Vicars School of Massage Therapy is proud to announce that we have been granted full national accreditation status for both our Edmonton and Calgary campuses.

By granting full accreditation status to both, the Canadian Massage Therapy Council for Accreditation is recognizing that Vicars School of Massage Therapy meets Canada’s highest standards for massage therapy education.

The CMTCA is the independent agency that evaluates massage programs across the country to determine whether they meet rigorous curriculum and delivery standards.

Why does accreditation matter, and who benefits?

“This is a major achievement for our school,” says Maryhelen Vicars, the school’s president. “It will have significant long-term benefits for our students, our clients, and the massage therapy profession in Alberta.”

We expect that future Vicars graduates will be in even greater demand because of this announcement. Holding a diploma from an accredited program will help them stand out to employers and clients who want an RMT with a comprehensive and competency-based massage therapy education.

The announcement is also great news for people who are still dreaming of beginning a career in massage therapy, and are trying to decide which of Alberta’s massage therapy programs is the right choice for them.

“People shouldn’t only have to rely on what the admissions reps from each school tell them when they’re researching a new career,” says Vicars admissions coordinator Corrina Cornforth. “Being able to rely on unbiased sources like the CMTCA nationally and the MTAA locally means they can be confident about their choice of school.”

What is national accreditation and how did we get there?

“Becoming accredited is a landmark for our school,” says Maryhelen. “This is the result of more than two decades of commitment to providing the most up-to-date and effective massage therapy education possible.”

To determine whether they deserve to be accredited, the CMTCA evaluates a school’s performance in seven important categories: curriculum content; faculty and learning; student support; resources and infrastructure; leadership and administration; human resources; and quality improvement.

The curriculum standard is based on national standards for massage education in regulated provinces. The first version of these standards was published in 2012, just after Vicars School celebrated its 10th anniversary. We immediately took the opportunity to update our curriculum to meet these standards (though there weren’t too many changes needed, we’re proud to say). We did the same thing in 2016, when the standards were revised. Our curriculum is updated every year to make sure our students are learning the most up-to-date information and have access to the best resources.

This latest recognition from the CMTCA is a vindication of our commitment to our students, over and above what we’re required to do in Alberta.

“This kind of objective assessment—from an expert organization like the CMTCA—would be an important stamp of approval for any Canadian massage program,” explains Maryhelen. “But it’s even more important here in Alberta where massage therapy and massage education are not regulated by the government.”

In some Canadian provinces (such as BC and Newfoundland) massage therapy is a regulated health care profession, and massage therapists and massage schools are governed by a regulatory authority (called a professional college). Those regulatory groups work with accrediting agencies like the CMTCA to ensure that all schools in their province meet the national standards.

In non-regulated provinces like Alberta, however, there isn’t a professional college. Schools don’t have to meet any massage-specific curriculum or quality standards. Some of the professional associations that oversee RMTs—like the Massage Therapist Association of Alberta—have created education benchmarks, but they are not mandatory.

The absence of regulation has meant that the content and quality of massage therapy education in Alberta varies widely. This has made it very difficult for prospective massage students to know if a particular school will prepare them for a modern, successful massage therapy career.

What’s next?

Now that Vicars school has achieved accreditation, we will continue to support efforts toward the regulation of massage therapy in Alberta.

“The reason that we applied for accreditation in the first place is that having national standards is important,” says Maryhelen. “They exist to keep our clients and students safe, and to elevate our profession. We don’t think that any school should be able to opt out of meeting them—which is why they should be enforced at a provincial level.

“And in the meantime, we’re pleased to have earned this latest badge of quality from the CMTCA.”

What is sports massage and how is it different from the type of massage therapy that most people are familiar with? Can someone who isn’t a professional athlete benefit from a sports massage? How does a massage therapist become a sports massage specialist?

To answer those questions, we spoke with three registered massage therapists (RMTs), all of whom teach at Vicars School of Massage Therapy, and who have made sports massage an important part of their practice.

Tonia Vipler teaches at our Calgary campus. She has always been interested in body mechanics and athletic recovery—she’s a life-long athlete and trained as a kinesiologist before becoming an RMT—so incorporating sports massage into her practice was a natural fit. She has noticed that the general public (and even some athletes) are often uncertain of just what sports massage. So she explains it to her clients as a massage treatment that is specifically focused on the muscles and muscle areas that are most commonly used by athletes in their sport.

Earlier in her massage career, Tonia worked both as a massage therapist and personal trainer, with clients overlapping between the two disciplines. That’s when her work in sports massage started. Nowadays, her practice is with ‘everyday athletes,’ such as people who are training for a marathon, Iron Man, or cycling trip.

