How Do You Know When You've Received a Less Than Ideal Massage

Nina Dali Monday, March 11, 2024

Massages are popular for both men and women, and the accessibility of massages today means anyone can book one; but how do you know if you're getting a good experience? 

If you receive massages regularly, the difference between an ideal and subpar one is clear, but if you're new to massage therapy, it can be challenging to differentiate between them. 

In this guide, we'll lift the lid on bad massages, so you know what to look for.


How easy is it to book an appointment? Are you able to choose a therapist quickly and book a convenient time? Accessibility is important because nobody wants to be waiting for ages. 

While some massage centres offer drop-in sessions, most ask people to book beforehand. Check availability before handing over any money and ensure the therapist can accommodate your schedule.

The first conversation 

Reputable massage therapists will always get to know their clients before beginning a session. So, when you first speak to the masseuse, check whether they ask questions about any previous injuries. 

Injuries and muscle strains will impact your massage, and the therapist should be aware of them. The best therapists will also ask what you hope to achieve from the session. For example, some people want pain relief, while others seek a mind/body experience. 

When a therapist doesn't get to know you, they're not providing a bespoke service.

Asking about your needs

Even if you choose a specific massage technique, your therapist should still ask whether you want them to focus on certain areas of your body. 

Some people might have sensitive skin or not feel comfortable removing their clothes, and any good masseuse will adapt the sessions to your needs. If you feel like you're not getting a fully bespoke service, it might be better to find a new therapist.

Checking in with you 

Massage therapy is an intensive process to promote relaxation while removing pain and knots. During the session, your therapist should check in regularly and ask if the pressure is OK. 

Failing to do this shows they don't really care about your comfort and are just going through the motions while massaging you. When paying for a massage, you should get an experience tailored to your needs. 

Most therapists are professionals and will go out of their way to ensure you're comfortable, but it's also fine to speak up and say when you're not happy.

Ensuring the atmosphere's to your liking

Whether you have a massage at home or in a treatment centre, your therapist should create a soothing environment. Comfort is key here, and any reputable professional will check you're OK and ask about your preferences.

For example, some people enjoy soothing music, while others prefer silence. Ensuring the table is comfortable, and you're not feeling too warm or cold is also essential for a positive massage session. 

Therapists who put on music without asking or don't seem to concern themselves with your wellbeing are just there for the money.

Getting to know you 

It would be unrealistic for a massage therapist to know your body and its needs within one session, but seeing the same therapist regularly means they should get to know you. 

Unfortunately, some 'professionals' don't treat their clients as individuals, which can result in them never really knowing your needs. For example, a dedicated therapist will notice if your muscles feel tighter than usual and adapt the session to your requirements.

Check to see whether the masseuse evaluates your body and identifies any changes. This is particularly important if you're treating muscle pain or injuries.

Offering aftercare 

Aftercare is another critical component of any massage, as you want the results from each session to last. A great therapist will advise you on which areas of your body are most at risk of injuries and explain how to prevent them.

They might offer stretching exercises and discuss posture, highlighting their expertise and helping you reap the rewards of therapy. However, if they try to sell your expensive supplements or anything else that requires a significant investment, it's usually because your therapist is trying to upsell. Consider whether you need what they're offering, and be cautious about buying extras.

How do you know when you've had a great massage?

So, now we've covered the signs of a bad massage, it's time to look at what makes a good massage. Everyone responds to therapy differently, and you might find one technique doesn't suit your needs. 

However, the following factors indicate a great massage. 

  • You feel relaxed: The best massage therapists know how to trigger specific points of your body that relieve stress and calm your mind.
    If you leave a session feeling at peace, you've had a massage; that's a positive sign. 
  • Body changes: Massages can treat a range of aches, pains and injuries - when performed correctly.
    If you notice less pain or more flexibility, the massage has served its desired purpose. 
  • You're happy: When a massage session leaves you feeling happy, the therapist has listened to you and tailored the session to your needs. 
  • You trust your therapist: Do you feel comfortable telling your therapist about any difficulties?
    Professional therapists are discreet and will treat you with respect. 
  • You're rebooking: Most importantly, having a great massage session means you'll go back for more. 

Final thoughts 

Massages are one of the most popular holistic treatments, resulting in increased mobility, less pain and more relaxation. Sure, there are some subpar therapists out there, but booking with a reputable service ensures you'll avoid them.

I Love Massage has a range of talented female and male massage therapists, each skilled in various techniques. Booking with us gives you access to a massive network of professionals, all waiting for your booking. 

Feel free to choose your therapist today, or contact us if you require support or advice.