What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy consists of hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, specifically, the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and joints for the purpose of optimizing health. Massage has a therapeutic effect on improving circulation, mobility, reducing muscle tension, and increasing relaxation.

Overall patient function can be developed, maintained, and improved; and physical dysfunction, pain, and the effects of stress can be relieved or prevented through the use of massage therapy.

What can Massage Therapy treat?

Massage therapy is used to improve and treat a wide variety of conditions, including, but not limited to:

- Stress and anxiety: reducing physical and mental tension
- Neck pain: including tension and stiffness
- Sports injuries: supporting recovery and preventing strains
- Arthritis pain: managing joint pain and stiffness
- Pregnancy discomfort: addressing back pain and edema
- Digestive disorders: promoting relaxation and comfort
- Scar tissue: improving flexibility and minimizing scarring
- Repetitive strain injuries: such as tennis and golfer's elbow
- Circulation issues: enhancing blood flow
- TMJ dysfunction: treating jaw pain and tension

Is massage therapy just for relaxation?

Most people associate a massage with relaxation - this can be the case, but massage has a much broader application than just improving relaxation. Massage techniques can be used to achieve a wide range of physiological responses. For example, massage can aid in:

  • Reducing muscle tension
  • Improving lymphatic drainage (thereby decreasing edema and inflammation)
  • Improving circulation, locally or globally
  • Eliminating fascial restrictions
  • Eliminating trigger points
  • Improving mobility and range of motion
  • Improving stress levels
  • Improving sleep quality

What can I expect at my first massage?

Before a treatment, your massage therapist will conduct a brief assessment and will then propose a personalized treatment plan based on the results and your health history. The assessment consists of various tests to determine the condition of your muscles and joints. Any personal and health information you provide to your massage therapist is completely confidential and will be safeguarded. Your health record cannot be released or transferred without your written consent. It is important you provide your therapist with all the facts and do not omit any health conditions from your health history (which must be updated annually).

Your massage therapist must also obtain your verbal consent to work on any part of your body, regardless of whether you are fully clothed, or fully or partially covered with sheets or blankets. Only the area being worked on will be exposed at a given time, using specialized draping techniques. There are certain sensitive areas, such as the glutes, chest wall, breasts, and upper inner thigh that written consent must be obtained for prior to treatment and treatment in these areas must be clinically indicated. Your privacy will always be respected, and you may withdraw your consent for treatment at any time.

Various specialized techniques using the hands, wrists, and elbows, over the skin or clothes, make up the massage therapy treatment. The massage therapist will work with your level of pain tolerance during the treatment, and the treatment can be stopped at any time should the treatment become uncomfortable.

How often should I get a massage?

This really depends on a few different factors. For the average person, it is suggested that once a month is an ideal interval between massage treatments for regular maintenance to promote optimal tissue health.

If you are someone who is very active and exercising greater than 3 times per week, or you are training for an event, you should be seeking treatment more often.

If you are in the early stages of rehabilitating an injury, you may need treatments (in conjunction with other modes of therapy) two to three times a week. Note: there should at least be a 48 hour window between treatments.

If unsure of what category you fall into, do not worry, your massage therapist will create a treatment plan factoring in your present condition and personal health goals, and will suggest to you an ideal interval of time between treatments.

Will my muscles be sore after my massage?

Depending on the depth the treatment and specialized techniques used, you may experience some discomfort as a result of the treatment. 

Especially after deep tissue treatments or those where trigger point therapy techniques were utilized. Typically in these cases, soreness will set in 12-24 hours after your treatment.

Can I get a massage if I'm already in pain?

This really depends on the kind of pain. If it is just delayed onset muscle soreness from working out or doing something strenuous than yes, absolutely! However, it is recommended that you work within your own pain tolerance. Just like foam rolling, post-workout massage is a great way to flush out the toxins muscles produce after being stressed. Some tips to consider:

  • Hold off on a strong, heavy-handed deep tissue massage if your muscles are very tender to the touch. In this case, a traditional, full body Swedish massage (or relaxation massage) is best because it stimulates blood and lymph circulation, bringing newly oxygenated blood to tender areas.
  • Be aware of how your body reacts. If you are cramping or having spasms on the table, this tends to happen when a muscle is too inflamed and it’s best to ask your massage therapist to ease off the pressure in this area and utilize a more general and superficial approach to this region.

How long will my massage last?

We offer several treatment durations to fit your personal needs, ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours. A minimum of 60 minutes in duration is suggested if you are looking to achieve a full body massage. If only seeking treatment on one area, 30 - 45 minutes is usually sufficient.

Is massage therapy covered by OHIP or my insurance?

Massage therapy is not covered by OHIP, but many private insurance companies cover treatment from a massage therapist as part of their extended healthcare plans. Please consult your policy. The Sport Medicine Clinic will provide you with an invoice to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. 

Do I need a referral to see a massage therapist at the Sport Medicine Clinic?

No, you do not need a referral to see an RMT at the Sport Medicine Clinic - all are welcome! However, you may need a referral if your insurance coverage requires a doctor’s note.

Is the Sport Medicine Clinic accepting new patients for massage therapy?

Yes! Please call 416-865-0903 or click here to book your appointment.