Massage Therapy Ottawa

What is massage therapy?

The practice of massage therapy in Ottawa is the assessment of the soft tissue and joints to treat and prevent physical dysfunction and pain. This treatment can enhance, maintain, and rehabilitate physical function for athletes, weekend warriors, those suffering from pain/stiffness, and anyone interested in maintaining overall health. Soft tissues include the skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, connective tissue, and membranes. It treats and prevents physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissues and joints. By treating problem-specific areas, as well as the whole body, the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular, and nerve systems are normalized by boosting circulation. Massage therapy improves healing and recovery to damaged tissues. The massage therapists’ at Back to Health treat many different conditions and are trained in numerous specialized techniques to aid in restoring overall health!

Ottawa massage therapy develops, maintains, rehabilitates, or augments physical function and relieves pain. Massage therapy treats problem-specific areas, as well as the whole metabolism, by normalizing the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular, and nervous system. Massage therapy can exert a stimulating or soothing effect on the nervous system. It can improve circulation to various tissues and organs. For example, it can aid in digestion by temporarily increasing vascularity to the digestive organs; it can also improve circulation through muscle, improving healing and recovery to damaged tissue. Massage has also been shown to improve the movement of blood and lymph to the heart, allowing the heart to beat more efficiently.

What conditions can be treated with massage?

Most people think of the ‘relaxation’ massage when asked about massage therapy. While this is one of the major uses and benefits of massage, its usefulness does not end there. Today, massage in Ottawa is commonly used to treat everything from carpal tunnel syndrome to tendonitis to breathing difficulties. Among the many conditions that massage therapy can help relieve are: adhesive capsulitis, sprains and strains, osteoarthritis, sciatica, headaches, iliotibial band syndrome, Chrohn’s disease, menstrual difficulties, and pregnancy.

What are common massage techniques?

The massage therapists in Ottawa at Back To Health perform Swedish massage, hydrotherapy, trigger point techniques, manual lymph drainage, and Chinese cupping therapy. Swedish massage uses a variety of manipulations, including effleurage (gliding); petrissage, which includes kneading, squeezing, wringing, picking up, and skin rolling techniques; tapotement (percussion); shaking; stroking; and vibration. The uses of these techniques are many and varied, depending on the goals of the treatment. Hydrotherapy is one modality used often by massage therapists. Thermophores (heating pads) are a form of moist heat used on various areas of the body to help relax deep muscles. Cold and ice are also used to help decrease any swelling or inflammation. Trigger point techniques are often used to rid a muscle of any trigger points. Trigger points are a hyperirritable spot within a taut band of muscle or fascia that are painful on compression. Trigger point techniques include muscle stripping, direct compression, and stretching. Manual lymph drainage is used to help decrease edema (swelling) caused by trauma. Drainage is performed by lightly compressing lymph nodes located in the area of congestion, creating a passage so the lymph may drain. Other massage therapy techniques include deep tissue and fascia mobilization and friction therapy.

Are chiropractic and massage therapy complementary?

Chiropractic and massage therapy, used in combination, form a powerful healing approach that addresses pain on many levels. Both long-term muscle tension and sudden impacts, such as falls, can pull and hold joints out of normal alignment. Chiropractic uses adjustments to return the joints to their normal positions and restore joint mobility. Joint misalignments, or subluxations, are often accompanied by tension or injury to the surrounding muscles and ligaments. These tissues can produce pain that spreads because it causes protective muscle tightening in surrounding areas. Over time, tight, inflamed muscles and fascia suffer poor circulation and can develop adhesions that prevent muscles from lengthening completely. Painful trigger points can also develop, referring pain or tingling to other areas in the body. Addressing soft tissue problems is an important complement to chiropractic care. Muscles move joints, while ligaments support them. If a subluxation is adjusted without addressing related soft tissues, the whole problem is not being addressed and the pain and dysfunction may persist.

What is Active Release Technique?

Active release is a soft tissue technique developed Dr. Michael Leahy, an engineer and chiropractor. When a muscle or tendon is injured, an adhesion (scar tissue) forms between the fibres. This adheres the tissue, impairing the oxygen and blood supply to the muscles. This process deprives the nerves of oxygen and establishes a cycle of chronic, recurring pain. Active release allows a certified practitioner to break up the adhesions with his thumbs while the muscle is stretched. The treatment is safe and effective. Thousands of world champion athletes have discovered the benefits of active release.

What are the qualifications of a massage therapist?

In Ontario, the minimum requirements to practice massage therapy are quite high. In fact, the only place in the world with higher qualifications is British Columbia. A massage therapy student in Ontario is required to undertake a minimum of 2,200 hours of intense academic training, where he learns anatomy, physiology, pathology, massage treatment, and assessment skills, to name a few. In addition, the student must complete a minimum of 150 treatment hours with members of the general public. The student is then required to pass a comprehensive exam prepared by the attending school. Upon passing the exam, the student is required to take a two-part provincial exam with written and oral-practical components. Successful completion of this exam bestows the certification of massage therapist, along with the rights and responsibilities of the profession.

What are the benefits of sports massage?

Sports massage can serve three distinct purposes: preparing for and recovering from a sporting event, preventative maintenance, and recovery from injury. A pre-event massage can help heat the muscles, reduce excess muscle tension, and create a sense of psychological readiness. A post-event massage can help lessen the effects of physical trauma, mainly by enhancing blood flow to the muscles, removing toxins such as lactic acid, and aiding in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. This process helps speed recovery.

Maintenance massage sessions scheduled regularly during training do much of the same – relax and prepare the muscles for hard effort, and help with a speedy recovery. By increasing the blood flow to the muscles, massage helps repair the small tears (micro-traumas), which occur after strenuous activity. A massage therapist will develop a strategy that best suits the condition and physical history of the patient.

Back to Health's Articles on Massage Therapy
Find out more about our treatments! Request More Information