Your RMT & You

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.

Your 1st Visit
  • The RMT will request that you complete a health history form and will review it with you prior to any treatments. 
  • The RMT will request copies of any medications you have from a medical doctor as this becomes a specific guide for the assessment of treatment. 
  • The RMT will review methods of payment with you (benefit plan/cash/cheque/credit card etc.). 
  • The RMT will ask you to identify areas of pain and discomfort using your own description followed by basic testing which can include range of motion and sensitivity testing, etc. 
  • The RMT will then communicate with you about the type of treatment 
  • The RMT will ask you to sign consent forms that provide the therapist with your authorization to begin treatment. Do not sign for any treatment you do not want or do not understand. 
  • In the treatment area the RMT and give you instructions regarding disrobing and preparation for the treatment. 
  • The RMT will then leave the room and allow you to prepare yourself. 
  • Disrobing: if you are uneasy about the amount of disrobing required, please discuss this with the RMT. You do not have to disrobe completely. The RMT will advise you based on the treatments following assessment. 
  • Normally you will begin, once disrobed, on the table under a drape prepared for you by the RMT. 
  • The RMT will re-enter the room with your permission. 
  • The RMT will utilize professional draping practices to only expose the part of the body that is being treated. This will be the case throughout the entire treatment. 
  • Average treatment is one hour but can range from 15 minutes to 2 hours. 
  • Communicate with your RMT during the treatment. Ask questions and identify areas of sensitivity. Inform the RMT to areas where you are experiencing specific physical discomfort. 
  • If there is any discomfort that is not tolerable, let your RMT know immediately, and they will adjust pressure or utilize another treatment technique. Communication between patient and the RMT is important throughout the session. 
  • The RMT may use several different massage techniques during the treatment most of these techniques use massage oil or lotion. If you have allergies let your Massage Therapist know in advance and they will also adjust their treatments or select products that do not cause you irritation.  
  • Upon completion of the treatment, the RMT will return you to a fully covered position under a drape and allow you some time to recover from the massage. 
  • Some patients feel a little lightheaded following a treatment and this is normal. Just wait for your body to recover before you get off the table. 
  • When you feel that you have recovered, you can then dress and return to the reception area to meet again with the RMT. 
  • If you do feel any discomfort wait for the RMT to return and assist you in the recovery process. 
  • The RMT will discuss future treatment requirements. 
How long is a typical massage therapy treatment?

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. 

Is massage therapy painful?

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.

Do I need a referral from a healthcare provider to see a massage therapist?

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.

What can Massage Therapy help with?

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.  

Why must I fill out Health History forms when I see a Massage Therapist?

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 “Relaxation” Massage?

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. 

Is “Relaxation” Massage different than Massage Therapy?

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. 

What is “Deep Tissue” Massage?

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. 

Why is some massage accepted by my insurance health benefits and some not?

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. 

Why do Massage Therapists assess as part of a treatment?

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. 

Why is spa massage higher priced than the massage I receive from my RMT at a clinic?

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. 

How do I find a qualified massage therapist?

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.

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