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What is Massage Therapy?

If you have never had a massage with a registered therapist, you might wonder what massage therapy is all about. Massage therapy is the manual manipulation of the body’s soft tissues, including muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and joints. The massage therapist uses their hands, forearms, or elbows to rub and knead soft tissue. The goal of a massage is to prevent, encourage, develop, maintain, restore, or enhance physical function.

There are different massage techniques, and your therapist will tailor the massage to each client’s specific needs. The therapist will use various methods depending on the client’s hopes of what to achieve from the massage.

What is a Registered Massage Therapist?

Registered massage therapy

In Canada, a registered massage therapist is a health care professional who has completed a minimum of 2-3 years of post-secondary education at an accredited massage therapy school. Registered massage therapists are regulated healthcare professionals who must successfully pass both a provincial and national exam to receive their practice license.

To maintain their licensure, RMTs must adhere to the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics set out by the provincial regulatory colleges. The scope of practice for Registered Massage Therapists in Canada includes assessment, treatment and prevention of dysfunction, injury, pain and physical disorders of the soft tissues and joints of the human body.

RMTs are trained to understand the intricate workings of the human body and how it is impacted by injury, stress and everyday activities. By working with a Registered Massage Therapist, you can expect high-quality, individualized treatment based on a thorough assessment tailored to your needs.

Conditions Treated With Massage Therapy

Massage therapists can’t fix everything that ails us, but you would be amazed at the vast array of conditions that massage therapy can help to reduce or eliminate.

Massage therapy is often considered a feel-good treatment for relaxation and stress management. And while it’s excellent for promoting general well-being, massage therapy can also be used to target specific physical and mental health conditions.

Whether you’re looking for relief from pain, improved range of motion and flexibility, reduced stress and anxiety, or help with a chronic condition, massage therapy can be an effective treatment.

Here are some conditions that research has shown can be improved with massage therapy:


  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Depression
  • Digestive disorders
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

These conditions by no means encapsulate the entirety of the issues that massage therapy can benefit an individual. However, it provides a snapshot of the vast afflictions that massage therapists treat daily.

The Many Benefits of Massage Therapy

Woman receiving a foot massage

If you are wondering why a registered massage therapist should treat you, you might want to know all of the benefits that your treatment might yield. The benefits of treatment by a registered massage therapist include relief from muscle aches and pain. We all suffer from occasional muscle aches and pains. A skilled therapist will help to relieve these muscle aches and pains by using different massage strokes that target specific muscle groups.

In addition to relieving muscle aches and pain, massage therapy can improve circulation. The therapist will use different strokes to increase blood flow and circulation throughout the body. This increased blood flow can help to improve overall health and well-being.

Massage therapy can also help to improve flexibility and range of motion. The therapist will work to increase the range of motion in the joints and muscles. This increased flexibility can lead to improved athletic performance and reduced risk of injury.

Massage therapy reduces stress and promotes relaxation. Therapists use different techniques to help you relax.

Massage therapies can improve sleep quality and reduce stress levels.

Massage therapy can also boost our immune system. Studies have shown that massage therapy can help to increase the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infection.

All these benefits make massage therapy an excellent choice for those looking for natural ways to improve their health and well-being. If you are considering massage therapy, be sure to consult with a qualified therapist to ensure you are getting the most out of your treatment.

Massage Therapy Techniques

Many different types of massage therapies are available, each with its benefits.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is one of the most common and popular types of massage and is often used to relax muscles and relieve tension.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a more intense type of massage that targets deep, stubborn muscle knots.

Sports Massage

Sports massage helps athletes recover from injuries and improve their performance.

Trigger Point Massage

Trigger point massage is a type of massage that focuses on relieving pain in specific areas of the body, such as the neck or back.

Thai Massage

Thai massage is a type of massage that uses gentle pressure and stretching to relieve tension and increase flexibility.

Hot Stone Massage

A hot stone massage is a type of massage that uses smooth, heated stones to relax muscles and relieve tension.

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage is a type of massage that targets issues specific to pregnant women to help relieve pain and stress.

Many other types of massages are available, each with unique benefits. These include reflexology, shiatsu, and acupressure.

If you are looking for a specific type of massage, ask your massage therapist what massage techniques they can offer.

Most therapists are happy to tailor their services to meet your needs.

Is Massage Therapy Right for You?

