Registered Massage Therapy
Registered Massage Therapy is one of the most effective soft tissue therapies and is often the perfect compliment to Chiropractic and Physiotherapy treatments.
What is a Registered Massage Therapist?
Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) are regulated healthcare professionals in British Columbia. They must complete 30 months (2.5 years) of education in orthopaedic and physiologic health science. Their program schedule includes anatomy and physiology, pathology, neurology, kinesiology, orthopaedics, hydrotherapy, clinical assessment, manual lymph drainage, therapeutic exercise, athletic treatments, medication, surgery, nutrition and pain management.
Upon graduating, they must pass 3 written theory exams as well as a practical provincial board exam in order to be licensed. Their regulatory body, The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia, requires continuing education and upgrading of skills and knowledge annually in order to keep the "registered" status.
In total it takes a minimum of 3 years to become a Registered Massage Therapist. This differs from other massage therapists such as spa-based therapists who attend a very basic 6-month course and are only able to offer relaxation treatments.
So with all this education, what exactly can a Registered Massage Therapist provided?
Most people associate massage therapy with the kneading and rubbing of muscles and soft tissue, which falls under the treatment modality of "Swedish massage". This style of treatment is the foundation taught to ALL massage therapist regardless of their title (RMT, spa practitioners, body workers, etc). It is the "feel good" massage and is effective at relieving stress and general tightness of muscles.
Swedish massage is an elementary level of massage therapy. It s useful for temporarily treating pain symptoms, but it rarely resolves the root of the problem. In example, if your back is sore and you rub it, it does momentarily feel better, but that probably has not fixed the issue.
Registered Massage Therapists are trained in techniques such as joint mobilization, neuromuscular facilitation, myofascial release, active release technique, visceral manipulation, craniosacral therapy, manual lymph drainage and deep tissue work.
Their treatments are effective at helping with:
By breaking down scare tissue. Whether a muscle is damaged due to an accident, surgically cut or injured during use, you would expect that the body would repair the injury site with new muscle. In reality, this doesn't happen; the injury is repaired with scar tissue, which is made from a very brittle, inflexible material. This material binds itself to the damaged soft tissue in an effort to draw the damaged fibers back together. What results is a bulky mass of fibrous scar tissue completely surrounding the injury site, and it's never as strong as it once was. Not only is the strength of the tissue diminished, but flexibility of the tissue is usually also compromised and it can adhere to nerve cells, leading to chronic pain and other conditions.
Research has proven scar tissue to be weaker, less elastic, more prone to future re-injury and as much as 1000 times more pain sensitive than normal, healthy tissue. Chronic pain is the result, pain that could remain for years after the initial injury. Untreated scar tissue is the major cause of re-injury, usually months after you thought that injury had fully healed.
For an injured muscle to regain maximum strength and flexibility, the scar tissue needs to become aligned and integrated with the muscle fibers. Unfortunately our bodies do not have an efficient internal mechanism for accomplishing this, so this is where an RMT comes into the picture.
By correcting (aligning and smoothing out) areas of scar tissue and other muscular irregularities, a variety of Registered Massage Therapy techniques can be used to break the muscular pain cycle at its root, accelerating the healing process, and restoring muscular balance in a lasting way.
Initially, light massage around the injured site can be used to help reduce swelling (3 days after injury). As pain subsides, deeper techniques can be incorporated to help loosen the area and improve range of motion. After the acute phase, cross friction massage directly to the ligament can help in preventing scar tissue formation. This type of deep massage is best 7 days after injury, or as pain allows.
Bursitis can be caused by bumping or bruising, repeated pressure or in many cases, overuse. And if you have bursitis, you already know this: It hurts.
Myofascial release therapy is a technique used by RMTs that releases or loosens tightness in your fascia (connective tissue), the protective layer which surrounds your bones, muscles and joints.
Massage is not medicine and it cannot help arthritis directly, but indirectly, it can help the sore muscles that are compromised due to flare ups. Studies have shown that regular use of massage therapy led to improvements in pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength and overall function of the joints.
Many people with MS use massage for prevention or relief of the following symptoms:
- Spasticity Massage can help relax muscles and enhance range of motion exercises.
- Pain Massage is useful in any condition in which a reduction in swelling or mobilization of tissues leads to pain relief. It can provide the person with MS a chance to relax, and relieving anxiety and fear. If massage is used as an aid for controlling pain, it should be used under the advice of a physician.
- Poor Circulation Massage can increase blood flow through superficial veins by use of friction, and through deeper arteries and veins by use of petrissage (massaging of skin that is gently lifted and squeezed). Massage can also increase capillary dilation through light stroking.
- Pressure Sores Massage may be helpful in preventing the development of pressure sores but should not be used if pressure sores or reddened areas of inflammation are present.
The most common headaches are vascular and muscle tension headaches. Vascular headaches, a result of swelling and constricting blood vessels, are typically accompanied by throbbing or pounding pain. Tension headaches, caused by tense muscles, cause a dull constant pain, often on both sides of the head. Both types of headaches may last for hours or days. Massage can relieve both types by relaxing the tense muscles, causing them to place less pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that supply them.
The therapist evaluates the patient by screening gait [walking] patterns and measuring the positioning of the body to determine musculoskeletal distortion, biomechanical dysfunction and soft tissue pathology that causes these patterns. Then the therapist develops a treatment plan that is based on the knowledge of your body. Deep tissue work and stretching is performed on the tight areas, and strength exercises are given for the weaker areas.
The sciatic nerve is a nerve bundle composed of several nerve roots that originate in the lower back and sacral area. This nerve goes down the back of the thigh between muscles like the piriformis, which is found in the buttock. Tightening of these muscles can cause the sciatic nerve to get compressed and cause pain. When the piriformis muscle is tight, it can spasm, which in turn compresses the sciatic nerve and causes the pain.
RLS is complicated, because the cause is unclear. The main symptom is an overwhelming desire to move the legs characterized by some type of uncomfortable or painful sensations. Generally, RLS symptoms are relieved through movement. Some people choose to walk around. Others stretch or simply move their legs. Another method of relief is with massage. Tactile and temperature stimulation, including massage and hydrotherapy, can be successful in decreasing symptoms associated with RLS.
What to expect at your first visit
After filling out a brief health intake form, your RMT will discuss a treatment plan and the various techniques that can be incorporated into your treatment depending on your health needs/goals.
Our RMT's work as a team
It is our goal to provide effective treatment in a timely manner. With several RMTs in house, we are able to provide morning, afternoon and evening appointments. Feel free to stick to one therapist or rotate through them all!