FAQ Massage Therapy
What should I expect during my first massage therapy visit?
Your massage therapist will require you to fill out a health history form (please arrive 10-15 minutes early to fill out forms). Afterwards the therapist will begin by asking you general questions to establish what areas you would like worked on, if there are any conditions needing to be addressed and to determine if massage is appropriate for you. It’s very important to communicate clearly what you want/don’t want with your RMT. Please be sure to ask for more/less pressure during treatment if you need to.
Where will my massage session take place?
Your massage or bodywork session will take place in a warm, comfortable, room on a heated table. Soft music will be playing to help you relax.
What do I wear during the massage?
Depending on the primary technique your therapist uses, you may or may not need to undress. 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.
What do I do during a massage therapy treatment?
Make yourself comfortable. If your therapist wants you to adjust your position, she or he will either move you or will ask you to move what is needed. Otherwise, change your position anytime to make yourself more comfortable. Many people close their eyes and relax completely during a session; others prefer to talk. It’s up to you. It is your massage, and whatever feels natural to you is the best way to relax. Do not hesitate to ask questions at any time.
How will a massage feel?
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 massage session, 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/release specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. A light massage oil or gel is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. Do not hesitate to ask questions or mention if you feel any discomfort so that the massage therapist can use another approach or technique.
Will the massage oils used make me break out?
Most massage oils/lotions that we use are hypo-allergenic. However, if you have sensitivity to certain types of oils or ingredients please bring it to the massage therapist’s attention as most practitioners have an assortment of oils and lotions on hand.
Is a massage always appropriate?
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. If you are under a doctor’s care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage prior to any session. Your massage therapist may require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.
How long will a massage treatment last?
The average full-body massage treatment lasts approximately one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet. Many people prefer a 60- to 90-minute session for optimal relaxation. A therapeutic massage will usually cover 1-2 primary ‘problem’ areas. It is nearly impossible to do a full-body therapeutic treatment in an hour as the therapist needs time to properly release the areas of tension.
How will I feel after the massage therapy treatment?
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 massage. Massage therapists sometimes recommend a hot Epsom salt bath that encourages the release of toxins that may have been stirred up from the massage treatment. Sometimes after a therapeutic treatment there can be a little bit of muscle soreness, no more than the type of soreness after a workout.
Will my extended health benefits cover massage treatments?
Health benefits vary from company to company so please ask your insurance provider if massage therapy is covered, how much is covered per treatment, what the maximum benefits are for the year and also whether or not a doctor’s note is needed. A credit card is needed as a back-up payment if you choose to have us try to direct bill for you.
Can I bring my child with me to an appointment?
While we love children, we are not equipped to have children under the age of 12 waiting in the reception area for their parents. We simply don’t have the space or the staff coverage to be able to supervise a young child. We are happy to provide massage services for children though, as long as the parent stays present in the clinic.
Does it hurt?
The quick answer is no. It’s very normal to feel ‘needling sensations’ such as warmth, buzzing, distention or heaviness. But one shouldn’t feel sharpness or pain with the needles. Dr. Stankowski uses only high-quality needles for maximum ease in insertion.
Western Medicine hasn’t given me an official diagnosis yet, can I still get acupuncture?
Certainly. Your presentation of symptoms is very important to our acupuncturists. They will carefully assess your description of symptoms as well as her findings from taking your pulse and looking at your tongue to come up with a unique diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A Western Medical diagnosis can help guide some of Dr. Stankowski’s questions but will not limit the discussion. Lance Smith practices Classical acupuncture at our Millwoods location.
I have had acupuncture before but it was from my Physiotherapist/Chiropractor. What’s the difference?
In recent years, Physiotherapists and Chiropractors have helped bring acupuncture to the masses. The difference from having acupuncture from a Physiotherapist or Chiropractor versus a Registered Acupuncturist is their level of education in the particular field of acupuncture and TCM. Most Physiotherapists and Chiropractors have received a few weekend courses on acupuncture and there is no licensing exam. All Registered Acupuncturists (RAc) have taken, at minimum, a 3 year program as well as successfully completed the Canadian licensing exam. Dr. Stankowski is a Registered Acupuncturist and Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Her education in TCM involves a 5 year Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine program which includes an internship at a hospital in China.
I REALLY don’t want needles, is there any other way I can benefit from Chinese Medicine?
Absolutely! The principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine can be applied to laser therapy, acutonics and most commonly herbs. All of these services are offered by Dr. Stankowski at the Self Centre Whitemud location. Lance Smith does acupressure at the Millwoods location.
I don’t really have anything ‘wrong’ with me, can I still benefit from acupuncture?
Yes. There is difference between optimal health and just being free from disease. TCM helps bring the body into balance allowing you to function at your optimal state. Boosting immune during cold and flu season, improving quality of sleep and helping relieve stress are just a few of the many benefits that come with acupuncture.
Western Medicine can’t find anything wrong with me but I still have symptoms. Can acupuncture help?
Sometimes people can have symptoms that are at the “subclinical” level – meaning they are very real to the patient but do not yet show up on Western lab tests like blood work or ultrasounds. This is no problem for TCM, since one’s subjective experience of the problem is a very important diagnostic tool. After all, Western lab tests didn’t exist thousands of years ago when TCM was first practiced.
Are the needles sterilized?
Yes. The needles used are single-use, individually packaged, sterile surgical stainless steel. After the treatment, when the needles are removed, they are placed in a sharps container to be disposed.
Can I have acupuncture if I am undergoing other Treatments?
Absolutely. There are no other treatments contraindicated with acupuncture. In fact, since the body so complex, it’s best to address an issue from multiple angles. Whatever you find beneficial, keep it up! The team approach always gets the best results.
Are acupuncturists regulated?
Yes. Dr. Stankowski maintains her status each year as a Registered Acupuncturist with the College and Association of Acupuncturists of Alberta.
What are the logistics of receiving acupuncture? How often will I need to have a treatment?
The first appointment is always the longest. It is important for Dr. Stankowski to gather as much information about your condition in order for her to make an accurate diagnosis and then treatment plan. Once this is established, it’s best to get a number of treatments in a relatively short period of time. This can look different for different people and different conditions. Typically it begins with weekly treatments for a couple of weeks with the goal to get to monthly maintenance treatments. Follow-up visits involve a quick check-in with updates of symptoms and Dr. Stankowski will again take your pulse and look at your tongue. It’s best to have a light meal just prior to treatment and wear loose fitting clothing so Dr. Stankowski can access arms, legs and abdomen.
How long until I see results?
That really depends on the condition. Acute issues tend to respond quicker than more chronic concerns.
Does my insurance cover this?
Most likely. Often people have acupuncture covered by extended health benefits and there is usually a separate amount reserved just for acupuncture.
If you have any other questions you would like to ask Dr. Stankowski, please don’t hesitate to be in touch: J.Stankowski.DTCM@gmail.com