A big part of Tonia’s practice is educating clients about their bodies, and why it’s important to incorporate massage into their training schedule. Rather than coming to her for the first time when they are injured, Tonia wants to make people aware that massage is a tool that can be incorporated into their athletic schedule from the start, in the same way they would optimize their diet and sleep to maximize performance and prevent injury.

“I like to remind people who aren’t professional athletes that sports massage could be part of their journey to prevent any injuries,” she says. She also offers mobile massage and finds her clientele is shifting to include more families with younger athletes. “Right now, I work with younger kids, teaching them that massage is a really good tool for their athletic journey throughout their lives.”

Tonia describes the techniques used in sports massage as the same techniques that students learn at Vicars School of Massage Therapy. The key is how, and when, techniques are used. Sports massage often requires more dynamic movement in the massage than a relaxation massage, using more vigorous muscle stripping, stretching, and myofascial techniques.

Edmonton instructor Kerri Wagensveld agrees.

“The techniques I use are not specific to sports massage,” she says. “For example, compressions, which I use as an opening technique to help relax my client and prepare their muscles for deeper work, is a very foundational technique that we teach our first-year students.”

Kerri has always been interested in sports massage. After she graduated from Vicars, she was mentored by sports massage specialist Kip Petch at St. Albert’s Active Life Centre. She still works there, as well as at Active Physioworks Magrath in South Edmonton, where her clientele includes many types of athletes, among them ultramarathoners like herself. She is a member of the Canadian Sports Massage Therapist Association (CSMTA), a nationally recognized organization that offers courses and conferences for ongoing learning in the specialty. Joining the CSMTA requires RMT certification, a Standard First Aid certificate with CPR, completion of the CSMTA Advanced Sport Massage Course, among other requirements. Members of CSMTA are often selected to be part of the core medical team serving athletes at major sporting events such as the Olympics.

For Kerri, a huge part of practicing sports massage is understanding that it’s not only about the needs of the physical body.

“It’s knowing how to respond to an athlete to help them prepare mentally and being part of their team in preparation for their performance,” she says.

While most Kerri’s practice is in the clinic, she loves being out in the sports field whenever she can. But that’s not for everyone: “At a sporting event, you’re constantly dealing with dirt and sweat, depending on the sport you’re working with,” she says. “It can be a messy, stinky situation so you have to be OK working with that and being prepared to do a lot of cleaning of both you, your environment, and your equipment.”

At Vicars, we try to introduce our students to as many different facets of the massage therapy profession. That includes organizing outreach opportunities at sporting events.

Instructor Marci Terpsma has been the main organizer of our Edmonton outreach program for many years.

“We take the students off campus to 10K and 5K runs and ultramarathons to expose them to different aspects of our job,” she says. “When they’re on the field they have to think critically and quickly and take what they learned in class and put that knowledge into practice in the moment.”

That quick decision-making is more important, in Marci’s experience, than the potential physical mismatch between an RMT and an athlete. “You can be the tiniest of therapists dealing with the strongest of men and it’s all about the RMT assessing what needs to be done and just doing it,” she says. Sports massage often concentrates on a target muscle group. “If it’s a softball player, I’m more focused on shoulders and arms and if it’s a hockey player, then the legs,” she says. “And if it’s a pre-event massage it’s very focused on a specific area for 10 to 15 minutes.”

Marci runs REVIVE Health & Wellness Studio in Beaumont, where 15 of the 16 RMTs are Vicars graduates. Outside of the clinic, she works with higher level athletes on sports teams, including a competitive girls’ softball team who travel to competitions around Canada. Most of her work is maintaining the athletes’ bodies, preparing them pre-event to increase flexibility and range of motion, and working with injuries and recovery. Echoing Tonia and Kerri, Marci says the same principles of massage are involved whether she’s giving a relaxation or deep tissue massage.

As the age of competitive athletes is getting younger, Marci is finding that the parents of these athletes are much more educated about the benefits of massage to their children’s athletic goals and overall health, than parents were a decade ago. As sports massage therapy carves out a place for itself alongside other components of an athlete’s program, Marci finds herself in a fortunate position.

“I am always right up there with my knowledge thanks to our curriculum at Vicars,” she says. “What I learn is exactly what I am teaching students.” She’s the go-to person at her clinic for questions about particular approaches or treatment modality for clients because of her up-to-date knowledge.

While research on sports massage and its physiological benefits lags far behind the field’s burgeoning popularity, all three RMTs passionately endorse its benefits to athletic wellbeing that they have observed and experienced. And their passion directly benefits Vicars students.

“The quality of education at Vicars is second to none, largely because the instructors are passionate about what they do,” says Marci. “That’s easy to convey to students and that leads to a level of education where we expect the best from students.”


