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Are you a Registered Massage Therapist?

Yes. The “R” in RMT stands for Registered. Anyone with the letters RMT after their name in this province is registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. This means they issue insurance receipts, which you can then claim with your insurance provider.

How does payment for a massage work?

Upon payment for the treatment, I will issue you an official insurance receipt with my registration number on it. That receipt is then submitted by you to your insurance provider who will reimburse you based on your plan.

What style of massage is it?

I was trained in Traditional Swedish Massage, the most commonly practiced style of massage therapy taught in schools. I also have additional training in myofascial massage, Sports massage and I’ve taken courses in Shiatsu and Thai massage. In my personal practice I use a lot of myofascial massage techniques due to their excellent complimentary nature to swedish techniques.

It seems like you’re asking me a lot of questions. Can’t I just get on the table?

As an RMT, I have both a legal and professional responsibility to ask you questions about your health as well as your presenting complaint. The paper work and intake process is how I acquire the information from you that I need, in order to treat you safely and effectively. Your co-operation in the intake process is much appreciated and will get you on the table faster.

This is my first massage. What should I expect?

After the health history form and intake are complete, the massage therapist will ask you to make yourself comfortable on the table. This means something different to everyone. Some people choose to take off all their clothes, some keep on underwear or socks, while others will only undress the body part(s) being worked on.

The key here is -to your level of comfort. The massage therapist is trained to work on skin and through clothing. Bear in mind that some of the more specific techniques used during a massage are more beneficial when done directly on the skin, and if you are clothed therapist will be unable to use oil. Typically clients are unclothed and the massage therapist will undrape one area at a time. The rest of your body remains under the sheets and blanket. The therapist may use a variety of techniques, some with oil, some without and the pressure throughout the massage should range from light to firm without pain.

I’m experienced at getting massages and the therapists never use enough pressure. Why is that?

There is an old wives tale that says that a massage isn’t doing anything unless the pressure is deep and I’m writhing in pain.

That could not be further from the truth and it’s a huge source of frustration for me in my work. There is a time and a place for deep pressure but often times it can cause you more pain and delay the healing process even further.

First off, tissue needs to be prepped for deep work so it’s never appropriate to “just dig in as hard as you can”. Secondly, as part of its healing process the body has a “kick-back” effect that can put you in even more pain a day or two after the massage. This usually means the therapist went too hard.

Finally, here are some other factors to consider:

• People with cardiovascular issues should not be given deep pressure for risk of unlocking a blood clot or risking hypertension

• If you’ve taken a painkiller in the last few hours your pain threshold is skewed and the therapist could be hurting you without you being aware.

• Some people bruise easily.

• Deep pressure can trigger a chronic injury

• People with neurological disorders like MS or Diabetes have altered sensations

How often should I get a massage?

I often see this pattern whereby people come once for a massage then I don’t see the person for six months. When h/she returns there is an expectation that if I go deep I will be working through six months of pain, which is somehow more beneficial than coming more frequently. There is only so much progress that can be made in one appointment and coming less frequently for longer sessions is no way to make up for the lack of treatment.

I like to use the analogy of looking at a massage like going to the gym. If you go once you’ll feel good for a couple of days but if you want results you have to go regularly. If you’re dealing with something acute (like a sprained ankle) you may have to come once or twice a week for a couple of weeks before the issue is resolved. If, however, you’re dealing with something like emotional stress, fatigue, or burn-out the treatments may have to be ongoing. If the pain is postural or due to muscle imbalances you will have to undertake strength training and stretches and that will depend on how diligent you are about your self-care.

Once your issue is in a place that feels more manageable, a good rule of thumb is to come once a month for regular maintenance.

Why are you massaging over there, if my pain is over here?

One of the first rules of pain management is that where you’re feeling the pain if often not the same thing as the source of the pain. Chronic pain, for example, often creeps up over time and is usually a symptom of a bigger picture; like an old injury that causes a shift in your gait that put pressure on your knees, hips or low back. Even being right or left dominant causes us to use large muscle groups on one side more than the other leading to imbalances, followed by pain. When muscles develop trigger points they present with a referral pattern so that a muscle in your shoulder can cause pain in your hand. If you massage the sight of the pain, you won’t be successful in treating the issue.

What conditions are treated with massage?

Conditions improved with Massage

Are there things I should do or not do after a massage?

It’s generally a good idea to plan on having a restful day after your massage. Don’t plan to work out or run errands; instead plan to go home have a hot bath/shower and go to bed early.

While it may seem counter-intuitive your body is working hard during a massage. Digestion speeds up, blood and lymph are being redirected, tissues are being challenged, all of which requires energy. You need to replenish with lots of water after a treatment. A hot bath with Epsom salts is a good idea to keep the benefits of the massage lasting. The magnesium in the salts help your muscles relax. Make the water as hot as you can handle without burning yourself and add 1-2 cups of salts to the bath. Don’t stay in the bath for longer than 10 mins.

If there was any acute work done in the massage and there is any redness, swelling or warmth somewhere, then an ice pack is a good thing to use. Wrap the ice in a towel and apply for ten minutes on and ten minutes off 2-3 times.