One of the things that I enjoy the most about being a chiropractor is having the opportunity to work with a variety of health care practitioners including medical doctors, physiotherapists, kinesiologists, naturopaths, acupuncturists and massage therapists to name a few. There are many healthcare providers available to healthcare consumers and all have something unique and beneficial to offer. I commonly find myself working concurrently with massage therapists. The addition of a registered massage therapist to your healthcare team can be extremely beneficial. This post will be exploring some of the important aspects of registered massage therapy.
What is Massage Therapy?
Massage Therapy is the assessment of soft tissues and joints of the body, and the treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain in the soft tissues and joints by manipulation. This manipulation is used to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function or relieve pain.
Massage Therapy is controlled by the same Regulated Health Practitioners Act (RHPA) that regulates Chiropractors, Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Dentists, etc. When looking for a practitioner be sure to find a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT). An RMT is required to fulfill 2200 hours of education in areas of anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, theory, treatments and business acumen at a recognized massage therapy school. To become registered, an RMT must pass a written and oral board exam. To maintain their licence, an RMT must complete continuing education units on a yearly basis.
Not all massage therapists are registered massage therapists so it is important to look for one that is and to request information about their education, training and certification. This will ensure that you are receiving a truly therapeutic massage and that it will be delivered in a safe and beneficial way.
What are the benefits of Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy can increase circulation, increase lymphatic flow, decrease muscle tension, decrease adhesions and scar tissue, decrease pain, decrease inflammation, increase range of motion, improve posture, improve sports performance, increase immune function, improve respiratory function, increase relaxation, increase rate of healing and increase well being. Regular massage therapy sessions can also be used as a part of one’s overall wellness plan to help prevent injury.
Who can benefit from Massage Therapy?
Massage can help individuals injured at work, home or in a motor vehicle accident. Massage Therapy can help ease the discomfort of pregnancy. Massage Therapy can help athletes, factory workers, individuals that work at a computer, long distance drivers, and individuals with stressful jobs. Anyone with headaches, back pain, neck pain, arm pain, hand pain, leg pain and/or foot pain can benefit from Massage Therapy. In short, the answer is everyone can benefit from Massage Therapy!
What to expect on your first visit?
As should be done by any qualified healthcare practitioner you will be expected to complete a thorough health profile questionnaire. This will aid your therapist in determining the main areas of concern as well as providing important information about health concerns so that an appropriate regimen of treatment can be provided. Next a thorough history and physical assessment of the area or areas of concern will be performed. The practitioner should then relay to you their clinical opinion and describe what they feel would be an appropriate course of action. Then upon your approval and consent a treatment is generally performed.
As with many physical therapies it may be necessary to have several treatment sessions to properly address your specific problem. Massage therapy physically manipulates the soft tissues attempting to lengthen muscles, release adhesions and break up scar tissue. Unfortunately, these changes do not happen instantly. It takes hard work at times. Some massage therapists may also suggest certain exercises and make additional suggestions regarding hydration, rest, or the use of hot or cold packs.
A qualified registered massage therapist should be on everyone’s healthcare team. Consider adding one to your team.