Massage Therapy

Relieve Your Pain. Start Feeling Better In As Few As 3 Visits.

What Is Massage Therapy?

what is massage therapy

In massage therapy, a registered massage therapist uses specific physical techniques to break down discomfort in your muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints.

It is designed to treat chronic pains as well as pains you woke up with this morning, so you can sleep better, reduce stress, and relieve tension. Some people get massage therapy just to relieve tension – they have no specific pain areas, but their body just feels flooded with stress.

One reason this effect is so powerful is because deep rubbing, pressure, and targeted attention on specific areas of the body promotes blood flow, which increases oxygen levels in the blood. With improved circulation, all 11 of your body systems are affected for the better.

You will feel great. And you will remember your massage therapy experience long after it’s over.

Table of Contents

Start Feeling Better In As Few As 3 Visits

Overcome Your Back Pain, Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain & More.

Tell us what hurts, and we will treat your pain in the shortest time possible. Get effective treatment for your condition in less than 30 minutes so you can get back to doing what you live… pain-free.

Personalized Therapy Plan

Get a personalized care plan so you can feel better in as few as 3 visits. We use advanced therapy techniques proven to ease pain, accelerate recovery, improve mobility and overall health.

Painhero.ca Expert Therapists

Expert Therapists

Our award winning team of licensed physiotherapists, chiropractors, registered massage therapists are professionals and experts in human anatomy and biomechanics. You will get the perfect care plan to target the root of your pain so you can get back to doing what you love, everyday! 

Massage Services & Treatments

Sports Injury

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Myofascial

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Lymphatic Drainage

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Deep Tissue

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Visceral & Trigger Point

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Book Your FREE BACK NECK SHOULDER KNEE ELBOW HIP WRIST FOOT Pain Consult

This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether massage therapy is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a registered massage therapist over a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation. This session is to find out whether massage therapy can help you get back to doing the things you love in life.

Why PainHero?

Improve the way your body moves so you can continue to do the things you love. PainHero is Canada’s largest network of physiotherapists, chiropractors, and registered massage therapists. Our mission is to makes it easy for you to find the top clinics in your community. We handpick the top clinics using our 50 point inspection based on patient reviews, complaints, and patient outcomes. 

Whether you’re seeking pain relief or preventative care, you can expect our patient-centric approach to be new and different from any healthcare experience you’ve had before. Perhaps even life-changing.  

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Massage Clinics in Canada​

Choose from our curated list of top-rated massage clinics in Canada. Click a City below to get started.

The Ultimate Guide to Massage Therapy

Relief and Restoration from Pain and Injury

relief and restoration from pain and injury

Sometimes, you just need some relief. Whether its headaches, stress, kinks in your neck, pains in your back, muscle soreness, certain injuries, or many other bodily discomforts, massage therapy can do wonders for your physical health, as well as your mental and emotional health.

Here at Waterview, a multi-disciplinary health clinic, massage therapy plays an integral role as we help restore our patients to full health so they can enjoy their lives, get back to work, have fun, and experience fulfilling relationships with friends and relatives.

But who needs massage therapy? What conditions does it treat? How much does it cost? And what happens when you actually show up for a treatment session?

Especially if massage therapy is new to you, you probably have a lot of questions. Today, you’re about to find the answers.

Why Do I Need Massage Therapy?

why do i need massage therapy

The health benefits behind massage therapy are well documented. We’ll point you to some data in a moment. Massage can be preventative, keeping injuries and illnesses at bay and stress under control. And it can be restorative, helping heal injuries, improve physical ability, and overcome pains and kinks.

Some of the benefits you can experience from massage therapy include:

  • Relaxation – reduced anxiety and depression
  • Improved circulation
  • Faster recovery of soft tissue injuries
  • Increased joint flexibility and mobility
  • Reduced stress hormones
  • Stimulated lymphatic system – how your body fights disease
  • Heightened mental sharpness

As you might imagine, the experience of these benefits increases the more massage sessions you do. While getting one massage will feel great, if you want the longer-term health benefits of massage therapy, you will want to make it part of your ongoing health regimen.

It works especially well when paired up with other habits, such as exercise and healthy eating.

But you have to start somewhere, and if you are in pain, stressed, or just frazzled and don’t know what to do about it, giving massage therapy a try might be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

What Is An RMT?