Does helping marathon runners, volleyball teams, or rock climbers achieve their goals sound like your dream career? Contact our friendly admissions team by calling us toll-free at 1-866-491-0574, or sign up for a virtual open house! And if you’re an athlete looking to stay healthy and improve your recovery, you can book an appointment at our student clinic.

This is the third post in our series about pediatric massage. So far in the series, we’ve looked at research in the field of infant massage and talked to an RMT who teaches infant and child massage to her clients. Today, we’re reviewing the research into the effects of massage therapy on older children.

When Edmonton-based teacher Carla C. began going to a registered massage therapist (RMT) in 2021, she took her four-year-old son, Lincoln, with her. For the first few visits, Lincoln played quietly in a corner of the room or nestled himself between his mother’s legs while she was being massaged. On one visit, Lincoln announced that he too wanted a massage.

Carla supported his decision. Lincoln had been born with serious health conditions, necessitating open heart surgery when he was only a few weeks old. While Carla had given Lincoln massages since his birth, stroking his arms and legs and back, she had avoided the scar on his chest. She thought touching it would be too much of a reminder for both of them of those fraught early years.

The RMT guided Lincoln through all aspects of the massage treatment that day, which given his age and size was only about 15 minutes long. She asked him if it was OK for her to touch his legs and arms and talked to him about the sensations he was feeling. When she came to his chest, she explained how important it was to massage his scar. “Treat it like a twisty little snake,” she said, “and roll it between your fingers to smooth it out and make it softer and less sticky.”

Carla realized that by encouraging Lincoln to massage his scar, the RMT was also giving him an important message: that the scar was his, part of his body, an important part of his story, and not something to be ignored or feared.

Carla and Lincoln both started regularly massaging his scar.  Several months later, Carla says that it is noticeably more pliable and has less profile on his chest.

The benefits of pediatric massage are backed by research

Stories like Carla and Lincoln’s show the wholistic effects of massage in young people, encompassing mind and body. This is something that pioneering touch therapy researcher and psychologist Dr. Tiffany Field has spent her career investigating. Dr. Field is internationally renowned for her the quality of her research on the effects of massage on infants. (Her research has shown that massage therapy led to faster weight gain and discharge from hospital for infants born prematurely, and that for full-term babies the benefits include relieving jaundice, better sleep, reduced stress in parents, and strengthening infant-parent bonding. Read all about it in the first post in our series).

Dr. Field conducted a comprehensive review of research that has been done on the effects of massage therapy in older children (between a year of age and adolescence), and in children with psychological and mental health conditions. The results make a very strong case for pediatric massage therapy.

Children with autism spectrum or attention deficit hyperactivity disorders were reported to have greater attentiveness, fewer sleep problems, and decreased hyperactivity after a month of regular short massages.

Preschoolers to adolescents with psychological difficulties including aggression, anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) showed improvements in their symptoms and a decrease in the levels of stress hormones in their bodies. As an example, child survivors of Hurricane Andrew who were experiencing severe PTSD showed much lower PTSD symptoms after a month of daily massage treatments. Studies on children with anorexia and bulimia experienced increases in dopamine and improved management of their eating disorders.

In children with symptoms resulting from a number of physical conditions, massage therapy—often delivered by parents—resulted in reductions of gastrointestinal problems from diarrhea or constipation; spasticity from cerebral palsy and hypotonicity (flaccidity) from Down’s Syndrome; and increased motor development in children with motor development delays. Children with painful diseases, with conditions such as burns, or who had undergone painful procedures, experienced pain relief, better sleep, and reduced anxiety after massage therapy.

Why is massage therapy so good for children and teens?

The common thread running through the majority of the assessed studies is the calming effect resulting from reduction of stress hormones and increased production of “happy” hormones such as dopamine, purported to be results of massage therapy. Dr. Field and other researchers have identified the possible bodily mechanisms that are “translating” massage into these physiological and other effects. Earlier in this series, we outlined some of the potential mechanisms activated by massage in preterm infants: the vagus nerve, responsible for controlling stress hormone release, activates the gastric system, which enables digestion.

Additional mechanisms were seen in the studies on older children. Dr. Field has proposed that the reason massage therapy has such an effective role in pain management is that it engages the body’s touch receptors. These nerves are longer and more insulated than pain receptors—but once activated, their signals reach the brain faster and can “drown out” the messages being sent by the pain receptors.

In the broader context of the nervous system, Dr. Field posits that massage potentially has an effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for the “rest and digest” functions in the body including heartbeat, vagus nerve activity, and digestion. When activated by moderate-pressure massage, the parasympathetic nervous system “overrides” the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system, decreasing the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and increasing the release of immune fighter cells and anti-pain chemicals such as serotonin.

