Massage Therapy

woman enjoying massage therapy

Massage Therapy at Forces of Nature Wellness Clinic

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is the assessment and treatment of the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments) and joints of the body to relieve pain and improve their function and prevent future problems.  More simply put, it is a hands-on treatment involving pressing or kneading muscles, associated joints and connective tissues to provide a therapeutic effect towards healing and increase relaxation.  Registered massage therapy is performed by a registered massage therapist, meaning someone who has been fully trained and is regulated by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario.

At Forces of Nature, all of our massage therapists adhere to the highest standards of practice in their profession.

 

What Can Massage Therapy Help With?

Massage Therapy can help treat acute and chronic conditions.  Here is a list of just some of the conditions that benefit from massage therapy:

Fractures
Stress and related conditions
Tendonitis
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
Pregnancy and labour support
Infant massage (preterm/low birth weight/full term)
Edema
Hyperlordosis
Sprains
Strains
Scoliosis
Kyphosis
Cancer
Insomnia
Stroke
Asthma/Emphysema/Chronic Bronchitis
Scar tissue
Neurological conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s
Headaches
Constipation
Low back pain
Fibromyalgia
Whiplash
Post-surgical rehabilitation
Inflammatory conditions like Arthritis and Bursitis
Relaxation!

What should I expect during my massage therapy treatment?

On your first visit, you will be required to fill out a medical health history form, which is kept confidential in accordance with strict privacy legislation (PIPEDA, PHIPA).

Massage Therapists use orthopaedic testing to help determine injuries or disorders of the skeletal system and associated muscles, joints, and ligaments.

Based on the focus of your care, you and your therapist will develop a treatment plan. This entails the areas to be worked on, the types of techniques, your goals, risks and benefits, self-care, how often your treatments will take place and any possible referrals. You have the right at any time to ask questions, change or stop your treatment plan, and a reassessment is usually done after an agreed upon time to examine the progress of your condition.

During a treatment, you remove as much clothing as you feel comfortable with, usually underpants remain on. You then lie on a massage table, in between sheets, on your back, side or stomach. Pillows are placed appropriately to reduce stress on low back and limbs. Only the area being treated will be undraped.

Oil, gel or lotion specific to massage is used. A variety of techniques can be used to stretch and loosen muscles, connective tissue, and move the joints, thereby reducing tension and increasing the range of motion.

These techniques include effleurage (gliding strokes), petrissage (kneading), frictions (rubbing), vibrations (light rapid shaking), and tapotement (rhythmic tapping).

Some other techniques and modalities that may be included are hydrotherapy (applications of hot or cold-water in various forms), lymphatic drainage, trigger point therapy, myofascial therapy, (connective tissue) and peripheral joint mobilization, (passive movements of the joints) and remedial exercise. Some therapists offer additional skills, such as Craniosacral Therapy, Shiatsu, Reiki, etc.

Treatments last between 30 to 90 minutes, depending on what you and your therapist have agreed upon.

At the end of your treatment, your therapist will give you self-care tips and if needed, remedial exercise techniques to help stretch or strengthen the muscles worked on. It is important to adhere to them, as it will help prolong the positive effects of massage.

What are the Benefits of Massage Therapy?

Regular Massage Therapy can enhance a person’s physical and emotional health as well as:

  1. Increasing circulation

  2. Improving lymphatic drainage

  3. Improving the function of the immune system

  4. Decreasing muscle tension

  5. Improving painless range of motion and joint health

  6. Reducing or eliminating pain

  7. Improving body awareness

  8. Reducing stress and depression

Massage releases stress-relieving hormones called endorphins, a chemical occurring naturally in the brain that possess natural analgesic properties and can produce feelings of euphoria. In return, reducing stress-producing chemicals, like cortisol, in the body.

Infants and children also benefit from Massage Therapy. It not only creates a nurturing bond between parent and child, it also facilitates improved digestion and sleep patterns, improved body awareness and self-esteem.

Preterm and/or low birth-weight infants who receive massage therapy improve in weight gain, and are more likely to leave Hospital sooner.

What are the Risks of Massage Therapy?

For some, there can be reactions to massage, like headache, muscle soreness and dizziness, but in order to avoid this, drink plenty of water following your treatment, and take a shower or an epsom salt bath before bed. This will help eliminate the metabolic wastes such as uric acid and lactic acid that is released from the muscles during massage. These and other chemicals also contribute to muscular discomfort experienced shortly after rigorous exercise.

It is important to follow-up with your Massage Therapist, and share with them of any reactions after your treatment, so it is documented and modified for your next treatment.

Some conditions are a contraindication to Massage Therapy, for example, open wounds, unstable blood pressure, bacterial infections, kidney failure, and embolism.

Modifications are made for such conditions as pregnancy, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, post surgical scars, and cancer.

In addition to Massage Therapy assisting to treat acute and chronic conditions, it can also play an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and help prevent injury and illness.

Think of Massage Therapy not just as a luxury, but consider it a necessary part of your wellness program.

References:

http://www.massagetherapy.com/glossary/index.php
http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/micro/gallery/endorphin/endorphins.html

http://weber.u.washington.edu/~chudler/hero.html
http://www.timnoonan.com.au/maspap98.htm
http://www.omta.com
http://www.cmto.com
http://www.privcom.gc.ca/legislation/02_06_01_e.asp
http://members.aol.com/profchm/todd.html
http://www.medscape.com/medline/abstract/15859182?queryText=stress%20hormones
http://altmed.creighton.edu/massage/adverse_effects.htm

Ireland, M., & Olson, M. (2000). Massage therapy and therapeutic touch in children: state of the science. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, 6(5).
Vickers, A., Ohlsson, A., Lacy, J.B., Horsley, A. (2004). Massage for promoting growth and development of preterm and/or low birth-weight infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, (2):CD000390.

PRENATAL AND POSTPARTUM MASSAGE

Massage is a vastly under-used tool for fostering a healthy pregnancy. It can provide an opportunity to experience deep relaxation, relieve discomfort, and at the same time, can reduce fatigue, and facilitate bonding with the unborn baby.

During the post-partum period it can promote healing, assist the realignment of the spine, pelvis and muscles stretched by pregnancy and address the physical strain of carrying and caring for a newborn baby.

AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE

Aromatherapy is an ancient form of healing using essential oils to balance body mind and spirit during massage.

Insurance Coverage for Massage Therapy

The Ontario Health Card Coverage (OHIP) does not cover Massage Therapy, however, patients may obtain reimbursement from their work-related extended health care programs.

Please Check Your Insurance Plans and use your coverage before the end of the year!