Massage Therapy FAQs
What is massage therapy?
Massage Therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body including muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints. Massage therapy helps alleviate the soft tissue discomfort associated with everyday and occupational stresses, muscular over-use and many chronic pain conditions. If employed early enough after accidents involving trauma and injury, massage therapy can greatly reduce the development of painful muscular patterning.
What does massage therapy treat?
- Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and tendinitis
- Stress relief and associated conditions
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle and related conditions such as spasms, strains and sprains
- Back pain
- Repetitive strain injury
- Circulatory and Respiratory problems
- Pregnancy and labour discomfort
- Post-injury and post surgical rehabilitation
- And many other conditions.
What are the effects of chronic muscle tension?
Chronic muscle tension inhibits circulation, which means your muscles (and other tissues) aren’t receiving the nutrition they need and waste products aren’t being taken away. The lack of nutrition and toxic buildup of waste irritate nerve endings, resulting in weakness and pain. This toxicity also taxes your immune system.
Chronic muscle tension also inhibits movement. Movement is accomplished by paired groups of muscles alternately contracting and lengthening to move the bones to which the muscles attach. Chronically tense muscles disrupt the symmetry of balanced forces acting on the skeleton, holding bones out of position and causing misalignments. For every chronically tight muscle, its opposite (the antagonist) is chronically stretched and weak. These unbalanced forces also cause ligaments to become strained as they try to brace misaligned joints. All this makes injury more likely
Chronic muscle tension also uses up energy, so you fatigue more easily.
How are Registered Massage Therapists trained?
A Registered Massage Therapist is an individual who has:
- Completed competency-based education at an educational institution recognized by the Government of Ontario;
- Studied anatomy, physiology, pathology, physical assessment, neurology, treatments, ethics and other subjects;
- Completed a minimum of 150 clinical hours;
- Successfully completed examinations from and have been "registered" by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (the College) in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Massage Therapy Act;
- Maintained their registration by participating in continuing education and a Quality Assurance Program that assists them in the maintenance of high professional standards and quality care of their clients
What should I expect during my first visit?
Your massage therapist will require you to fill out a intake form. Afterwards the therapist will begin by asking you general questions to establish what areas you would like worked on, if there are any conditions needing to be addressed and to determine if massage is appropriate for you. Your massage therapist may perform certain assessments and testing to evaluate your condition, and to see if you have any presenting complaints.
Where will my massage session take place?
Your massage or bodywork session will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. Soft music may be played to help you relax. You will lie on a table especially designed for your comfort.
What do I wear during the massage?
Depending on the primary technique your therapist uses, you may or may not need to undress. For a full body massage, most people undress completely. However, you may choose to wear underwear. Your massage therapist will give you privacy to undress, and you will be covered with a sheet and blanket at all times except the area being worked on.
What do I do during a massage therapy treatment?
Make yourself comfortable. If your therapist wants you to adjust your position, she or he will either move you or will ask you to move what is needed. Otherwise, change your position anytime to make yourself more comfortable. Many people close their eyes and relax completely during a session; others prefer to talk. It's up to you. It is your massage, and whatever feels natural to you is the best way to relax. Do not hesitate to ask questions at any time.
How will a massage feel?
It usually depends on the techniques used. Our therapists use a combination of different massage types, including Swedish massage, which is often a baseline for practitioners. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes (effleurage) that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. Often, a light oil or lotion is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin.
Does massage therapy hurt?
As with many treatments affecting the soft tissue, there are times when massage therapy can cause some light discomfort but it is not harmful. Discomfort usually diminishes and no technique of this nature is used without the therapist first discussing it with the client and obtaining your permission. A comfort scale will be established and the therapist will work to the client's tolerance level. The client can stop or change the treatment at any time and Massage therapists will modify their techniques to meet their client's needs.Do not hesitate to ask questions or mention if you feel any discomfort so that your massage therapist can use another approach or technique.
What if the pressure isn't deep enough?
Communicate openly with the massage therapist. Keep in mind however that it's a myth that massage therapy has to hurt to be effective. Some of the most effective types of massage therapy are gentle and do not involve deep pressure or pain. In fact, too much pressure can cause muscles to seize up. Here is a good rule of thumb -- on a scale of one to 10 where one is no pain and 10 is extremely painful, the pressure should always be less than seven.
Can I ask my massage therapist to make adjustments for my comfort?
Absolutely, we encourage you to discuss your preferences for a gentle, moderate or deep massage with your massage therapist.
Will the massage oils used make me break-out?
Our massage therapists use hypoallergenic massage oils or lotions. However, if you have sensitivity to certain types of oils or lotion please bring it to the massage therapist's attention as we have an assortment of oils and lotions on hand.
Is a massage always appropriate?
No, there are several medical conditions that would make massage inappropriate. That's why it is necessary that you fill out the health history forms and before you begin your session. The massage therapist will ask general health questions to rule out if you have any contraindications to massage. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage prior to any session. Your massage therapist may require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.
How long will a massage treatment last?
The average full-body massage treatment lasts approximately one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet. Many people prefer a 60- to 90-minute session for optimal relaxation. Always allow relaxation time prior to and after the session.
How will I feel after the massage therapy treatment?
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days. Since toxins are released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water following your massage. Massage therapists sometimes recommend a hot Epsom salt bath that encourages the release of toxins that may have been stirred up from the massage treatment.
Is Massage Therapy covered by OHIP or Extended Health Insurance?
Massage therapy is not currently covered by OHIP, however, most extended health benefit plans cover a significant portion, if not all of a of a registered massage therapy visit. Check your benefits plan, or call your insurance provider for more information. Be sure to ask how much coverage you have, if there is a deductible per visit, if there is a limit per visit, if a doctor's note is required and when your policy year ends.