Depending on the technique your massage therapist uses, your session will probably begin with broad, flowing strokes which help calm your nervous system and relax muscle tension. During these strokes, your massage therapist will assess the condition of your muscles and tissues. As the massage progresses various other strokes will be introduced, some which "knead" the tissue, and others which gently stretch the muscles. The pressure of the strokes used will gradually be increased, but is always adjusted to your comfort level (your massage therapist will check to ensure you the pressure or technique they are using is comfortable). A light hypoallergenic lotion or gel is used to reduce friction on your skin. Massage therapy should never feel painful!
Most people feel very relaxed, and experience a deep sense of relief from muscle tension and long term aches and pains. People will often also feel increased energy as their circulation and blood flow improves. Occasionally people will feel slightly tender after a massage due to the gentle manipulation of muscle and tissue which is not used to being worked on. Most massage therapists will recommend taking a warm bath in Epsom salts afterwards to alleviate any stiffness and release any toxins that may have been stirred up during the massage.
The focus of your massage therapy treatment is for you to be comfortable and to fully relax. Some people lie on the table and simply relax and breathe, while others prefer to talk with their massage therapist (however this is not necessary). Do whatever feels right for you, but remember that your massage therapist is there to provide the best treatment possible by supporting your relaxation and comfort.
The length of a massage therapy treatment varies, depending on your goal and what you and your massage therapist wish to achieve. The average full-body massage treatment lasts approximately one hour. Partial massage sessions focusing only on certain areas such as the neck and shoulders or lower back and legs will last approximately 30- 45 minutes. Many people will schedule up to 90-minute massage sessions for optimal results. Your massage therapist will work with you to recommend how much time he/she thinks is needed to address your specific area of concern.
The number of treatments needed will vary and depends on the nature of your problem and how quickly you respond to treatments. Consistent visits at the beginning of your care are usually recommended to correct any problems. Once your muscles and tissues respond and improve, your massage therapist will work with you to recommend a maintenance program of care suited to your needs.
Massage therapy is a healing modality that most people can safely experience and benefit from. As with most modalities however, certain contraindications (health conditions in which massage therapy is not advisable) do exist. It is important to complete a comprehensive health history form prior to your massage, and to indicate any health problems, surgeries, medications, etc. In some cases, your massage therapist may ask you to consult your health care practitioner if he or she feels that massage therapy might not be appropriate for you.
In Alberta educational programs for massage therapists vary from 250 to 2200 hours in length. All massage therapists at Oliver Chiropractic Wellness Clinic have a minimum 2200 hour (2 year) Registered Massage Therapy diploma/designation. This includes training in anatomy & physiology, disease pathology, assessment, and clinical massage for sports and rehabilitation. Massage therapists must pass admissions examinations which test for comprehensive core competencies. In addition to this, massage therapists are required to enroll in continuing education seminars and courses to stay current in their profession.
Currently massage therapy treatments are not covered by Alberta Health Care. Some employer health benefits plans do provide coverage for massage therapy, check with your employer or health benefits provider to determine if you have coverage for this service.
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