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What to expect when you visit an RMT
If you have never received a massage from a professional massage therapist here are some helpful frequently asked questions and a summary of what you can expect from your first visit.
A massage therapy appointment will include some amount of assessment prior to the treatment, the treatment itself, and any post-treatment recommendations as needed. The duration of the full appointment and massage therapy treatment will vary depending on individual needs and preferences. The treatment itself often lasts between 30 and 90 minutes, but shorter or longer sessions can be arranged.
Massage therapy should generally not be painful, although some techniques or more specific work may cause temporary discomfort. It is essential to communicate with your massage therapist about your comfort level, any specific areas of concern, and the desired pressure and/or intensity. Open communication allows the therapist to adjust their techniques to ensure a positive and effective experience.
In most cases, a referral is not required to see a massage therapist. However, certain healthcare plans or insurance providers may have specific requirements, so it’s best to check with your insurance company or healthcare provider to determine if a referral is needed for insurance coverage purposes.
Massage Therapy can help you with extensive soft tissue damage, injury, chronic disease, pain management, impaired mobility, and for general health conditions such as stress, depression, anxiety, and overall well-being.
A Health History is the first step to allowing your Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) to understand your massage therapy needs as well as cautions or what may be referred to as contraindications to treatment. Contraindications are specific situations in which a treatment should not be used because it may be harmful to the person. With this information, along with educated questions and assessment, an effective and safe treatment plan can be developed.
What is commonly referred to as relaxation massage is often what you think of when you want to leave feeling relaxed, to reduce tension, and minimize a feeling of stress. It may be more appropriate to think of relaxation as a goal or outcome of massage therapy rather than a style of massage therapy. Many types of massage techniques can help you achieve your goal of relaxation. The most common are collectively known as Swedish massage techniques. Techniques like effleurage or petrissage when applied with appropriate pressure and direction will contribute to a relaxation effect. These techniques are generally long gliding motions or kneading.
Not when you receive a qualified and administered treatment by an RMT. An RMT will assess your situation and have the tools to create the best possible plan for you whether it is for relaxation or for something like pain relief from a muscular strain.
The term “Deep Tissue” is often used by patients when communicating that they want something more than light touch or pressure. When you ask for “deeper” or more pressure, that is just one cue to a professional RMT that your needs may be more complex.
What type of treatment is right for you will be determined after the health history and assessment reveal your specific health needs and potential risks.
Not only will an RMT ask and be aware of cues for adjusting pressure, they will encourage you to express what you are feeling during the treatment with respect to pressure, discomfort or effect. Different people might request deep tissue massage, but their expectations will be completely different. This is something that needs to be determined with appropriate assessment and communication.
Most major insurance benefit programs will only approve massage therapy provided by a Registered Massage Therapist who has graduated a full program to allow the treatment to be billed under the benefit plan because it increases the effective health benefits AND reduces the injury risks when a minimum standard of education has been achieved by the practitioner.
This assures the insurers and the companies who provide your benefits that your health care is being managed by someone with minimum competencies and who is held to a high standard of care.
For a massage therapy treatment to be eligible for reimbursement it must include a health history/ongoing update, assessment, treatment that is within the RMT’s scope of practice and as appropriate, remedial exercise and/or home care recommendations.
Not all massage or body rubbing is considered healthcare or specifically therapeutic. One key differentiator is that therapeutic massage should include an assessment. An RMT is going to assess and is qualified to determine what type of treatment can be most effective. RMT’s will be able to evaluate other symptoms and correct your health issues more effectively using a larger number of modalities and techniques.
Above all, RMT’s want to ensure we do not injure a patient as some situations could be contraindicated and having a massage from someone who has not been trained to assess this, could result in further injury or pain.
Spa massage treatments are often higher priced than massage therapy appointments in clinics as you are also paying for the atmosphere and other add-ons that come with a spa experience: value added service including light snacks and the time spent in a mineral spa, lounging rooms, or steams rooms.
It’s important to seek a registered massage therapist who has completed the necessary education and training requirements. You can find qualified practitioners by using the MTAM
Find an RMT service or the local massage therapy association in your province, asking for recommendations from friends or healthcare providers, or researching reputable massage therapy clinics in your area.