Frequently Asked Questions About Registered Massage Therapy

Q: What is a Registered Massage Therapist?

A: Massage therapy is a regulated health profession in Ontario and as such, massage therapy should be performed by a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT or MT).

A Registered Massage Therapist is an individual who has:

  • Completed competency-based education at educational institutions recognized by the Government of Ontario
  • Studied anatomy, physiology, pathology, physical assessment, neurology, treatments, ethics and other subjects
  • Completed a minimum of 150 clinical hours
  • Successfully completed examinations from and have been "registered" by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (the College) in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Massage Therapy Act
  • Maintained their registration by participating in continuing education and a Quality Assurance Program that assists them in the maintenance of high professional standards and quality care of their clients

Only members of the College are permitted to use the title, Massage Therapist or Registered Massage Therapist or the designation of RMT or MT.

Q: What is Massage Therapy?

A: The practice of massage therapy is the assessment of the soft tissue and joints of the body and the treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissue and joints by manipulation to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain.

Q: Is massage therapy covered by extended health benefits?

A: Most progressive extended health insurance plans cover massage therapy treatments when provided by a Registered Massage Therapist. Most do not require a physician's order for treatments, although a few may still have this requirement. Most plans require that the covered individual pay for the treatment and submit the expense for reimbursement. Contact your employer for more information..

Q: What do I wear during the massage?

A: For a full body massage, most people undress completely. However, you may choose to wear underwear. Your massage therapist will give you privacy to undress, and you will be covered with a sheet and blanket at all times except the area being worked on.

Q: How will a massage feel?

A: It usually depends on the techniques used. Many massage therapists use a form of Swedish massage, which is often a baseline for practitioners. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes (effleurage) that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. Do not hesitate to ask questions or mention if you feel any discomfort so that the massage therapist can use another approach or technique.

Q: Can a massage actually get rid of knots (what are they anyway)?

A: So-called knots can be a variety of things. Sometimes they are an overtight muscle. Sometimes they are an adhesion within a muscle or fascia or other tissue layers. Often, however, they are what are called Trigger Points. An RMT is trained to treat trigger points by essentially 'squishing them out', then applying a good stretch and heat to the muscle. Usually it takes multiple treatments to get rid of knots, as they generally aren't something you got overnight. Years of muscle strain, improper posture, overuse, and other factors cause the tension and knots in the first place. Years of over-working a muscle usually take multiple treatments to get rid of.

Q: Will the massage oils used make me break-out?

A: Most massage therapists use hypoallergenic massage oils or lotions. However, if you have sensitivity to certain types of oils or lotion please bring it to the massage therapist's attention as most practitioners have an assortment of oils and lotions on hand.

Q: Is a massage always appropriate?

A: No, there are several medical conditions that would make massage inappropriate. That's why it is necessary that you fill out the health history forms and before you begin your session. The massage therapist will ask general health questions to rule out if you have any contraindications to massage. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking.

Q: How will I feel after the massage therapy treatment?

A: Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days. Since toxins are released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water following your treatment. A hot Epsom salt bath is recommended after treatment, it encourages the release of toxins that may have been stirred up from the massage treatment.

Q: How long do the effects of massage last? How often should I receive massage?

A: The duration of the effects of a massage vary greatly from person to person depending on your physical and mental condition, activities, ability to relax, and ability to heal. If you are receiving massage to help heal injury or to get rid of chronic pain, you usually need to receive weekly massage until you reach that goal.

If you are receiving massage for prevention, health maintenance, or just to feel better, you have more leeway in how often you receive massage. The effects of regular massage are cumulative. A massage every week or two can make a big difference in your overall health and tension levels. Even a monthly massage is beneficial. Make regular massage part of your health maintenance program (along with good nutrition and exercise), and you'll feel better.