Massage Therapy FAQ


Relaxation: Regular clothes will be fine.

Therapeutic: Shorts and a sport top, loose fit, works best for assessment of your concerns. If there is an area that was unable to be assessed fully due to clothing restrictions your therapist will advise you on what to wear for your next appointment.


In a word – No.
We can perform most therapy requirements with you clothed. In fact many of our patients prefer this option. Still, many also enjoy the relaxation of traditional Swedish Massage using lotions or oil.

Should you choose to do so, undress to whatever point you are comfortable. This means you may remain fully clothed, you may undress completely, or anything in between. Work can/will often be done through the sheet, even with deep tissue treatments.

During the massage, only the part of your body currently being worked on is uncovered. Those parts of your body generally considered private are not uncovered or worked on at all. If you have any particular preferences about parts of your body to be exposed and worked on or not exposed and not worked on, you should discuss this with your therapist before the session.

In the case of ‘Therapeutic’ pain management work, the matter of undressing and covering will depend primarily on two factors: what and where the problem is and what approach, modalities and techniques will use for your treatment. You will be informed where and how the treatment will be performed, and you will be instructed to undress to whatever degree is necessary for effective work to take place, however we work only within your personal comfort level. It is only with your informed consent that this work will take place.


YES! Relaxation works great for stress management and is a completely acceptable reason to have a massage. Also we never send the details of your care to anyone, without your permission. Some benefit plans require the referral of a Doctor, most do not. ICBC, WorkSafe BC, and Medavie Bluecross (RCMP & DVA) work under very specific rules. Please contact us to discuss your needs.


Be ready on time, and if you need to cancel, please give us at least 24 hours notice. I know the majority of people don’t need me to say this, but for the few that do, take note. If you are not here on time, you will only receive a massage for the amount of time remaining in your appointment, AND you will be charged for the full amount time that you originally booked. This is because we reserved this space for you, and your massage therapist is paid per treatment – it is not fair for them to be paid less because you were not on time for your appointment, especially since someone else could have booked in and been punctual. If you don’t cancel with good notice, you may end up paying a fee.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing, so that your therapist will be able to assess you more easily. For guys who need lower-body work, it’s usually better not to wear boxer-briefs, because they tend to restrict how much of the leg we’re able to fully work on and range of motion for stretching and some techniques. (Of course, if they’re all you’ve got, that’s fine too, we can work with that).

It probably goes without saying for most people, but we’ll say it anyway: shower before your Massage (earlier that day is fine, of course), wear deodorant, and if you’re having your legs or feet worked on, wash your feet well. Sure, we can work on someone who’s all sweaty from just having come from the gym, or who didn’t bother to shower that morning before their Massage, but if we have the choice – we would really rather not.


Massage on healthy tissue usually feels good. Massage around injured, painful, or tense areas can cause discomfort. Tell your massage therapist how much discomfort you are willing to tolerate. NEVER let a massage therapist work deeper than you are comfortable with.

Deep tissue or injury treatment massage may leave you feeling sore for a day or two. Always let your massage therapist know how you felt, so he or she can adjust the massage as needed.

During a massage, you may notice that your muscles are sore, even though you had not noticed soreness before the massage. Here’s why: Each cell in your body, including muscle cells, is a tiny factory that takes in nutrition, produces energy, and outputs waste products. For example, contracting muscle cells require an energy source called ATP, which produces lactic acid. Muscles also burn oxygen, which produces carbonic acid, and protein, which produces uric acid.

If your body and circulatory system are working at peak efficiency, these waste products are flushed out of your body. However, often things aren’t working as well as they could because of stress, tension, too little exercise, too much exercise, medical conditions, and other factors. Then waste products (all that acid!) build up in your muscles, creating congestion that causes pain on touch. Massage, of course, helps clear out that congestion.


A responsible massage therapist asks about your medical history (most massage therapists have you fill out an intake form). Although massage has many wonderful benefits, it is not appropriate for people with some medical conditions and sometimes must be used cautiously.

For example, massage is not recommended if you have a condition involving infection (including cold or flu) because massage might help the infection spread through your body. Massage is also generally not recommended for people with advanced heart, kidney, or liver problems. Other conditions that affect circulation, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, require caution, depending on your overall physical condition.

Obviously, you should not receive massage if you have a contagious condition. If you have a skin rash, know what it is before your massage, because some skin conditions are contagious.

Medications, particularly pain-killers and muscle relaxants (including aspirin), dull your perception of pain and pressure—your massage therapist needs to know your perception may not be accurate to avoid inadvertently using too much pressure.

Information about injuries, traumas, surgeries, and physical activities provide information about where or how you hold tension in your body. Also, specific massage techniques can help the body heal soft-tissue injuries. If you have back pain or certain digestive problems, abdominal massage can be helpful, but it is not appropriate for some medical conditions. Your massage therapist needs to know your complete and up-to-date medical picture to provide informed and safe massage. Be assured that all medical information is confidential.


A trigger point is a tiny area of irritation in a stressed muscle. Trigger points refer pain, weakness, or numbness to either surrounding or distant areas of muscle tissue. The key clue pointing to a trigger point is that applying pressure to a specific point causes you to feel pain or another sensation someplace else. Trigger points result from trauma, exposure to cold or infection, overuse, misalignment, or chronically contracted muscles.

What are the effects of chronic muscle tension?

Chronic muscle tension inhibits circulation, which means your muscles (and other tissues) aren’t receiving the nutrition they need and waste products aren’t being taken away. The lack of nutrition and buildup of waste(metabolite) irritate nerve endings, resulting in weakness and pain. This also taxes your immune system.

Chronic muscle tension also inhibits movement. Movement is accomplished by paired groups of muscles alternately contracting and lengthening to move the bones to which the muscles attach. Chronically tense muscles disrupt the symmetry of balanced forces acting on the skeleton, holding bones out of position and causing misalignment. For every chronically tight muscle, its opposite (the antagonist) is chronically stretched and weak. These unbalanced forces also cause ligaments to become strained as they try to brace misaligned joints. All this makes injury more likely.

Chronic muscle tension also uses up energy, so you fatigue more easily.


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 support injury or to manage chronic pain, you usually need to receive more frequent treatment until you reach that goal. Our clinic will often assign home-care and exercises as part of your treatment program. Compliance with these assignments will help the effects of the massage last.

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 few weeks can make a big difference in your overall health and tension levels. Even a monthly massage is beneficial. Having regular massages as part of your health maintenance program (along with good nutrition and exercise)can help you to feel better.


We’ve worked with many people who were ticklish and we can vary the pressure and depth of the massage strokes so that you won’t feel tickled.


Tipping is a matter of personal discretion. Tips are not required/expected at Cardinal Point Health as we are a medical office and not a spa.