A registered massage therapist (RMT) is a professionally trained, certified healthcare professional. They have achieved mastery of therapeutic massage treatment through academic training and are registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO). They have passed exams, taken continuing education, and are certified to practice.

This is a regulated, trustworthy industry governed by two sets of laws in Canada, the Regulated Health Professionals Act and the Massage Therapy Act.

No one can claim to be an RMT or even just a massage therapist (MT) unless they are a member of the CMTO.

A registered massage therapist can assess your condition, apply their knowledge of anatomy and body functionality, and develop a program of self-care that will support whatever treatment they provide you.

RMTs can be general massage practitioners, but like other healthcare professionals, they can also specialize. Some massage specializations include reflexology, sports massage, prenatal massage, deep tissue massage, and relaxation.

What Happens in a Massage Therapy Session?

what happens in a massage therapy session

Heading into your first massage therapy session, you probably feel a bit nervous. So let’s break down what you need to do in advance, and what happens during and after the treatment session.

 

Before Your Appointment

In the days leading up to your appointment, be sure to drink plenty of water. Massage really works you over and it actually dehydrates you. So be hydrated when you come in. But don’t drink a huge amount of water right before your appointment. Otherwise you might have to interrupt your massage session just to visit the bathroom. That’s lame.

And don’t eat a big meal right beforehand either. That can lead to unpleasant effects. 

Check your current health too. If you have skin irritation, now might not be the time for a massage. If you have a fever or other health issues, wait until you feel better. 


During Your Massage Treatment

When you arrive, your massage therapist will ask about your concerns and current health status. Be honest. 

Talk about pain, tightness, stress, areas you want to focus on and ones you want to avoid. Mention allergies if you have any, and medications you are taking. Some medications can be affected by massage, and not in a good way – such as blood pressure medication. Your therapist can advise you on the best course of action once they know your specific situation.

Once your assessment is complete, the massage therapist will ask you to dress down for your treatment. 

Do you have to undress completely for your massage?

No. Just dress down in whatever way is most comfortable. You will get the most out of your massage if the parts the therapist works on are exposed. But your therapist will leave the room while you get ready and will knock before re-entering. 

If you feel embarrassed or nervous about your body, remember that RMTs are professional healthcare practitioners. They work with all kinds of people and with all kinds of body types. Your health is their concern, and you will not be judged or criticized in any way.

You will be covered with sheets throughout the massage. The therapist will only expose the parts of your body being worked on, and the rest will be covered using the ‘draping’ technique, which is part of their training. 

No registered massage therapist will ever expose or touch your private areas. 

In most cases you’ll begin by laying face down. During the treatment, try to relax your muscles. For the full benefit of the treatment, keep breathing deeply and don’t tense up. 

Massages can go from as little as 30 minutes to as long as two hours.

 

After Your Massage

Once complete, your therapist will leave while you get dressed and collect yourself. Some people feel a bit of a headrush, so it’s good not to move too fast at first. And it’s a good idea to drink some water right away. 

It is not recommended to go work out or do anything strenuous right after a massage. Your perception of motion may be a bit off, so be careful on stairs and while driving for the first 20 minutes or so. Some people also experience some deeper emotions, and this is all normal. 

12 Types of Massage Therapy

As mentioned earlier, there are several types of massage, and some therapists specialize in certain treatments. Many patients don’t really know which type of therapy is best for their situation. When you first come in and talk with your massage therapist, they will determine which treatments will work best for you.

Click here for more details about each type of massage therapy and the specific benefits of each.

 

1. Therapeutic Massage

This is a broad term covering massage techniques that are designed to treat pain. This can be shoulder pain, back pain, neck pain, or really any other type of muscular or joint pain, including from injuries. The pain can be chronic (ongoing), or something that just happened. Therapeutic massage can also treat stress and mobility issues.

 

A glimpse at a therapeutic massage courtesy of Peak Health

2. Swedish Massage

This is often the type of massage people have received when they say they fell asleep and drooled during the treatment. The Swedish massage is a relaxation massage, and is often the first one taught in certification programs because it’s relatively simple to learn.

Its focus is on increasing circulation to get the heart pumping, leading to relaxation. 