Massage therapist

Often massage therapy is recommended with the consultation of another healthcare practitioner. But what if you don’t have a referral? Is massage therapy suitable for you and your current health condition?

Here are some factors to consider:

Your overall health:

If you have a severe illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or respiratory problems, please consult your physician before beginning massage therapy.

The condition being treated:

If you have a history of blood clots, are pregnant, or have fractures, please consult your physician before beginning massage therapy.

Your medications:

Some medications may interact with massages, such as blood thinners, high blood pressure medication, and osteoporosis medication. Please consult your physician or pharmacist before beginning massage therapy.

Your symptoms:

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please consult your physician before beginning massage therapy: pain that is sharp or radiating, swelling, fever, rashes, open wounds, weakened bones from osteoporosis, and uncontrolled blood pressure.

The type of massage:

There are many different types of massage, such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and trigger point massage. Please consult your massage therapist to see what type of massage is best for you.

If you have any concerns about whether or not massage therapy is right for you, please consult your physician. Massage therapy can be an excellent addition to your overall health and well-being, but it’s essential to make sure it’s the right decision to benefit you.

How to Find a Good Massage Therapist


Good massage therapist

Finding a great massage therapist might seem daunting. However, here are some tips to help you find the massage therapist that is right for you.

The most important factor when choosing a massage therapist is whether or not they are certified. To become certified, therapists must complete an accredited program and pass a rigorous exam. Once approved, therapists must stay up-to-date on their education by taking continuing education courses.

If you are looking for a massage therapist to help you with a specific condition, finding one with experience treating your particular need is essential. When researching therapists, ask about their experience in treating your specific situation.

Another thing to consider when choosing a massage therapist is what type of massage they specialize in. There are many different types of massage, such as Swedish, deep tissue, and sports. Be sure to choose a therapist specializing in the kind of massage you want.

When first meeting with a potential therapist, ask about their policies and procedures. Please make sure you are comfortable with their cancellation policy, as well as their payment policy.

Finally, choosing a massage therapist you feel comfortable with is essential. Meet with the therapist during your first appointment to explain your personal needs and goals. You and the therapist must be on the same page regarding your treatment.

These tips will no doubt help you to find a great massage therapist who can help you with your specific condition by following these tips.

Preparing for Your First Massage Session


Client filling out a form

Before arriving at your first massage session, you might wonder how you should prepare for this upcoming session. Here are some simple guidelines that will help answer your questions and concerns.

First, arriving on time or even a few minutes early is essential. Arriving early will give you time to complete any necessary paperwork and allows the therapist time to get to know you and ask questions about your health history and what you hope to achieve from the massage session.

Another critical point is to drink plenty of water before and after your massage. Fluid helps to hydrate your muscles, which can help reduce soreness and improve recovery time.

Wear comfortable clothing that allows the therapist to access the areas that require attention. For example, if you are getting a full-body massage, loose-fitting clothing is best. If you are only getting a massage on your back, you might be able to get away with wearing your regular clothes.

Lastly, be sure to communicate with your therapist. Keep in mind this is YOUR massage, so let them know if you need more or less pressure, if a particular area is especially tender, etc. The more they know about what you need, the better they can tailor the session to your specific needs.

Now that you know how to prepare for your first massage session go out and enjoy!

What Should You Expect Before, During and After Your First Treatment

If you have never experienced a professional massage session, then you might wonder about what your experience might entail. Here is a brief guide on what you might expect during your first treatment.

Before Your First Treatment

When you book your first appointment, the therapist will ask about your health history and why you seek massage therapy. It is essential to be as open and honest as possible so that the therapist can tailor the session to meet your specific needs. You will then be asked to remove the appropriate clothing and lie on the massage table, which is usually covered with a clean sheet or towel. You will be given privacy to undress and will be covered with another sheet or towel. Only the area being worked on will be exposed.

During Your First Treatment

The therapist will begin by discussing concerns and using various massage techniques to address those areas. Depending on your needs, the therapist may incorporate other modalities such as heat or cold therapy. You should feel free to communicate with the therapist at any time during the session if you are uncomfortable or need to adjust the pressure.

After Your First Treatment

You will likely feel relaxed and possibly even sleepy after your first treatment. Drinking plenty of water following your session is essential to help flush out toxins released from your muscles during the massage. You may also experience some soreness in the days following your massage, mainly if deep tissue work was performed. Some soreness is normal and should subside within a day or two. Massage therapy can be incredibly beneficial to your overall health and well-being. If you have any questions or concerns, discuss them with your therapist before beginning treatment.

