Finding the Best Massage Therapist for You

A woman receiving a massage on her back

Massage therapy in a nutshell.

Massage therapy is the manual manipulation of soft body tissues to enhance a person’s health and well-being. The process emphasizes better muscular-skeletal mobility over strength training. It is generally used for pain reduction, releasing tension, mood elevation and relaxation. A good massage therapist should be able to help you in one or more of these areas.

How do I find a good therapist?

In Canada, massage therapists are regulated healthcare professionals. A therapist must become registered to bill through insurance, medical benefits, and other forms of third-party payment for massage therapies.

However, the massage therapy health care service is within the jurisdiction of the provinces in Canada and not the Government of Canada. As a result, there will be small differences in the profession between the regions. You can check the directories for your province’s college of massage therapy for an accredited practitioner. You may also ask to see a license, a professional qualification from your state’s regulatory body or membership of the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC), Massage Therapy Alliance of Alberta (MTAA), or another registered institute to make sure your therapist is appropriately qualified for your needs.

Find the right massage therapist for you…

Massage therapy is appropriate for individuals of all ages, including infants, children, and the elderly. Massage is communication through touch, so trust your instincts. You know what and more importantly who makes you feel comfortable. You may wish to have a brief conversation with your therapist before beginning your sessions so that you can communicate your expectations and ask any relevant questions. For the first appointment, you will be asked to fill in a client consultation form outlining any medical conditions, doctors details, plus any contraindications (reasons that massage therapy isn’t advised). Bruises, recent scar tissue, sprains or scrapes mightn’t prevent treatment, but caution would be taken to avoid the area. However, high blood pressure, skin diseases, recent operations, acute injuries or certain prescription medications might prompt your massage therapist to ask for permission from your doctor to continue. If you have any doubts about any medical conditions, please consult your doctor first. You may also undergo a postural assessment, and some range of movement tests so bring clothes that are comfortable to move in.