 

glimpse at a Swedish massage courtesy of Integra Health

3. Sports Medicine Massage

A sports massage is about increasing physical performance capabilities and reducing the chance of injury – both very important to athletes and ‘weekend warriors.’ The focus here is on releasing muscle tension and accelerating healing and recovery from workouts.

 

4. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

Your lymphatic system plays a key role in healing your body, fighting disease, and removing toxins. The purpose of an MLD massage is to speed up the flow of your lymphatic system. It is a very gentle massage designed to open the lymph nodes.

An MLD massage can reduce swelling, especially after surgery, and is also used in palliative care.

 

5. Deep Tissue Massage

While not meant to be painful, deep tissue massage is meant to produce a ‘good hurt.’ You must communicate with your massage therapist during the treatment to avoid injury. The focus here is on chronic conditions such as tendinitis, injury recovery, mobility, and several others. 

 

Behind the scenes look at a deep tissue massage courtesy of Physio Mobility

6. Visceral Massage or Manipulation

This form of massage focuses on manipulating your organs, with the goal of treating certain conditions such as bloating, constipation, incontinence, and many other conditions that actually originate in the liver and the kidneys. What you think is an injury or a sore muscle may be something else entirely.

 

7. Trigger Point Therapy

A trigger point is commonly known as a knot. This type of massage works at breaking up knots and releasing them. Knots can develop for all sorts of reasons, such as muscle overuse or underuse, and repetitive motion. They can also be caused by anxiety. Often, a trigger point leads to pain elsewhere in the body, such as a headache, but the way to treat it is with trigger point massage therapy, not an aspirin.

 

8. Infant Massage

The best thing about infant massage is the close physical contact, and a registered massage therapist can teach you how to do it yourself. Baby massages can also lead to improved sleep and reductions in gas and fussiness – for the baby.

9. Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy is a great burden as well as a joy. But that burden can be tough to bear! Prenatal massage can help reduce pain in your back and joints, and help you sleep better. The techniques of more typical forms of massage get altered here to assure safety for both the mother and child.

10. Hot Stone Massage

Just like a hot pad, the heat from the stones relaxes your muscles, which allows for deeper pressure from the rest of the massage. The purpose of hot stone massage is to relieve pain and stress, and improve your sleep.

11. Intra Oral Massage

For patients suffering from temporal mandibular joint (TMJ), this very specialized form of massage is meant to improve your jaw’s ability to properly open and close. This form of massage can also include the neck, face, and upper back. It can relieve tension in the jaw, increase range of motion, and relieve headaches that may be caused by TMJ.

12. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization

For injuries to your ligaments, this treatment uses special instruments to treat injuries to these normally hard to reach areas. This treatment has been used with great success on shin splints, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff injuries, Achilles injuries, and many more ligament-related injuries.

9 Conditions Treatable with Massage Therapy

While there are many injuries and conditions you can treat or mitigate very effectively with massage therapy such as asthma, anxiety, insomnia, whiplash, stroke, and gastrointestinal disorders, we want to focus on nine of the more common reasons people turn to massage therapy for relief.


1. Plantar Fasciitis

This foot pain condition makes it hard to stay active. If it gets bad enough, it’s tough even just to walk. Several of the massage techniques listed earlier can help reduce the pain caused by plantar fasciitis if done consistently.

The therapist focuses not just on the foot, but also on the calf muscles, which is where the trigger points for the tension often resides. Your therapist can also teach you some stretching exercise that you can do on your own.

 

2. Rotator Cuff Injuries

A very common injury, the best way to treat a rotator cuff is to focus on the trigger points in the muscles and the tendons. As you may have noticed, trigger point massage therapy has many applications, because injuries such as these each have their own unique causes.

But massage therapy can do far more for rotator cuff injuries than just lying around resting, hoping it gets better. Often, rest won’t address the root causes. You need to stretch and re-strengthen the muscles, not just avoid using them.

3. Tennis Elbow

It’s not unique to tennis players, but tennis elbow can be very painful. It’s fairly common among office workers and is a Repetitive Stress Injury. It can also affect pianists, painters, construction workers, and bikers.

Healing tennis elbow takes a longer commitment to therapy, but it can be done with a combination of massage therapy and targeted exercises done on your own time.

4. TMJ

We mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating, because the injury is often caused by clenching the jaw from tension or stress, leaning over too much while texting, dental issues, and certain other bad habits.

