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What Exactly Makes a Good Massage?

Category: Massage
Man lying on a table receiving a massage

There’s an age-old question as to “What exactly makes a good massage?” You’ll get thousands of different answers if you ask anybody this question.

Some might say a good massage is where the massage therapist listens to their feedback and provides a relaxing experience. Others might say a good massage is where they don’t feel sore the next day. What someone considers a good massage will vary due to people having different standards, experiences, etc.

It’s perfectly fine people have different answers, but you must be thinking, “There have to be some underlying criteria?” Technically, there are some signs you can look for. Let’s look at some signs to help you identify whether a massage is good or not.

First impressions

Part of getting a good massage is going to the right massage parlor and the first impression you get from it. It’s technically not part of physically getting a massage, but it has relevance.

If booking a massage is difficult or you can’t really find the place, it shows signs the massage parlor is incompetent. The harder it is to get a massage, the more likely you won’t be in a good mood when you get it.

You also must consider if the massage parlor looks legitimate. You need to ask yourself some basic questions like “Do they have a website?’ or “Do they have a sign?” If a massage parlor doesn’t have these, you can probably expect not to get a good massage.


The atmosphere of a massage parlor plays a big role in the massage experience. Lighting, smell, music, and temperature can enhance or distract from a massage.

For instance, the music being played could actually be annoying to you and can ruin an otherwise good massage. Another scenario might be the lights are too bright.

The good part is many of these elements can be controlled. The massage client can ask if the massage therapist can adjust them to suit their needs. For example, they could turn off the music or adjust the amount of light in the room if requested.

Massage therapist

Your massage therapist will determine a lot about your overall massage experience. As to what makes a good massage therapist, that’s a whole other discussion. However, some indicators of a good massage therapist are if they project confidence, they’re able to answer your questions, they talk with you, and they have vetted experience.

An important thing to note is sometimes massage therapists can be good at their job, but they don’t quite mesh with their clients. Some massage therapists can work with just about anybody, but some are more specialized.

Another thing to keep in mind is there are days when massage therapists are not at their best. Massage therapists are human too, and while they strive to give the best massage they can, sometimes they fall a bit short.


One of the keys to a good massage is using good massage techniques. Knowing what techniques to use for different types of massages is essential for any professional massage therapist.

There’s also the customized factor or personal touch. While massage therapists will generally stick to the techniques they’ve learned, some massage therapists may tweak them a bit to better fit the needs of their clients.

Adding a personal touch is not something every massage therapist can do either. Knowing how to tweak a technique will often come from years of experience and seeing firsthand what works well.


Communication might be the most crucial part of getting a good massage. It’s equally necessary for the massage therapist and client to talk with each other. Before getting a massage, a massage therapist might ask the client if they have any body areas that have been giving them trouble, or the client might ask if they might experience any pain during the massage.

When getting a massage, clients should provide the massage therapist feedback. A client could tell the massage therapist if something feels good or if they are applying too much pressure.

Some clients may not say anything because they want to zone out and relax, which is fine. Although, the client should let the therapist know that ahead of time. It helps to avoid any awkward conversation the massage therapist might try to have with the client.


If there’s one overarching element in getting a good massage, it’s how relaxed you are during the whole experience. From booking the massage to getting one and how you feel after, you ideally want to feel relaxed.

At its core, relaxation is about making the client feel better. You want to relieve stress and tension. If a client can leave the massage parlor feeling better than when they came in, that could be the most defining factor the massage was good.

There are exceptions, though. Some massages aren’t necessarily going to relax you. A deep tissue massage comes to mind, and some clients might feel sore after getting one. Does that mean it was a bad massage? Not necessarily. It could still be a good massage, and the soreness could indicate the deep tissue massage was effective.

Final thoughts

A good massage will vary from person to person, but if you know what to look for, you’ll have a better idea if you’re getting a good massage.

At Happy Head, we strive to provide good massages for our clients. We have a variety of massages to suit our clients’ needs.

It’s easy to book a massage with us too. You can book a massage online or call one of our massage locations.

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