How Much Does a Massage Therapy Session Cost?

A man calculating cost

As you might imagine, massage therapy’s cost varies significantly from location to location. However, some averages give you a general idea of what to expect. The price will usually depend on the type of massage, the length of the session, and any unique add-ons included.

A typical 60-minute Swedish massage at a spa will cost around $150. However, the prices will be significantly higher if you go to a resort or hotel with a spa. For example, a 60-minute massage at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City costs $250.

If you go to a massage therapist who has their own studio, the cost will be lower than going to a spa, but it will still be more expensive than going to a massage school. The average price of a 60-minute massage at a massage therapist’s studio is usually over $100.

Finally, the cost will be the lowest if you attend a massage school. Most massage schools offer student clinics where you can get a 60-minute massage for around $50 per session.

Making the Most Out of Your Massage Therapy Session

Expert advice sign

Once you have decided on massage, how can you make the most out of your session? Here are some simple tips:

Before your session, it is best to avoid eating a large meal. You want to be comfortable during your massage; a full stomach can make this difficult. It is also essential to stay hydrated before and after your session.

During your massage, be sure to communicate with your therapist. If the pressure is too light or too heavy, let them know. The same goes for the areas you would like them to direct their focus.

After your massage, take some time to relax. You may want to drink some water and avoid caffeine as it can interfere with the relaxation process. It is also vital to prevent showering immediately as this can remove the beneficial oils from your skin.

Massage therapy can offer various benefits, and by following these simple tips, you can ensure that you get the most out of your session.

Aftercare Instructions

Making the most out of your massage session includes an aftercare process to promote your massage’s benefits further. Aftercare consists of what you do and don’t do immediately after your massage.

What You Should Do:

  1. Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins released from your muscles during the massage.
  2. Avoid drinking alcohol as it will dehydrate your body and counteract the hydrating benefits of drinking water.
  3. Eat a light meal as a heavier meal may make you feel sluggish.
  4. Avoid strenuous activity or exercise as your muscles are in a relaxed state and more vulnerable to injury.
  5. If you feel nauseous, dizzy or have a headache, lie down and rest until the feeling passes.
  6. Drink herbal tea.
  7. Take a hot bath to relax your muscles further.

What You Should Avoid:

  1. Don’t drink caffeinated beverages as they dehydrate your body and make you feel tenser.
  2. Don’t smoke as it will constrict your blood vessels and undo the benefits of the massage.
  3. Don’t bathe or shower immediately after the massage, as it will wash away the beneficial oils applied to your skin.
  4. Don’t drink cold beverages as they can cause muscle spasms.
  5. Don’t eat a heavy meal as it can make you nauseous.
  6. Avoid strenuous activity or exercise as your muscles are in a relaxed state and more vulnerable to injury.
  7. If you feel nauseous, dizzy or have a headache, lie down and rest until the feeling passes.

If you have any questions or concerns about your aftercare, please don’t hesitate to contact your massage therapist.

Additional Resources

For additional research into massage therapy, Here is two excellent resources to check out.

College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, https://www.cmto.com/ 

Registered Massage Therapists of Ontario, https://www.rmtao.com/

About the Author

Clarissa Hildebrand RMT is a registered massage therapist. Clarissa is a massage therapist at Bergin Motion in Barrie, Ontario. Clarissa works with clients with a wide variety of conditions. As part of the team at Bergin Motion she works in conjunction with physiotherapists, occupational therapists and athletic therapists. Clarissa has expertise with sports-related injuries, acquired brain injuries as well as a variety of other conditions. Bergin Motion is dedicated to helping our clients to recover from injury and get back to doing what they love.

About Bergin Motion

Barrie Ontario Physiotherapy

Bergin Motion is a Barrie Physiotherapy Clinic. Bergin Motion offers physiotherapy in Barrie to clients with a wide range of conditions.

The clinic in Barrie specializes in orthopedic, neurological, and pelvic health disciplines.

Bergin Motion treats clients both at their clinic and in the comfort of their own home if they cannot travel to the clinic.

Located in the south end of Barrie, Ontario, the physio clinic boasts 9000 sq. ft., with seven treatment rooms and a fully equipped gym.