Is massage a regulated health profession?
Yes! Massage therapy is currently regulated in four Canadian provinces including Ontario with the other provinces and territories at different stages of achieving regulation. It is regulated in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professions act, 1991 (RHPA) and the Massage Therapy Act, 1991 with other regulations that fall under these. The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) is the regulatory body for Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs or MTs). Only individuals who have completed the required training and have met the strict competency requirements of the CMTO can call themselves a Massage Therapist or Registered Massage Therapist. You can always check with the CMTO’s website to see if a practitioner is registered and in good standing with the college.
What happens on the first treatment?
As when visiting any health professional for the first time, you will be required to fill out a confidential health history form. For this reason, it is a good idea to arrive 15 minutes early to allow yourself enough time to complete the form and not take up valuable treatment time.
It is very important that this form be filled out accurately and completely. Please keep in mind that the body is complex in its connections. Often something may seem unrelated when it actually is connected to the root cause of your symptoms. Your Massage Therapist is trained incorporate your entire health picture and how it may effect the massage treatment you are about to receive.
Your RMT may also conduct a series of evaluations and special tests in an attempt to identify the root cause of your concern(s). This could be anything from checking your range of motion to something more specific like an orthopaedic test.
Your RMT will then discuss a treatment plan with you to try and incorporate your individual needs, lifestyle, and therapy requirements. They will also answer any questions you have at this, or any other time during your treatment.
How often should I get massage?
There is no one simple answer for this question. There is a myriad of possibilities that need to be considered. For this reason, it is important that you discuss this topic with your Massage Therapist. Treatment frequency can very greatly depending on the reason for which you are getting massage and other considerations like lifestyle and finances. To help you get an idea of what to expect the following will discuss some generalizations. The first will be for preventative care, or a wellness treatment. The second will be in regards to treatment for injuries, rehabilitation, or other types of health considerations.
One of the most common reasons people come for a massage is for a relaxation, or wellness, treatment. If there are no other presenting concerns and you are in relatively good health then it is generally recommended that you come in for a massage treatment once per month. This is a form of maintenance, or preventative health care.
Another reason people often come in for a massage is for the treatment of an injury or rehabilitation. In this case things can get a little more complicated as it really depends on the type and severity of the condition. Most often your RMT will recommend a 60 minute treatment once a week at the beginning and then decrease the frequency as you condition improves. However, it is not unheard of for a therapist to recommend coming in two or three times in a week for more complicated health concerns. In any case, as the condition improves, the treatment frequency should gradually decrease to once per month.
It is also important to note that the frequency of massage therapy should never be such that you are coming in for another treatment within 24-48 hours after your last massage. Many people feel sore for a day or two after getting a massage. You need to give your body some time to adjust or recover from the treatment you just received.
You may also have a chronic condition such as Fibromyalgia or scoliosis. This would yet again change how often you would come in. This is most often handled case by case and can very greatly depending on the severity of the condition, individual needs and tolerances, and of course finances.
In the end the answer is, it depends.
Take note: Massage therapy is most beneficial when used over a series of treatments. There is no such thing as a one treatment cure. Your Massage Therapist’s primary concern is your recovery and the maintenance of your health.
If I am sick (cold, flu, covid) should I still come for my massage?
The short answer, no.
Rules to go by:
If you have a fever – stay home. Re-schedule once your temperature is back to normal.
If you know, or think, you may be contagious – stay home. The first 48 – 72 hours of a cold or flu are the most contagious stage.
If you are feeling nauseas, or have a slight upset stomach – stay home. A massage could make you feel worse.
Getting a massage when you have a cold or flu could overload your immune system. You could end up feeling worse instead of better or even make the illness last longer.
If you do come in feeling a little under the weather with some aches and pains that need relieving, make sure you have a couple of days off afterwards to recover.
No cancellation fee will be charged for last minute cancellations due to illness.
While massage can boost the immune system and relieve your tension it is important to keep a few things in mind.
When your body is already fighting off a virus or bacteria, a massage can actually make things worse. As massage moves fluids around the body it also sends fluids to the lymph nodes. This can lead to overloading the immune system. So instead of feeling a little under the weather you feel a storm come on instead.
You also need to consider the spread of infection. Massage typically takes place in a small enclosed space. This can make for the opportune situation for germs to spread. So anyone that comes after you is susceptible to being contaminated by the spreading of those same germs.
Sometimes the best idea when you are sore, achy, and sensitive is to stay home. Have a nice bath, have a cup of herbal tea or some nice warm soup, and rest. We want you better. So, cancel your appointment without charge and reschedule when you’re ready.
The good stuff:
Once you are past the contagious stage, massage can work wonders on helping you recover. There are techniques that can help clear out the lungs and sinuses from mucus. Improved circulation can help drain the body of the remaining bacteria and virus in your system. Massage can also bring relief to all those sore muscles in your ribs and back after being fatigued with excessive coughing. Massage can also relieve sinus pressure and headaches.
Do I have to remove all of my clothing?
The amount of undress is completely up to you. Massage Therapists can provide important treatment whether you elect to remove any, some, or all of your clothing. All RMTs are trained and tested on proper draping procedures to ensure that your privacy is completely respected at all times and are required to leave the room while you change.
That being said, you will be properly covered, or draped, at all times. Only the area(s) being treated will be exposed at any time. For techniques that require the application of oils, gels, or lotion, direct contact to the skin is ideal. For this reason, most clients will undress to the level of their underpants to allow for the therapist to apply the appropriate medium for the techniques required. There are certain areas that are considered sensitive by the CMTO will require special written permission. These are the chest, upper inner thigh, breasts, and glutes.
You should always let your therapist know if you are uncomfortable for any reason during your treatment. Whether in regards to draping, any pain you are experiencing, a technique being performed, or otherwise. The therapist is required by law to make adjustments.
Why do I have to fill out a medical history form?
The first and simplest answer is that RMT’s are required to have you fill out this form by law.
Next, filling out a complete and accurate health history is for your safety. The therapist not only needs to know what conditions are being addressed but if massage is appropriate for you. There are many health factors that can effect your massage treatment and your Massage Therapist is trained to recognize these factors even when they may not seem connected. For this reason, is important to list all health concerns and medications so that the massage session can be adapted to your specific needs without doing any harm. It is also important to list any allergies so that the therapist is aware of any need to change anything being used during the session.
Your Massage Therapist will take in all of the information provided and design the most appropriate and effective treatment for you. This will allow you to have an enjoyable and safe massage.
Male or female therapist? Is there a difference? Should I see a male therapist for a deep tissue massage?
Gender doesn’t make a difference in regards to the type of massage you can get.
There is a perception that male therapists give deeper massages than female therapists. However, this is a myth. You may get a female or a male therapist that prefers to provide deep or not so deep pressure. The truth is that it is a matter of training, style, and therapist preference, regardless of the therapist’s size or strength.
If you are looking for a particular style or technique please inquire and we’ll try our best to answer you question.
Remember, Massage does not have to hurt to be effective and it is perfectly ok to give the therapist feedback (in fact they want it). If you would like lighter or deeper pressure or even have the treatment done another way it is your massage session and your right. Under law, you are allowed to ask the therapist change, stop, or modify your session at any time.