only to identify a masseuse or masseur who is naturally skilled and effectively trained and experienced but also keen to do the same quality of massage on others as they are on themselves.  

When this business first launched and feedback started pouring in, we sometimes wondered whether all the feedback was genuine since there was such a high percentage of incredibly glowing remarks. We contacted a random selection of such customers and explored their feedback and reviews in a little more detail. What we learned was that these customers felt that they had experienced true massage for the first time in their lives. Many of them had received multiple massages around the world, most often in hotels or beauty salons. Again and again, customers explained that the reason for the 5-star review was that they had never experienced or even expected massage could be as genuine, caring and involved as they had experienced with therapists from The Massage Rooms.