• Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

  • About massage therapy

    About massage therapy

    What is massage therapy?

    Massage therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. This includes muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints. Massage therapy helps alleviate discomfort associated with

    • muscular overuse
    • many chronic pain conditions
    • everyday and occupational stresses
    What massage therapy techniques do you use?

    I am trained in relaxation and therapeutic massage, and I also use trigger point therapy. Bear in mind that every massage is tailored to the individual client’s needs. We will discuss your particular needs and concerns, and I will use my knowledge and techniques appropriately.

    Shouldn’t I see a male therapist if I want a really deep massage?

    Your therapist’s gender is entirely up to you.

    There’s a misconception that male therapists give deeper massages than female therapists. While some men do give a deeper massage, some male massage therapists prefer not to. This applies to female massage therapists too.

    It really boils down to a therapist’s style, training and preference. Some therapists prefer not to give deep massages, while others specialize. If you are specifically looking for a deep massage, talk to your massage therapist and ask whether he or she offers deeper massage.

    Remember: it’s your massage session. Don’t be afraid to let your massage therapist know if you would like a lighter touch or deeper pressure.

    How can massage therapy help me?

    Massage therapy is a natural healing process that delivers both physical and emotional benefits to people of all ages. Massage can

    • reduce mental stress
    • increase range of motion
    • offer relief from muscular tension and pain

    Massage therapy can also provide relief from many specific problems, including

    • back pain
    • repetitive strain injury
    • headaches and migraines
    • pregnancy and labour discomfort
    • circulatory and respiratory problems
    • post-injury and post-surgical rehabilitation
    • inflammatory conditions (e.g., arthritis and tendinitis)
    • muscle and related conditions (e.g., spasms, strains and sprains)
    Is massage therapy always helpful?

    Massage therapy may not be helpful in some situations as it can worsen certain ailments or medical conditions. Similarly, massage therapy is not recommended for people taking certain types of medications. Talk to your doctor and massage therapist if you’re unsure whether massage therapy will be safe for you.

    When you first meet with your massage therapist, it’s important that you provide your health history and indicate all health conditions, as well as all medications you’re taking. This ensures that your massage therapy will be safe and helpful to you.

    Who can get massage therapy? Is it right for everyone?

    Massage therapy is appropriate for individuals of all ages, including infants, children and the elderly.

    Many massage therapists treat a variety of diseases and disorders; other therapists concentrate on certain conditions (e.g., fibromyalgia). Still others treat specific groups of people (e.g., infants and children, athletes, performers and pregnant women). When booking your first appointment, ensure that the massage therapist you’ve chosen is right for you.

    When is massage therapy not recommended?

    There are a number of circumstances in which you must consult with your doctor when considering massage therapy. These include

    • fever
    • burns
    • stroke
    • hemorrhage
    • blood clots
    • acute lesion
    • heart attack
    • appendicitis
    • hypertension
    • recent surgery
    • acute pneumonia
    • undiagnosed lumps
    • acute inflammation
    • severe asthma attack
    • open wounds or sores
    • sites of active cancer
    • broken bone or fracture
    • unstable high blood pressure
    • local irritable skin conditions
    • advanced heart or kidney disease
    • inflammation of veins or arteries
    • acute flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis
    • contagious conditions or communicable diseases
    • anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction)

    This does not necessarily mean that you can’t receive massage therapy. Check with your doctor. Your massage therapist can also advise you about your particular needs.

    Massage therapy in Alberta

    What does "registered massage therapist" mean?

    In Alberta, the practice of massage therapy is regulated under the Health Professions Act (H-7 RSA 2000) and, as such, is a regulated health profession.

    I am a registered member of the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPCA). Commitment to ethical professional conduct is expected of every member of the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Association (NHPCA). Each member is required to sign an agreement declaring that they will abide by the Bylaws of the NHPCA and comply with the NHPCA Code of Ethics, which addresses fundamental ethical considerations, and more specific considerations of professional conduct. To review the full Code, visit the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada website.

