FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Massage Therapy
Q What kind of conditions and injuries does massage therapy treat?
A Go to What Does Massage Therapy Treat?
Q What can I expect when I go for a massage appointment?
A On your first visit you will complete a confidential health history form. Your therapist will assess and create a treatment plan for you. At this time it is important to inform your therapist if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications. To fully understand your position your Massage Therapist listens to your concerns and your individual needs as well as other factors that may be contributing to your situation. With your health history information your therapist will develop a treatment plan with you so you receive the appropriate treatment that will help you a return, as much as possible, to your normal activities.
Q Do I have to disclose all my health conditions on the Health History form for my Massage Therapist?
A It is best if you can give an accurate picture of your health and injuries on your health history form. This enables your therapist to design the most appropriate and effective treatment for you
Q Should I eat before I come for a massage?
A It is best to not eat for at least 90 minutes before your massage treatment and only a light meal at that time.
The body needs time to digest your food. This is the same caution you would take when you go swimming or exercising. The digestion process directs the blood flow away from your peripheral tissues and concentrates it on digestive tract. Massage draws the blood flow to the area tissues being worked on therefore draws the blood away from the digestive tract causing poor digestion and possible discomfort.
Q Are there any preparations I need to make before my appointment?
A Make sure you have Epsom Salt (a 2 kilo gram container) at home for your hydrotherapy home care following your treatment. If you don’t have it already at home remember to pick some up. These are magnesium salts and they sooth the muscles and nerves by drawing the lactic acids (metabolic wastes) out of your body during a prescribed hot bath. This bath can enhance the benefits of your massage. To enjoy the full effects of your massage you can plan for at least 30 minutes of quiet time or rest after your appointment. Again it is best not to eat for at least 90 minutes before your massage treatment.
Q Do Massage Therapists have Cancellation Policies?
A Yes, always ask your therapist what their policy is. It should be posted in the clinic. You should be informed of any policy when making an appointment. Many clinics require a minimum of 24 hours prior notice of a cancellation. You can be responsible for partial or the full treatment fee.
Q Do I need a doctors’ referral? A There is no requirement to have a referral to see a Registered Massage Therapist. Extended health care plans, and insurers may require a referral before you will be covered. You need to check with your policy to see if you need one to be reimbursed for the treatments.
Q Do Provincial Health plans (OHIP or BCMP) cover Massage Therapy?
A Currently there are no Provincial Health plans that cover Therapeutic Massage but many work place or private Extended Health Care Insurance programs have full or partial coverage. In many provinces Worker’s Compensation Insurance, Work Place Safety Insurance and Auto Insurance cover the cost of massage therapy for injury rehabilitation. Before you go for your Therapeutic massage treatment your details of coverage should be arranged with your insurance representative.
Q What if I am uncomfortable with my body? Do I have to undress?
A Let your therapist know your comfort level. It is possible to work on a client who is dressed. Direct skin contact is best with an application of oil or lotion. However you’re Massage Therapist is required to cover/drape you so only to expose the area which they are working on. So opting wear your clothes is fine, bring clothes that you can get oil on like a bathing suit or shorts and a tank top.
Q Does the gender of the massage therapist make a difference?
A This is an issue of personal preference.
Q I bruise easily, can I still get a massage?
A It is important to let your massage therapist know (this will be one of the questions on the health history form you will be asked to fill out on your first visit). Massage therapy is not recommended for people who suffer from haemophilia.
Q Am I expected to talk during the massage?
A If you wish to have silence, you should say so at the beginning of the treatment. The therapist may, however, require verbal information pertinent to health findings during the treatment.
Q After my appointment, is there anything I need to have on hand or anything specific I should do?
A Plan for 30 minutes of quiet time right after your treatment. An Epsom salt bath is recommended to soothe and to calm muscles, and enhance the benefits of the massage. It will help alleviate stiffness you may feel the next day, and it is also recommended for use after workouts for the same reason. Make sure to drink water to keep your tissues hydrated.
Q How long has massage therapy been regulated in Canada?
A In 1919, the Drugless Practitioners Act was passed and the Board of Regents was established to regulate massage therapy and other drugless health professions in Ontario. In 1994 the Regulated Health Profession Act was proclaimed and the Drugless Practitioners Act is revoked.
See Associations page for more information on Provincial Regulatory Colleges in Canada. And Association standards in Australia, New Zealand, UK and US.
Q Are there any ailments or conditions Massage Therapy is not a recommended treatment?
A Yes, see Contraindications and Cautions page for circumstances that require your Doctors consultation and other Cautions to think about regarding massage therapy treatments.
Q How often should I have massage treatments?
A A mutual consultation with your Massage Therapist can help you establish a treatment program which fits your lifestyle and physical requirements. Your massage therapist is on your team and is involved with your repair, rejuvenation and in the maintenance of your health. Your choice of RMT assures you that your recommendation for further treatment is being made by a qualified health professional and is made with your preeminent care in mind.
Q Is one massage therapy treatment enough?
A Yes, if you just want to experience massage therapy to relax. However, to have a longer term therapeutic affect one treatment may not be enough.
Take note: massage therapy is most beneficial in both acute and chronic conditions, when used over a series of treatments and then followed up with maintenance or preventive treatments. (Acute conditions are recent, occurring within a week to a month, and can be severe to mild but are sudden in onset. This could describe anything from car accident to a muscular sprain. Chronic conditions are present for several months or years.)