What To Expect At Your Massage Appointment
Your RMT will review your health history form and treatment goals in a short interview at the beginning of your appointment. Some massage treatment goals are straight forward, some are more complex and may require more orthopedic, postural, strength, neurological and/or lifestyle assessment to determine the cause of your symptoms.
These details are important and every bit of information we get during this assessment is important for the outcome of your treatment. Its important that you tell us about your past injuries and surgeries, even if they seem irrelevant. If your symptoms started after a big life event that was stressful or traumatic, this could be linked to your physical pain. We don’t necessarily need all the details, if you’re not comfortable talking about it. Just knowing there was trauma at the time is enough.
All of these things help us put the whole picture together, from a biopsychosocial perspective, so we can figure out what’s driving your pain and dysfunction.
Your RMT will explain the treatment plan with you so you can provide informed consent. He or she will give you instructions for positioning on the table and will leave the room for a few minutes so you can get comfortable. In most cases, people disrobe down to their preferred comfort level which could be removing only necessary clothing, leaving only underwear on or disrobing completely. If you are coming in for Neurokinetic Therapy or if you prefer to keep your clothes on to be comfortable, you will be treated through/around your clothing. In this case, please wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move in.
Your massage therapist will knock before they enter and will then provide the treatment, as discussed. Shortly before the end of the treatment, your massage therapist will excuse them-self and leave the room for you to get dressed. Upon returning, you will likely be given some recommendations for exercises or stretches and a follow up treatment schedule.
How Many Massage Treatments Will I Need?
If you are coming in with a specific problem, we typically recommend about 3 treatments, each about 1 week apart to start. You are welcome to book these 3 appointments all at once to ensure you can get in and get you’re preferred time slots. If it turns out you don’t need them, they can easily be cancelled or rescheduled with as much notice as possible (Min 24 hours).
Why? When you get a massage, we are primarily affecting your nervous system, which controls the resting tone of your muscles and fascia, and your perception of pain. The massage is telling your brain to dial down the tone and pain in the area being treated. Typically, just one input isn’t enough to make a lasting change. It needs to be repeated to achieve a lasting change. This is a why your massage therapist will also recommend some stretches, strengthening exercises, self massage, self joint mobilizations or other things for you to do at home. These are ways that you can recreate the same therapeutic input to your nervous system at home.
How long will it take to see results? This is different for each patient. Some people will feel better right away, others will need more treatment and investigation into what is driving the problem. The good news is that even when you don’t have a significant improvement after a massage treatment, this still gives us a lot of useful information. We know that the focus of that specific massage treatment wasn’t effective for you, and we can move on to trying the next most logical treatment focus. We rely on our clinical experience and knowledge of bio-mechanics to make educated decisions about what makes sense to treat next, based on your symptoms and history. This is why it’s important to make a mental note of how you feel after your massage, especially the first 48 hours. Its normal to be a bit sore the next day, but not more than 24-48 hours before it lets go and you can tell how you really feel.
How Deep Should My Massage Be?
During the treatment your massage therapist will want you to give feedback about the pressure or depth and how things feel. With therapeutic massage work, we are aiming for that zone where in might hurt a little bit but it still feels good and relieving. With most areas of the body, if you have to tense up in response to the pressure or depth, that’s too deep. There are a couple of deep releases we do including the iliopsoas, subscapularis, lateral pterygoids and longus colli, which are deep and may be very tender and uncomfortable. You will always be asked to provide verbal consent and lots of feedback if we think treatment of these areas would be beneficial.
There’s a very common misconception that massage therapy should be really deep and painful to be effective. That it has to be, in order to break down adhesions. Our RMT’s all have advanced training in modern pain science and are required to stay up to date on modern clinical research, so we know that this is not true. In fact, it’s impossible to “break down adhesions” with our hands or to make any physical change to the muscles or fascial tissue. The massage is affecting your nervous system which communicates with your musculoskeletal system and regulates literally everything (pain, tone, tension, range of motion).
Who Should I Book My Massage With?
We recommend you take the time to read through our Registered Massage Therapists profiles. This will give you an idea of what to expect from this practitioner. RMT’s in BC are required to complete continued education courses every two years so we end up diversifying quite a bit. Some RMT’s do more swedish and deep tissue style, others are primarily myofascial or craniosacral or neurokinetic therapy.
We have some patients who form a very strong therapeutic relationship and are loyal to that specific therapist and some who hop around based on what their needs are. You don’t have to stick with one practitioner here. Its not like cheating, lol.