  • What to expect

    Your first appointment

    Where will my massage session take place?

    There is a treatment room in the clinic. Alternatively, you can request an out call and receive your massage at your home, hospice or at a location of your choice.

    How long will my first massage therapy treatment last?

    Your first massage therapy appointment should take approximately an hour and 15 minutes. It includes an initial consultation and brief interview. Your massage therapist will also have you complete a medical history form and consent form. The therapist’s role is to understand your concerns, assess your individual needs, and consider what other factors may be contributing to your pain, discomfort or other need(s) for massage therapy. This understanding helps the therapist tailor your massage therapy accordingly.

    The average full-body massage treatment lasts about an hour, whereas a 30-minute appointment allows for only a partial massage (e.g., neck and shoulders, back, or legs and feet). After your first appointment, you can request 30-, 60- or 90-minute treatments. Talk with your massage therapist to determine what length and frequency will be most beneficial to you.

    You should also factor in relaxation time before and after your massage treatment.

    What can I expect from my first massage appointment?

    Your massage therapist may need you to fill out a health history form. Afterward, the therapist will begin by asking you general questions to establish what areas you would like worked on, whether there are any particular conditions that need to be addressed, and whether massage is appropriate for you. Your massage therapist may perform certain tests to assess your condition and to see whether you have any presenting complaints.

    Your first massage therapy appointment will take approximately an hour and 15 minutes and includes an initial consultation and brief interview. Your massage therapist will also have you complete a medical history form and consent form. The therapist’s role is to understand your concerns, assess your individual needs, and consider what other factors may be contributing to your pain, discomfort or other need(s) for massage therapy. This understanding helps the therapist create a treatment plan to help you, as much as possible, return to your normal activities.

    Let your massage therapist know if you have any medical conditions, ailments or concerns, and be sure to tell her about any allergies you have and all medications you’re taking. Your therapist may ask which areas you’d like treated and may also perform physical or movement tests to figure out which areas need treatment.

    After your treatment, your therapist may explain and demonstrate exercises or activities designed to help relieve pain and discomfort in problem areas. You can use this time to ask any questions and to clarify your treatment plan for follow-up appointments.

    Note: Let your massage therapist know if you have any sensitivities or allergies. Certain lotions and oils may contain these ingredients, and massage therapists need to be aware of allergies so they can use an alternative product if necessary.

    Do I have to disclose all my health conditions?

    To ensure that you get the most appropriate and effective treatment, it’s best to give your massage therapist the most accurate picture of your general health and of your injury(ies).

    Massage, touch and privacy

    I don’t know if I'm comfortable having a stranger touch me.

    It’s completely natural for first-time clients to feel anxious about the personal nature of massage therapy. Most clients feel at ease within the first few minutes of treatment.

    I am a registered member of the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPCA). Commitment to ethical professional conduct is expected of every member of the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Association (NHPCA). Each member is required to sign an agreement declaring that they will abide by the Bylaws of the NHPCA and comply with the NHPCA Code of Ethics, which addresses fundamental ethical considerations, and more specific considerations of professional conduct. To review the full Code, visit the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada website.

    Rest assured that as an RMT, your therapist will respect your feelings and do everything possible to make you feel comfortable.

    Do I have to remove all my clothes for massage therapy?

    Your ability to relax and feel comfortable is vital to the success of your massage therapy session. Traditional full-body massage works best when administered directly, without clothes on the area being worked. However, if removing all your clothes makes you too nervous and unable to relax, remove only the articles of clothing you’re comfortable removing. If you choose to leave your underwear and/or clothes on, your massage therapist will work around them. RMTs are trained to provide treatment whether you remove any, some or all of your clothing.

    Before your massage, your massage therapist will describe the treatment you’ll be receiving to ensure you understand, are comfortable with, and consent to it. He or she will then leave the room, giving you complete privacy to undress and get comfortable on the table before covering yourself with a sheet, towel or light blanket.