When parents are involved in massaging their children, they also benefit. Several studies by Dr. Field and others investigated the effects of parent-given infant and child massage on child-parent attachment and attunement, the receptiveness between caregiver and child. Parents reported less stress, improved wellbeing, a greater sense of competency with their parenting skills, and for those with moderate mental health issues, reduced symptoms of depression.

This effect doesn’t seem to be restricted to direct parent-child relationships : grandparents and other trusted caregivers can benefit as well. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology, older adults were given massages for a month and then gave massages to infants over a month. Measurement of cortisol from saliva samples showed they were calmer and more relaxed after massaging the infants.

All of the studies were conducted over short term periods, and Dr. Field and other researchers stress the need for further high-quality, longer-term research in order to produce evidence that can be used by decision-makers on funding and policy changes. While research is vital to ensure pediatric massage is accepted as a valid clinical tool, its popularity continues to grow.

And as Carla says, “It’s important that as my son grows, he sees massage therapy as another important therapy with a trusted professional alongside the other therapies he receives.”

This is the second instalment in a series about pediatric massage: massage therapy for children ranging from infants to adolescents. Check out the first post to learn about massage therapy for infants, including its potential benefits for both parents and child and the science that assesses those benefits. Today’s post is a conversation with an experienced Vicars graduate who has incorporated infant massage into her practice.

Shannon Collum, RMT, is a Vicars graduate who lives and works in Duncan, BC. She owns Maple Bay Massage Therapy there. As part of her general therapeutic practice, Shannon also has training in infant massage education, and offers one-on-one and group sessions with parents and their babies.

Shannon Collum, RMT

I recently talked to Shannon about this part of her practice.

Robin: Can you give me a brief overview of your experience with infant massage?

Shannon:

Early in my career, I found I was working with a lot of pregnant clients. It just happened by word of mouth—I think it helped that a lot of my friends were at the right age to start having babies!

As I went on, I realized I wanted to offer even more services in this area. We had learned the fundamentals of infant massage in school, but I knew there was more to learn.

I found a continuing education course for RMTs on infant massage and at the same time I trained as a doula, learning how to give support to mothers during and after childbirth. I was fascinated by it and knew there were at least some of my clients who would be interested.

I’ve been a massage therapist for more than 18 years now. Teaching infant massage has been a bigger part of my practice at some points than others. But it’s something I enjoy and that I’m glad I can offer to my clients.

There are so many different continuing education options out there for massage therapists—so many different directions and areas of practice for people to choose from. Would you recommend taking infant massage, and pregnancy massage?

When new grads ask me for continuing ed recommendations, I always say that it depends on what resonates with you. What are you interested in? Because if you’re not really engaged with whatever it is, you’re not going to make a success of it.

For me, I’ve always had a connection with babies and children—it’s always been a part of my life. If an RMT feels the same way, furthering your education by taking ongoing training in pregnancy massage and training new parents may be a good choice for you.

And you have to be practical too, of course. Think about the focus of your practice, where you work, and your current and potential clientele. If you’re based in more a retirement community this will obviously be less of a focus in your practice!

How do you introduce the idea of infant massage to pregnant clients?

I have it listed on my website as something I have experience in, and so some of my clients bring it up to me themselves or even find me that way. But usually it will organically come up in a conversation with them about what they’re experiencing, their hopes or even what they’re nervous about.

The last time it came up was I was working on a woman who was quite far along in her pregnancy. I was performing abdominal massage, and I was explaining to her how we do the strokes in a specific direction around the abdomen to promote digestion. I explained that this is also what we do with babies, and she says, “Wait, we can do massage on babies?!?!”

Do you find that do you usually get that surprised reaction? In your experience, do parents know that this is an option?

Some do, some don’t. And some are confused—some think that I do the massage; that they bring the baby into the clinic. But I explain that it involves teaching the parents what to do and how to do it in a way that is comfortable, safe, and joyful. And for most people, I find, that’s a lot more appealing.

So how do these sessions work?

I like to set up a class, either one-on-one or in a group setting, outside the clinic. It’s usually a set of four short sessions. That way, baby isn’t overwhelmed by a new environment and the parents are able to practice with the child between sessions. My goal with these sessions is for the babies and the parents to feel relaxed and have fun together, and for the parents to leave feeling confident and excited about having learned a new way to connect with their baby.

I normally don’t teach the classes for babies younger than two months. Before that, massage can be overwhelming and too stimulating. Babies still don’t understand the world, and they are getting bombarded with new information every second, so we wait until they’re a little more settled.

