I am biased, but I think massages make a wonderful gift. I give them to celebrate, to console, and to say “thinking of you and wish I could be there” to far away friends and family. I also get a lot of emails asking about how to find a good massage therapist when gifting massages to friends in far away cities. As we all know, not all massages are created equal! So in this season of gifting- whether you want to give to a friend, a loved one, or yourself- I’ve prepared a few quick tips on how to gift a great massage.
- Ask the recipient if they have a massage therapist they LOVE. I know it’s fun to give surprise gifts, but in the case of massage, if someone already has a therapist they love and see regularly they will absolutely appreciate receiving a gift certificate to see that therapist. If you are committed to surprising them, ask for a recommendation to their favorite massage therapist.
- Think beyond the chain. It’s tempting to go with a big spa or nationwide chain organization as a “safe bet,” but with a little work you can probably find a local therapist in a private practice who is truly wonderful. I have found over the years recipients are more likely to return to small locations with personalized attention. Shop small!
- Look for therapists with great online reviews who are members of the major professional organizations. For a massage therapist to maintain good standing with any of these groups they have committed to continuing education, high standards of ethics, and rigorous professional guidelines. Try the American Massage Therapy Association, American Bodywork and Massage Professionals, National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
- Consider the recipient’s special needs. Does the recipient prefer a male or female massage therapist? If the recipient has limited mobility, is the therapist’s office accessible or does the therapist travel to homes? If the recipient is pregnant, is the massage therapist Certified in Prenatal or Maternity Massage? Taking special needs into account will help you find the right massage therapist to make the massage treatment and care exactly what the recipient needs and craves to feel amazing.
- Purchase a gift certificate or schedule a session. Decide whether you want to get a gift certificate so the recipient can schedule at their own convenience or whether you want to schedule a session for the recipient. Some massage therapists make giving easy by having gift certificates you can purchase online. (You can find mine here.)
- Make the massage even more wonderful with a thoughtful gesture. We often gift massages with the idea that they will be relaxing as well as therapeutic. What would help your friend or loved one relax even more? Some ideas include: arranging for two hours of babysitting while a busy mama is receiving her massage, paying for a Lyft ride for a college student to make getting there and back easy, or pairing the massage gift certificate and a small gift certificate to a coffee shop to encourage your friend or loved one to set aside an afternoon for self-care.
- Give to yourself! Speaking of self-care…. When we are spending time and money to care for others, we so often forget to also take care of our own bodies, hearts, and minds. After buying all those gift certificates, consider gifting yourself a session with your favorite massage therapist.
Whether you are local to Boulder or home is far away, I hope these guidelines help you find a great massage gift for your friend, your loved one or yourself.
See you next week for my follow up article, “How to (Not-So) Subtly Ask for a Massage”
Faith Davis is the owner of Faith Davis Massage & Yoga LLC and has been a Licensed Massage Therapist in Boulder, Colorado since 2009. She is certified and specializes in Maternity Massage for pregnant and postpartum mamas as well as focusing on deep tissue and orthopedic bodywork for all populations. You can find her (and her new Instant Gift Certificates) online at yogiinmotion.com