    When your massage therapist re-enters the treatment room, he or she will ensure you are properly covered (or draped). Registered massage therapists (RMTs) are trained in proper draping procedures. This means that, during your massage, you will be fully covered, and only the area being massaged is uncovered. This ensures that your privacy is fully respected at all times.

    If the therapist is going to work on a woman’s abdomen (e.g., to help with discomfort related to pregnancy), a second towel or sheet will cover the breasts so the main sheet or towel can be moved to expose the abdomen.

    After your treatment, the therapist will leave the treatment room, and you’ll be able to dress in complete privacy.

    Note: If anything about your massage is not working for you or making you uncomfortable, let your massage therapist know. Tell your therapist if you get too warm or too cold, if the room is too bright, or if you would like lighter or deeper pressure.

    Before your appointment

    Should I eat before I come for a massage?

    The body takes times to digest food, and digestion directs blood flow away from peripheral tissues, concentrating it within the digestive tract. Massage directs blood flow away from the digestive tract to the areas being worked on. This can cause indigestion and possible discomfort. To avoid this, eat a light meal before and after your massage treatment.

    After your appointment

    Is there anything I need to do to after my appointment?

    One of the most effective ways to release toxins from your system is through sweating.

    Plan for at least 30 minutes of quiet time or rest after your appointment.

    Massage therapy releases toxins and metabolic wastes from your soft tissues. You should therefore drink plenty of water after your massage.

    Be sure to have a large container (2 kilograms) of Epsom salt at home so you can use it in your bath after your treatment. Epsom salt is a magnesium salt that soothes the muscles and nerves by drawing lactic acids and metabolic wastes out of your body during a hot bath. Dry, wet or infrared saunas are also great ways to draw out toxins.

    Your treatment plan

    Is one massage therapy treatment enough?

    If you simply want to experience massage therapy for relaxation, one treatment is usually enough. However, if you’re looking to address a specific condition or injury, you may need a treatment plan of several appointments to reach the desired therapeutic effect and help you return, as much as possible, to your normal activities.

    How often will I need treatments?

    Every ailment, injury or health condition is as unique as each person. Some people need only a few massage treatments to address a particular problem, while others use massage therapy on an ongoing basis as part of their proactive and preventative health care.

    Your body is the best indicator of what you need. If you’re looking for general relaxation, a massage every three to six weeks may be all you need. However, if you’re looking to treat a particular condition or injury, it may be better to go more often at first and less often over time.

    Talk to your massage therapist after your first appointment, when he or she has had a chance to evaluate your muscles and connective tissues.

    How do you feel?

    What does massage therapy feel like?

    There is no one definitive answer: massage therapy will feel different depending on the technique or techniques used. Most massages start with broad, flowing strokes (known as effleurage) that help calm the nervous system and relax muscle tension.

    As your body begins to relax, your massage therapist will gradually increase pressure to relax specific areas and relieve muscle tension. This deep tissue work is called petrissage.

    To allow their hands to glide over the skin and massage muscles without causing excessive friction or discomfort, most massage therapists use a light oil or lotion. Be sure to let your therapist know if you have allergies or sensitivities: if you’re likely to react to any of the ingredients, your therapist can select an alternative product.

    Note: If anything about your massage is not working for you or making you uncomfortable, let your massage therapist know. Tell your therapist if you get too warm or too cold, if the room is too bright, or if you would like lighter or deeper pressure.

    Does massage therapy hurt?

    There is no one definitive answer: massage therapy will feel different depending on the technique or techniques used. Relaxation massage doesn’t probe too deeply into the muscles and shouldn’t hurt.

    Because it affects soft tissue, massage therapy can cause light discomfort. Nevertheless, there is a difference between discomfort associated with the release of muscle tension and physical pain. Massage is intended to work with the body’s natural response, rather than against it. Good massage, even deep tissue massage and therapeutic massage, should relax muscle tension without causing undue pain.