Earlier, you were telling me about a recent client you had for infant massage that was a bit of an exception to this rule. Can you share that story?

Of course. That experience was exceptional in a few ways: it was only one session, it was at my clinic, her baby was a newborn, and we fit it in after I had just given the mother a full massage!

This woman was living and working in a very small community up north on Vancouver Island. Because of the remoteness and lack of medical care, her employer transferred her down here to Duncan for a month or so before her due date, and for a couple of weeks to recover postpartum. She booked a few prenatal massages for herself while she was in town. Because I saw her regularly for a few weeks, we developed a rapport and had lots of conversations about her pregnancy and upcoming baby, and we ended up talking about infant massage in a general sort of way.

Not long after she gave birth, she came in for a last massage before heading home. She then revealed that the doctor had told them their baby had significant torticollis and she wondered if I could help. They weren’t going to be in town long enough for that, and baby needed some specific help as soon as possible, so we arranged for baby and dad to arrive at the end of her next appointment. I ended up working with them for about 15 minutes in the treatment room, laying baby on the warm massage table in front of us. I demonstrated a few techniques specifically for that issue and had them try them out and walked them through a few other things. I was able to start the process of improving his positioning and they felt more confident taking him back up north without an RMT nearby. Everybody was happy.

What sticks out to me about this story is that this was a therapeutic massage, essentially. I usually think of infant massage as being about helping the baby sleep better, helping with bonding, helping with digestion…

But when you think about it, babies have just gone through a quite physically demanding experience! Especially in that case, as he was very newly born. But even after that, they’re constantly building muscles that have never been used before.

But you’re right, a lot of times people don’t realize that something like torticollis can happen to babies. Extreme versions don’t happen a lot. Usually, it’s mild and corrects itself over time. But in this case, it was extreme, and he wasn’t able to keep his head straight.

The infant massage outcome that is probably most well known is how it strengthens bonding between parents and baby, helps babies sleep, and can help with things like colic and digestive issues. What people don’t always think about is that it can help alleviate postnatal depression for both parents. It seems most effective when massage is built into their daily routine. For infants, massage sessions should be short but frequent; a little quiet time after baby’s bath is great.

But there can be more direct physical benefits, too. I remind parents that birth is hard for babies too. As newborns, they’re not moving much and they’re often end up facing in one direction for long periods in car seats, carriers, and strollers. It’s a tough life!

And, of course, as babies get bigger they turn into active children, and children’s bodies are going through a lot, too. Starting massage at a young age can really help as they age and start getting growing pains and other bumps and bruises. Because they’re starting life with more body awareness, they’re more likely to be able to communicate about what is happening in their bodies when they need help.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with infant massage! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I almost forgot to mention, although it is really important to me, is that learning how to give a massage to your baby or child can actually help them start to understand bodily autonomy, consent, and the concept of healthy touch. Those are big concepts, but understanding them starts with day-to-day routines like this.

One of the things that we teach parents is to make sure that they’re only massaging when baby consents. This is more nebulous when they’re very young and you’re just starting out, but you start to learn your baby’s body language. You can tell when they’re up for it and when they’re not. And when they’re not, you just hang out with them so they’re still getting one-on-one time and see that their refusal doesn’t equal rejection from their loved one.

It’s showing kids, from a young age, that they have a say in what happens to their body. And that’s a really huge thing, in my opinion.

Still to come in our blog series: Research on the effects of massage on conditions in older children and the benefits of massage in strengthening the parent-child relationship beyond infancy.

Dear Vicars graduates,

For the past two years, we have had the honour of working alongside you as your instructors, clinic supervisors, and all-around school support team. This weekend, we will have the great pleasure to welcome you fully into the massage therapy profession—as colleagues.

This is a milestone in your career, and in your lives. And it’s the result of countless large and small accomplishments along the way. So as you celebrate with your family and friends this weekend, we hope that you won’t just be celebrating the end of final exams. We hope you’ll be giving yourself credit for all the work you’ve done and all the obstacles you’ve overcome along the way.

Celebrate the moment you decided to stop dreaming about a new career and start doing something about it. Celebrate getting through that first day of school, when you were nervous and excited in equal measure. Celebrate reviewing flashcards while waiting to pick up your kids after school, and the time you went grocery shopping with origins and insertions drawn all over your arms in Magic Marker. Celebrate your first few practicum shifts, as you learned to trust yourself and your skills in a real-world clinic environment. Celebrate the first time you saw a client with a condition you’d learned about in your textbooks, and were able to reduce their symptoms. Celebrate the sacrifices you and your family had to make at home in order for you to concentrate on school.

It’s these little moments that got you here today. It took bravery, compassion, humour, patience, and determination.

