Massage therapist massaging woman

What Is Massage Therapy? How to Find a Good Massage Therapist?

Massage therapist massaging woman

Massage is one of the oldest forms of healthcare that dates back thousands of years. Early references to massage appear in ancient writings from Egypt, China, Japan, India, Greece, Rome, and a few Arabic nations.

To date, there are about 80 different styles of massage therapy that vary in pressures, movements, and techniques.

In Canada, massage therapy is a regulated health profession in only four provinces—Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. Standards and practices may vary from province to province.

The 2018 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey has shown massage therapy is the most used paramedical extended health care benefit in the country after dental and vision care. And over 50% of the beneficiaries use massage to heal an injury or diagnosed condition.

What Is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is the scientific manipulation of soft tissues using manual techniques applied with hands, fingers, feet, elbows, or even a device. The main purpose of massage therapy is to treat body pains and relieve stress.

Woman enjoying herbal back massage in beauty spa

Does Massage Therapy Work?

Yes, massage therapy works. In fact, it is one of the oldest healing techniques that is still being used today. Most western and eastern cultures practice it since time immemorial.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy works for different body and stress-related physical conditions, such as:

  • Low back pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Repetitive stress injuries
Happy couple chatting over morning coffee

Massage can also:

  • Reduce heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve blood circulation and lymph flow
  • Promote the release of happiness hormones endorphins and serotonin
  • Enhance mobility
  • Relax tired muscles
  • Stimulate weak, inactive muscles
Types of Massage Therapy

Today, we can use various types of massage therapy to achieve specific goals.

These include:

  • Sports massage
  • Chiropractic massage
  • Reflexology
  • Chair massage
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Prenatal massage
  • Swedish massage
  • Thai massage
  • Shiatsu massage
  • Hot stone massage
  • Aromatherapy massage
Woman in massage therapy with stones on the back

What Are Good Massage Options for Back Pain?

Massage can help treat back pain regardless of the technique. But if you are looking for special massage techniques to heal your backache, consider:

1. Chiropractic Massage

Chiropractic massage is effective for patients suffering from lower back pain, especially if the cause lies in the musculoskeletal or nervous system like osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

2. Sports Massage

Sports massage is perfect for sports-related pain and injuries. It promotes flexibility and helps avoid injuries. If a sport or workout activity causes your back pain, I recommend getting a sports massage before, during or after the activity.

Shoulder Sports Massage Therapy
3. Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is best used for extreme cases of pain because it goes deeply into each sore muscle. It is perfect to help release scar tissue and tightly knotted muscles that cause chronic neck and upper back pain.

What Is the Best Massage to Relieve Stress?

All types of massage therapy bring stress relief to your body. Two of the best types of massage to relieve stress are deep tissue massage and Swedish massage.

1. Deep Tissue

Deep tissue massage uses slow strokes and deep finger pressure to relieve chronic muscle problems. It is more intense than Swedish massage but does not cause any soreness or pain at all.

2. Swedish Massage

If you are overly sensitive to pressure, Swedish massage is your best option. It uses lesser pressure than deep tissue massage. Swedish massage targets muscle knots using kneading, flowing strokes, deep circular motions, and more.

How to Find a Good Massage Therapist

There are several factors to consider when searching for a massage therapist with a good track record. These include:

1. Experience

Look for a massage therapist who has been in practice for at least a few years. They can address your concerns best. And you can rest assured they can hit the right pressure points.

2. Expertise​

A massage therapist with years of experience might know a lot of massage techniques. Ask what his/her specialization are and if he/she has handled and treated patients with a similar condition as yours. Talk to the receptionist or manager first about your condition so they can suggest the right person for you.

Physical Therapist with teenage boy
3. Credentials

Of course, you want a registered massage therapist (RMT). Ask him/her if he/she is. You can also find and verify RMTs within the four regulated provinces. Head over to RMTFind.com and search by postal code, city/town, or therapist name. To verify the status of a massage therapist’s license, you can use the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) website.

4. Reputation​

While it’s easy for massage therapists and clinics to say they have all of most of these factors, today’s technology has made it so much easier to do background checks. A quick trip to Google will give you ratings and reviews of the massage clinics and their staff and service from real-life customers. Don’t just rely on good reviews, though. Try to look at the bad ones too.

5. Customer Service

The quality of service, whether good or bad, offered by massage clinics is often the top reason why customers find time to leave reviews.

Look for the businesses on platforms like Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp to get a good grasp of the experience of customers during their visit to these clinics.

Through these platforms, you should be able to find out if their staff and massage therapists are welcoming, approachable, and attentive to the customer’s needs.

5. Fees

Massage service costs range between $40 to $60 per session, depending on the type of massage you will get. Payment plans are also available for regular treatments. Most massage clinics offer free consultations.

Know your medical coverage and health insurance policies because some companies include massages as part of their healthcare benefit. This might reduce your out-of-pocket expense.

Piggy Bank and Stethoscope on Dollars
Body Cure Sport and Therapy offers top-notch massage services within the Woodbridge, Ontario area.

Read rave reviews for Body Cure Sport and Therapy on Facebook and Google.

Schedule a FREE ASSESSMENT via www.bodycure.ca/contact.

What Are the Risks of Massage Therapy?

As a non-invasive manual therapy, massages are safe.

For people with cases listed below, I recommend getting the advice of your doctor or massage therapist first. Massage therapists—unless they are also qualified doctors—may not diagnose any medical conditions.

Massage Contraindications
  • Fever
  • Cold or flu
  • Acute injuries
  • Skin diseases
  • Heart diseases
  • Hypertension / high blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Inflammation of the vein (phlebitis)
  • Blood clot (thrombosis)
  • Neuritis
  • Cancer
  • Psoriasis
  • Dermatitis
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Edema
  • Gynecological infections
  • Any contagious diseases
Black Woman With Flu And Cold Holding Ice Bag

If you have at least one of the above conditions, please see your doctor before getting a massage.

How Often Should You Have a Massage?

Factors like general health and condition may determine how many times should you get a massage.

Note that these are general recommendations only. It’s best to ask your massage therapist or chiropractor for recommendations tailored to meet your individual needs.

Man stressed while working on laptop
1. For General Wellness

If you are looking at massage for general wellness, 1 or 2 times a month is good enough to get all its benefits.

2. For Chronic Conditions

Massage to treat chronic conditions like backache, neck ache, and migraine may need a more frequent visit to a massage therapist or chiropractor. Twice a week massages for the first 4 to 6 weeks may be a good starting point.

3. For Athletes

If you are an athlete, a sports junkie, or a high-intensity workout enthusiast, you may have to spend 2 to 3 times per week for a massage during periods of intense training.

4. For Stress

Massage to relieve stress and stress-related conditions like anxiety and insomnia could be done every 1 to 2 weeks.

Get your FREE ASSESSMENT from Body Cure Sport & Therapy.

Call us at (905) 265-0006.

Visit us at 8787 Weston Rd #19a, Woodbridge, Ontario.

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