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Legitimate massage therapists get a boost from California law

February 09, 2009|Marnell Jameson

Get the most from a massage

Don't eat right before your massage. Massage can stimulate digestion, and you don't want to have to get up.

Be early. If you're rushed, you won't be as relaxed.

Take off only as much clothing as you're comfortable removing. Although bare skin allows the therapist to apply oils, a competent therapist should be able to give a good massage through clothes.

Tell your therapist about any health problems and your reason for getting a massage. Also disclose allergies to skin products.

Don't hold your breath. Breathing helps you to relax.

Speak up if anything doesn't feel right, or seems improper.

-- Marnell Jameson

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How to find a qualified professional

When the Massage Therapy Assn. gets its certification program rolling in September, consumers can ask whether a therapist is certified by the organization. Until then, people looking for a reliable way to size up a massage therapist need to use other criteria.

LOOK AT ASSOCIATIONS

Finding a massage therapist who belongs to the American Massage Therapy Assn. is one way. Go to www.findamassage therapist.org. Members have met the association's education standards and have agreed to adhere to a code of ethics; they also must meet continuing education requirements, said Bill Brown, director of government and industry relations for the organization.

A certification from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork also indicates that the practitioner has met core education and ethics requirements.

CHECK CREDENTIALS

Ask to see a massage therapist's credentials. Many will post their certificates in their place of business. If you go to a business that's part of a massage franchise, ask what criteria their therapists must meet and whether they must pass background checks.

-- Marnell Jameson

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latimes.com/health

Styles of massage

Therapies target different areas of your body and different goals. Know the lingo to find what's best for you.

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