And that’s why you should be celebrating this weekend. Not the piece of paper you’re going to get, but the strength that it took to earn it.

There’s no limit to what you can accomplish next. Some of you will go on to open your own massage therapy clinics and eventually hire other RMTs, others will choose to join existing practices and thrive alongside new colleagues. Many of you already have positions lined up for after graduation!

No matter where your practice takes you—a dedicated massage clinic, a gym, a spa, a home clinic, or any of the countless other options available to you as Registered Massage Therapists—we know you’ll do us proud.

Congratulations, and good luck!

Sincerely,

The entire Vicars School family

a career in massage therapy

When you’re a massage therapist, getting injured on the job hurts more than just your body. Taking time off to recover from an injury means loss of income, and even potential loss of clients.

The best way for an RMT to deal with workplace injury is to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the first place. And that means a focus on body mechanics—the right way to move—so that soft tissue and joints stay injury free.

The path to a long injury-free massage career

In 2001, Vicars School of Massage Therapy was founded, there was a prevalent myth that massage was a very short career.

“The idea was that injury was inevitable, but we knew that was just not true,” says founder Maryhelen Vicars. “There was lots of evidence that students who had early and consistent training in correct body mechanics and self-care had a huge advantage in staying safe and pain free.

“From the first, our program was modelled after the curriculum in Ontario, one of the first provinces to regulate massage therapy education. For decades, massage schools in regulated provinces have incorporated safety and injury prevention in their practical training.”

So the Vicars curriculum did the same.

“From the first day of instruction, students learn body mechanics in our core science courses of anatomy and physiology,” says Curriculum Director Linda McGeachy. “And they put that knowledge into practice in class. During hands-on instruction and practice, students are monitored by instructors not just for technique, but for attention to their own body mechanics.”

At Vicars School, body mechanics is a structured part of the curriculum, and includes techniques for core stability, keeping joints in straight alignment and applying pressure appropriately. “There isn’t just one way of doing anything,” says McGeachy. “Instructors correct for stance, posture and pressure, and they also encourage students to listen to their own bodies.”

Different body shapes and sizes mean that students need to be able to adapt a theoretical “perfect form” into positions that work for their own bodies.

Preventing overuse

The most common injuries directly result from overuse and such injuries are the most preventable, says McGeachy. “Hands, elbows and shoulders are subject to overuse if we don’t use our bodies properly,” she says. “In addition to listening to their bodies, RMTs need to ensure they don’t overuse their bodies by booking too many clients in a day, especially when they first start their careers.”

Awareness of strengths, coordination and mobility are vital, as is the need to adjust techniques depending on the client. She also points out that new information resulting from research and outcomes-based approaches to attitudes about what massage should be, are informing awareness of injury prevention.

With practical experience comes knowledge about not overloading muscles and joints and using “relative rest”—a recovery technique that protects and rests the injured area while continuing to be active with other parts of your body.

Less is more

We’ve all seen memes of massage therapists reducing their clients to tears and whimpers. But that is as outdated as the idea of “no pain, no gain” in gyms and sports fields.

One of the most important changes, says McGeachy, is that the concept of a heavy, load-bearing workout on tissue as the only way to get results has lost its credence. “It’s more about understanding how to work on tissue rather than simply pushing down hard on it,” she says. “Understanding physiology and what tissue is, means that we don’t have to create pain in order to get results.”

Quite the opposite, in fact. Current knowledge about massage’s benefits reinforces a pain-management approach to therapeutic massage.

RMTs are educated about repetitive strain injury and overuse and they in turn educate their clients. Key to that education, says McGeachy, is movement. “If you are planning to do a physical activity, then do the movements of it as a warm-up.” She points out that any exercise will carry restrictions for someone, depending on their body. “It’s not that the exercise—whether it’s yoga or tennis or gardening—is harmful; it’s that you have to be aware of your body and when something hurts, move away from that position,” she says.

Using brain power for body power

Using a research-based curriculum, instructors at Vicars School encourage students to build on their understanding of body mechanics and principles with critical thinking skills. “This means students have confidence acting on their own understanding of when something doesn’t feel good, and how to adjust their technique by using a different position that feels better,” says McGeachy. “From our school perspective, even if a student’s body mechanics aren’t ‘textbook’, the important thing is that they are learning to prevent injuring themselves.”

Piloting a new movement course

Building on the importance of movement as foundational for injury prevention and career health, the Vicars School curriculum will be piloting a new course in September, based on a resource called Trail Guide to Movement.