If your jaw is popping while you talk or chew, or feels like it’s shifting out of place, you may have TMJ, and the pain can get worse if you don’t treat it.

5. Tension Headaches

Whether you suffer from frequent tension headaches and migraines, or just occasional ones, one of the most common causes is stress, and massage can diffuse stress like nobody’s business.

Severe headaches can impair your vision and hearing, and affect your ability to concentrate. Massages focusing on your head, neck, and shoulder areas may be particularly effective at relieving your headaches.

 

Behind the scenes of a head massage courtesy of Innova Integrated Wellness

6. Muscle Strains

Commonly referred to as a pulled muscle, a muscle strain is a tear in the fibers, often caused by physical stress or sudden overuse that causes a specific injury. There are three grades of muscle strains. Grades two and three can be quite painful, and that pain can last for several weeks, particularly with a Grade 3 strain.

Because fibers are torn, this is an injury that your body must heal. So massage therapy will not ‘heal’ a muscle strain. But it can speed up the process by reducing the swelling and tension by increasing blood flow.

Also, a massage therapist can manage the creation of scar tissue, so that the scar tissue that forms around the strain is less likely to cause a re-injury. This is a major reason to seek help from a massage therapist for a muscle strain.

7. Low Back Muscle Pain

There are so many causes of low back pain that exist that it would be impossible to list them all here. Often, you can manage this pain on your own, because it is often just a Grade 1 muscle strain. But when it doesn’t resolve itself, massage therapy can do wonders, for the same reasons just described regarding muscle strains.

8. Post-Surgery Recovery

Earlier we mentioned the manual lymphatic drainage massage as a treatment that increases healing. For people recovery from surgery, that’s the type of massage that is probably best for you.

If you recall from earlier, an MLD is that gentle form of massage that stimulates movement within the lymphatic system. It promotes blood flow and helps your body process waste, absorb fluids faster, and reduce painful swelling that is common after surgery.

9. Sciatic Pain

The sciatic nerve runs all the way down your legs. When pinched, the pain can be extreme and can prevent you from walking or even standing if it gets bad enough. Usually, it just goes away on its own. But if it doesn’t, you will feel pain in your lower back, down your legs, and in your buttocks. You may also feel numbness.

Deep tissue massage that focuses on the trigger points is often the best possible treatment for sciatic pain because it relieves the pressure on compressed nerves. It is a far better treatment than taking anti-inflammatory medications, which do little to address the real problem.

How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost in Canada?

Massage therapy is often covered by insurance, but most will only cover it when performed by a registered massage therapist. So as long as you go to an RMT, there’s a good chance your treatment will be covered.

Sometimes you’ll have to pay it yourself and get reimbursed. Other clinics offer direct billing of the insurance company. Some insurance plans cover a certain number of treatments per year.

If you have to pay it yourself, an hourlong massage will typically be somewhere between $80 and $120, but the prices can be higher at places that offer extra perks like steam rooms and snacks.

Do you have to tip your massage therapist?

In clinical settings, especially multi-disciplinary clinics like Waterview where we have treated over 10,000 patients in the Grimsby area, tipping is generally not expected. We appreciate reviews and referrals much more. At spas and salons, tipping tends to be more expected.

If you’ve had a motor vehicle accident, there are specific procedures to follow in order to be sure your injuries are covered by insurance.

Common Injuries Successfully Treated With Massage Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Figure out the time of day you want your massage, and begin from there. If you know the type of massage you think you need, or the condition you want treated, look for a specialist. Most massage therapists see 4-8 patients per day. Use this directory to search for RMTs throughout Canada.

Massage provides quicker pain relief through soft tissue manipulation and improved blood flow. Physiotherapy works on actual injuries and works to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around them through repeated exercises. In general, massage treats pain, and physiotherapy repairs damage to range of motion and functionality.

RMTs are covered by insurance, regulated and certified by government agencies, and trained as medical professionals. You can trust them to care for you properly and treat you with respect. A non-registered masseuse offers no such protections or guarantees of having any skills relevant to your condition.

Book Your FREE BACK NECK SHOULDER KNEE ELBOW HIP WRIST FOOT Pain Consult

This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether massage therapy is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a registered massage therapist over a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation. This session is to find out whether massage therapy can help you get back to doing the things you love in life.