Let's Talk About Massage!

Berton Quon, R.M.T.


Massage therapy works well for treating issues like nerve compression, postural dysfunction, spasm, sore contracted muscles, and can significantly reduce recovery time from athletics or injuries. On top of all of that, massage therapy can also help to lower blood pressure by relaxing the body and mind and, of course, reducing stress and anxiety.


The purpose of massage therapy is to restore proper movement and function to the patient, and with proper movement comes pain-free movement. Treatments can also include education and suggestions on how to make changes to your work or at-home situations to ensure the most ergonomic movements and positioning.


What specific conditions benefit greatly from massage therapy?

Conditions which would greatly benefit from massage therapy include whiplash associated disorders, muscle strains, repetitive strain injuries, postural dysfunction, tendinitis and tendinopathy. These are just some of the conditions massage therapy can help with, but there are lots more. A lot of these treatments involve reducing tension in tight muscles, minimizing trigger points, and addressing compensatory muscles and movements.


What should you expect from your first massage appointment?

The first appointment is relatively simple. If you’ve never been to the clinic, we recommend coming a bit early to fill out paperwork regarding your health history. Once you arrive, you will be greeted and shown to the massage therapy room. During this first session, you will be asked about your health history, the reasons why you made a massage appointment, how your injury/issues came about, and we will outline a brief treatment plan. During most first visits, there is still a relatively substantial amount of time remaining for actual massage treatment, after the initial discussion and assessments


The first treatment usually starts out slower, as we like to take our time to palpate tissue and understand the condition of the muscles and joints.


How does massage therapy differ in a physio clinic setting vs a spa or massage-only clinic?

Each physio clinic, spa and massage clinic differ from each other, so it’s hard to describe them perfectly. All of the experiences are going to focus on treatment of soft tissue, and all settings are going to be similar in that they have isolated, quiet, relaxing treatment spaces. Differences among each are going to vary from place to place, but very generally speaking, a spa is going to be more focused on your overall relaxation experience. A massage clinic and physio clinic can be quite similar in that they will usually look more at movement dysfunction and pain reduction. Treatment at these settings can typically be a bit more aggressive and exercises may be assigned after.


Massage clinics usually have more therapists, so people may switch up their therapist frequently, whereas physio clinics tend to have fewer massage therapists, so you will typically see the same therapist repeatedly. One additional thing that a physio clinic has that the other two do not is in-house collaboration with other healthcare professionals, such as physios, and sometimes occupational therapists and kinesiologists. This can make it much easier to achieve patient goals when both a massage therapist and physiotherapist are working collaboratively.


How do massage therapy and physiotherapy work together?

Massage therapy and physiotherapy work well together when the two therapists are in alignment with the patient’s goals. After both understanding the patient’s goals, treatment can be done to achieve the goal as quickly and safely as possible. This may be done by the physio adjusting their treatment to include more exercise modalities and joint work, while leaving more of the soft tissue treatment to the massage therapist. This way, the treatment done doesn’t overlap, and the patient utilizes their time in the clinic as effectively and efficiently as possible.


What protocols are in place to keep people safe during the pandemic?

For massage therapy, we’ve continued to practice frequent sanitation of high touch points around the clinic. Similar to pre-COVID, the massage table is cleaned and sanitized between each patient, and the sheets used are sent to the laundry after each patient. The massage therapist is masked during the entire duration of the treatment, and we ask that patients do the same. Also, we try to make additional time after every 2 appointments for extra cleaning and sanitization of the treatment space and high touch areas.