“We already have rich material on movement, including orthopedic assessment courses and gait analysis,” says Linda McGeachy. “But this will really augment our existing curriculum and delve into movement as core in keeping a health body and promoting longevity in our careers.”

written by Kathleen Thurber


Start your long and successful massage therapy career at Vicars School! We have campuses in Calgary and Edmonton and schedules that are designed to work with your lifestyle. For more information and to speak with our friendly admissions team, call us toll-free 1-866-491-0574 or sign up for an online open house!

Massage is a hands-on profession, and at MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy, our emphasis is on developing hands-on skills.

But there’s a lot more to being a successful and effective registered massage therapist than knowing how to perform all the massage strokes and sequences.

Welcome to a new blog series—the Massage Therapy Curriculum Spotlight! In this semi-regular series, we will highlight a subject, assignment, or course that we teach here at MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy.
Our curriculum includes a wide range of subjects and courses. As a result, Vicars graduates have all the skills and knowledge that they need to begin a successful career as an effective therapist. Courses include assessment, kinesiology, anatomy and physiology, hydrotherapy, pathology, ethics and the therapeutic relationship, and massage business best practices. Students learn these subjects in person as well as through online lectures and assignments. Click here to see our full course list and to learn why it’s important to attend a school that follows the national curriculum standard.

We’re kicking off the blog series with an in-depth look at the interactive online Diversity and Inclusion assignment our students complete in second year. This assignment is a perennial favourite among instructors and—once they’ve completed it—among students as well.

For the Diversity and Inclusion project, each student must research and write a short paper and then post it to their class’s forum on the Vicars online learning platform, Moodle. In their papers, they need to explain what the concepts of “diversity” and “inclusion” mean to them, their relevance to the massage therapy profession, and how they plan to promote them in their future business and practice.

“I love reading what the students have to say in this assignment,” says Linda McGeachy, Director of Curriculum at Vicars. “It always fills me with so much faith in our students, and in what kind of therapists they’re going to be. If these are the values that they have, then obviously they’re going to do a good job, on all levels.”

The second part of the assignment is to read their classmates’ submissions, ask questions, and provide feedback. For Linda, that’s one of the most valuable parts of this assignment.

“The comments and support that the students offer to each other are so heartfelt, and so thoughtful,” she says.

To help illustrate the level of care and creativity that our students pour into this assignment, we’ve assembled a selection of excerpts from of this year’s submissions. When you read them, we have no doubt you’ll be just as impressed by our students as we are—and if you are thinking of a career in massage therapy, you’ll have a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a Vicars student.

Here’s how Sarah Hornett described the difference between “diversity” and “inclusion” in her own words:

Diversity is the seen and unseen differences among individuals in an environment that encompass not only the obvious physical attributes that characterize a person, but also the intellectual, spiritual, personal, and ethical factors that make each of us unique. Inclusion therefore relates to creating and maintaining processes that allow various individuals to coexist in that same environment while establishing a culture of safety, togetherness, and belonging.

Maria Semeniuk, on how these concepts are central to why she chose to go to massage school:

I believe diversity and  inclusion are of great importance to my practice. Every person is entitled to the best quality of care, regardless of their unique circumstances, ethnicity, gender, or age. This is my main motivation to study massage therapy. I have a passion for helping and volunteering as much as possible at hospitals and hospices. Massage therapy brings value to what I offer as a volunteer: being able to recognize, respect, and accept diversity and being able to practice with inclusion are vital skills for this role. 

Elisha Fox explained how, thanks to this assignment, she’s already taking action to make sure that she can create an inclusive practice:

It is very important to me to help as many individuals as possible. I recognize that I live in a diverse community, so how can I incorporate inclusion into my practice?

I believe self-awareness can be the first step towards understanding, compassion and acceptance. So I took a few of the “Harvard Implicit Association Tests.” I found them on the Canadian Center for Diversity and Inclusion website. I thought the tests were interesting and may give possible insight on recognizing one’s own internal biases. Which we may or may not be aware of ourselves, right?

I’m also committed to continuing my education by taking classes, reading forums, and associating with people who are part of different groups to familiarize myself with proper titles and different perspectives.

In addition to sending out a rallying cry to her classmates, Amy Sawka pointed out that it’s as important to seek out diversity within one’s own environment as it is to try to attract a diverse clientele:

If I were to work exclusively with other therapists or modality practitioners who have similar socio-economic backgrounds to me, or who identify similarly, I would be less able to learn and expand my own horizons and the more I am likely to be blinded by bias. I intend to maintain an inclusive and diverse practice in which I stay curious, listen to other’s requests, and provide concessions and modifications to those who require it.

It is integral that we, as Vicars therapists, innovate and set the standard for diversity and inclusion in our massage practices as we pave the way for the next generation who will follow in our footsteps. The more of the map we are able to see, the more places we are able to go! Together!

