Frequently Asked Questions

Ask the RMT

What is Massage Therapy and the benefits of this service?

Massage Therapy is defined as the assessment and treatment of physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissue of the body, specifically, the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints for the purpose of optimizing health mostly by hands –on manipulation. This includes orthopaedic and neurological testing, soft tissue manipulation, hydrotherapy, and remedial exercise programs.

There are tremendous benefits to be achieved through regular Massage Therapy treatments. It acts on the muscular, nervous and circulatory systems. Whether your objective is relaxation, to reduce muscle tension or to attain relief from a acute or chronic injury, a therapeutic massage can enhance and maintain your overall sense of physical well-being.

What kind of Massage Therapy do you provide?

I practice traditional Swedish and modern massage therapy techniques specializing in sport injury therapy and rehabilitation.

I typically ice after I workout. Should I ice before or after I foam roll?

I would recommend foam rolling after your workout considering you are still warm and then ice.

Typically finish your workout session with ice if there is an existing injury and if you suspect inflammation post workout. The application of ice causes vasoconstriction, forcing the blood elsewhere flushing out toxins out of the body. This will reduce muscle pain and spasm limiting the effects of swelling and increasing your range of motion.

My lower back is sore at the end of the day, what can I do to help reduce the pain?

“Back pain” is a generalized term and is commonly used to describe a number of lower back related injuries.

Treatment for lower back pain depends upon the history of the patient and the type and severity of pain therefore, taking a thorough health history and initial physical assessment will help to rule in and rule out possible structures that are causing the pain.

Back pain may be triggered by poor posture while sitting or standing, poor body mechanics such as lifting resulting in muscle strains, inactivity, muscle fatigue/soreness or even a structural injury to the back such as a herniated disc. So ask yourself what could be contributing to my back pain? Is it a receptive strain injury? Acute or chronic?

Here are a few things that can help:

  • Rest – Depending on severity and acuteness of injury
  • Heat and/or Ice – Reduce inflammation and increase range of motion
  • Medications – Help with pain and reduce inflammation
  • Exercise (strength, aerobic & flexibility) – Preventing injury with the goal of strengthening the spine
  • Massage Therapy and/or Structural Manipulation – Can help improve spinal function by decreasing pain and inflammation to increase range of motion and physical function
  • Foam Rolling – Decrease muscular tension and improve range of motion

If pain persists or worsens, more involved diagnostic and surgical procedures may be recommended.

Will I experience muscle soreness following the massage therapy treatment?

Most people report feeling very relaxed and often experience significant relief from aches, pains and stress following a massage therapy treatment. It is quite normal to experience mild muscle soreness post treatment, especially those who require deep-tissue massage, which may last a day or two.

What can I expect at my first appointment?

Before your treatment, your Massage Therapist will propose a personalized treatment plan based on an initial assessment and health history. The assessment consists of various tests to determine the condition of your muscles and joints. Any personal and health information you provide to your Massage Therapist is completely confidential and will be safeguarded. Your health record cannot be released or transferred without your written consent.

Your Massage Therapist must also obtain your consent to work on any part of your body, regardless of whether you are fully clothed, or fully or partially covered with sheets or blankets. Your privacy will always be respected, and you may withdraw your consent for treatment at any time.

Various specialized movements of the hands, over the skin or clothes, make up the Massage Therapy treatment. The Massage Therapist will work with your level of pain tolerance during the treatment, and the treatment can be stopped at any time should the treatment become uncomfortable.

Massage therapy is not covered by OHIP, but many private insurance companies cover treatment from a Massage Therapist as part of their extended health care plans. Please consult your policy.

I noticed a twitching in my muscles while using a lacrosse ball to relieve my tight muscles, what does this mean?

Chances are you have targeted a trigger point, commonly known as a “knot”.

A trigger point is characterized as a hyper-irritable spot, usually within a tight band of muscle. It is tender to the touch and will most commonly refer to another part of the body. Trigger points are activated by trauma, acute or chronic muscle overload and extreme cold, having said that massage therapy treatment and/or foam rolling can relieve tension.

What is the difference between cross sectional foam rolling vs up and down?

I believe they are both beneficial for soft tissue release. Cross sectional foam rolling is said to be more aggressive than longitudinal (running along the muscle belly) which is most common. Remember, when foam rolling, the deeper and slower you go will mimic similar principals as a massage therapy treatment.

Examples: Cross sectional would be used on the ITB/Quad with the objective of getting relative motion between the two structures as they can get “stuck” causing muscle imbalances and pain.

Longitudinal: This type of foam rolling can be used just anywhere on the body – following the muscle fibers ie. hamstrings, erectors

Are there any tips to speed up muscle recovery?

Yes, massage therapy and self myofascial release (foam rolling) will aid in muscle recovery or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This allows for increased circulation to clear up lactic acid which is the culprit for achy, sore muscles.

Hydrotherapy is another treatment which uses various methods of using water and temperature to enhance recovery, this may include epson salts bath, contract therapy bath (hold & cold) etc.

How much training is too much and how long should I allow to recover between sessions?

Recovery is dependent on the activity engaged, the intensity, duration and the fitness level of the participant. The more intense your workouts are the more rest is needed and it is during the rest that the positive changes occur. Exercise stresses the body so give yourself enough time to rest before exposing your body to more stress. Here are a few signs of overtraining:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Loss of interest & motivation
  • Constant muscle soreness
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Weight loss & decreased appetite
  • Insomnia & irregular sleep patterns

What is the proper way to breathe during strength training? 

Regular breathing is very important to remember during strength training. The proper war to breathe is to inhale on the eccentric phase and exhale on the concentric or the exertion phase (while going the hardest work) and inhale as you come back to your start position. You do not want to hold your breath during exercise as this may cause dizziness and a spike in blood pressure therefore proper breathing will prevent this.

Are there any other recovery practices I should include in my daily routine?

There are many ways to implement recovery in your daily routine. As mentioned previously massage therapy, foam rolling, hydrotherapy practices such as contrast showers and epsom salts bath will help. Other recovery practices may include a gentler form of exercise that is low impact such as Yoga and Pilates, or some type of recreational activity that again is mild. Get outdoors and go on a nature walk or hike!

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