    Pain can indicate that muscle is injured or inflamed, and pressure should be adjusted accordingly. Pain can also cause you to tense and tighten up, negating the relaxing effect of the massage.

    Discomfort usually diminishes, and most people report feeling very relaxed after massage. They often experience marked relief from aches, pains and stress after a treatment. However, some people, particularly those who require therapeutic or deep tissue massage, experience mild muscle soreness. This can last a day or two. Once the soreness is gone, these clients often notice increased energy levels and a greater range of motion.

    Your massage therapist should not initiate any treatment without first discussing it with you and getting your consent. Your therapist will also work with you to establish a comfort scale and will work to your tolerance level.

    Note: If anything about your massage is not working for you or making you uncomfortable, let your massage therapist know. Tell your therapist if you would like lighter or deeper pressure. You can stop or change the treatment at any time, and your therapist will modify the technique(s) used to meet your needs.

    How will I feel after my massage?

    Most people feel very relaxed after massage therapy treatment. Some experience significant relief from long term aches and pains associated with tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling lethargic, clients often report increased energy levels, and greater awareness and productivity.

    If you’re unfamiliar with massage therapy or haven’t been for a massage in a while, you may experience soreness in the areas treated. This may feel similar to the soreness you feel after exercise and should go away within a day or two. If it doesn’t, let your massage therapist know.

    Epsom salt can help with stiffness and soreness. Be sure to have a large container (2 kilograms) of Epsom salt at home so you can use it in your bath after your treatment. Epsom salt is a magnesium salt that soothes the muscles and nerves by drawing lactic acids and metabolic wastes out of your body during a hot bath.

    Payment and billing

    Can I pay by credit card or debit card?

    No. We only accept cash or cheque. Bank machines from most major banks are within walking distance of the clinic.

    Will my extended health care plan cover massage therapy?

    Most extended health care plans and health spending accounts include massage therapy. Check with your provider, and ask whether you need a doctor’s referral.

    Do you offer massage gift certificates?

    You bet! Why not get a gift certificate to show someone how much you care? Contact me for more information.

    Do I need to make an appointment and how do I book one?

    Yes. All appointments must be booked in advance. Call or book online.

    I may be able to take your call, or we may be working with a client. If you reach my voicemail, rest assured that your call is important to me. Please leave a detailed message telling me which weekday you’d like, your preferred time, and how long a session (30, 60 or 90 minutes) you’d like. Also be sure to let me know whether you’d like an in-clinic visit or an out call.

    I retrieve our messages frequently and will call you as soon as possible to confirm your appointment.

    If you prefer, you can also reach me via email.

    Do I need a doctor’s referral?

    Although you don’t need to have a referral to see a registered massage therapist, your extended health care plan may require that you have one before you can submit a reimbursement claim.

    Check with your provider to see whether massage therapy is covered and whether you need a doctor’s referral.

    Does Alberta Health Care cover massage therapy?

    No. Alberta Health Care doesn’t cover massage therapy. However, many workplace or extended health care plans do include partial, if not full, coverage for massage therapy.

    Check with your extended health care provider to see whether your coverage includes massage therapy.

    Can you directly bill my insurance provider?

    Direct billing is available for massage if you are covered through one of these health benefit providers.

    • Alberta Blue Cross
    • Chamber of Commerce
    • Cowan
    • Desjardins
    • Great-West Life
    • Industrial Alliance
    • Johnson Johnston Group
    • Manulife
    • Maximum Benefit
    • Standard Life
    • Sun Life
    Do you have a late cancellation (missed appointment) fee?

    Let me know if you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment. I require a minimum 24 hours' notice. This allows me time to arrange for someone else to take that appointment slot.

    Note: A partial session fee will be charged if cancellation notification is received less than 24 hours before your scheduled appointment. A full session fee will be charged if you cancel up to 6 hours before your scheduled appointment.