How to have the perfect massage

It's regarded as the single most rewarding treatment there is - yet very few massages hit the spot. Here we reveal the top tips to ensure you get the most from your massage.

Picture credit: Rex Features

1. Massage is one area in which it’s OK to judge on appearances

If you don’t like the look of a clinic or therapy room, don’t book in. Key features to look for: complimentary flip-flops (good hygiene standards), the scent of oils in the air (shows the spa is in regular use) and, of course, other clients.

2. Treatment menus tend to work in the same way as restaurant menus

If there’s too much on offer – say, 10 different massages or more – alarm bells should ring. The best clinics offer fewer treatments, and do them better. Enquire as to whether the therapist is competent in mixing different treatments into one for best results.

3. Ahead of booking, ask which type of teaching the massage is based on

Ayurvedic, acupressure, aromatherapy, marma point or something else. The therapist should be able to explain the thought behind each treatment and also which massage styles it incorporates.

4. It's all about the oils

Though the power of massage is down to the skill of the therapist, it’s vital that this is combined with the finest oils which nourish the skin and help you to unwind. As a rule of thumb, opt for oils which are vegetable-based and not mineral – or take your own organic body oil instead.

5. Massage helps more than muscles

Acknowledge that massage can help with more than just ironing out muscles, it can address your emotional balance too. Once you’re open to that notion, you’re better placed to benefit more from your treatment. Try walking for the last stretch of your journey to the spa to clear your head.

6. Allow the treatment the space it needs to make a difference

So turn off your mobile phone 15 minutes before and for at least half an hour after your treatment. Don’t arrange any activities – social or otherwise – post-treatment and ban the TV and your laptop for the evening.

Have you had an amazing massage? Tell us about it or share your beauty treatment horror stories in the comments section below or on Twitter @stylistmagazine