Melissa Jensen was one of many students who gave concrete examples of how they can ensure that their business is welcoming and supportive of everyone:

With the existing power differential already existing in massage therapy and other somatic healing practices, inclusive practices will help build confidence and trust from the initial contact on. Some ways to help clients to feel included could include:

  • Connecting with clients about how they would like to be contacted or reminded of appointments could alleviate stress from hearing, visual, or possible language barriers.
  • Having an easily accessible facility with clear directions on how to enter the building will help those who may have physical impairments.
  • Sending informed consent forms and asking for health histories prior to meeting with clients so that they can have time to provide information without feeling rushed or embarrassed.
  • Including questions about preferred names and pronouns.
  • Having a gender-neutral washroom with a change table and feminine hygiene products available.
  • Using language that puts clients at ease in making the choice that they feel most comfortable with (e.g., rather than say “Undress to your level of comfort” I could say “Some clients choose to leave garments on”).

Working on this assignment wasn’t the first time that Hayley Emro had thought about the importance of diversity and inclusion in her own life:

Why are diversity and inclusion important for my business, and my personal life? To be blunt and honest, because I want to be anti-racist and non-discriminatory.

Over the past five years I have become increasingly aware of whose voices I am listening to and reading; this includes seeking out books, social media, movies, and educational material from people with different identities. This is important to me because I want to connect to a diverse range of human experiences that accurately reflect the world.

Diversity happens when there is difference within a setting that benefits from a range of human experiences. People are not diverse, their experiences are. Inclusion places values on these experiences and builds to meet the needs of these experiences.

Inclusion doesn’t happen without designing for it. Learning from and listening to the people we design our workspace for allows us to create appropriate policies, processes, physical spaces, and products for people to feel valued and included.

Melissa Strom is a Pilates teacher, and made this issue real for everyone sharing a lesson she’d learned when she had tried—and initially failed—to create a more inclusive environment in her classes:

Every Thursday, six individuals come to the studio for their weekly Pilates equipment class. They have two things in common: they all love cross-country skiing, and they are all legally blind.

The group came to be at the studio due to the limitations set upon one of the members at another Pilates studio. Due to his visual impairment, he was restricted to beginner mat classes. However, he wanted the ability to take group equipment classes and progress.

Due to our max class size of eight at the studio, I felt I would be up to the challenge and be able to keep him safe through class. I wanted diversity in my studio and for clients to feel included.

I was naive. In a group class setting, I quickly realized I had to be selective about what exercises we did, and I stayed close to the client that had the visual impairment. Essentially, I was offering a private in a group class setting.

It came to the point I had to have a conversation with the client. He was angry: he emphasized how much he modified what he did during class to make sure he kept up, and I emphasized how much I modified the class to make sure he was still included.

I realized that to have the client within the existing classes, I was aiming for equality. I was giving him the same resources and opportunities as everyone else. Unfortunately, this is not equity. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and needs different allocations of the resources and opportunities to reach the same/equal outcome. To truly have inclusion, you need equity. So, we decided to recruit more visually impaired individuals to create their own group class. In this new class, the clients felt comfortable and were able to communicate with me, and I was able to design a class specific to their needs.

Just because I added a visually impaired person to my group classes to show that the studio was inclusive, didn’t mean I was producing benefits for that client (or others at the studio).

But when we worked together and communicated, it did create benefits. The client got a class specifically for people with similar needs. And teaching a class who can’t follow visual cues helped me develop more concise instructions and made me a better instructor.

I have used this learning opportunity in other scenarios, such as with a group of Hutterite women and a group of very devout Islamic women. In these instances, I structured the set-up of the classes (and the resources of the studio) to be conducive to them and their needs. It needs to be recognized that diversity encompasses race, culture, education, socio-economic status, physical and mental ability, etc. Sometimes that meant I was paid in cucumbers, sometimes that meant locking the studio doors to give the clients a sense of privacy.


The Massage Therapy Program at Vicars could be the pathway to your ideal career. We have campuses in Calgary and Edmonton and a schedule that is designed to work with your lifestyle. For more information and to speak with our friendly admissions team, call us toll-free 1-866-491-0574 or sign up for an online open house!

massage therapy career FAQs

MH Vicars School of Massage therapy was founded in 2001, which means we’ve been talking about massage for over 20 years. On the phone, in person, over Zoom, at Christmas parties, and in line at the farmer’s market…we never get tired of chatting about this incredible career or about what it takes to become a successful registered massage therapist (RMT).

Over the years, we’ve been asked—and have answered—pretty much every conceivable question about massage therapy, and massage therapy education. And are some questions that we hear over and over again.

We’ve collected a few of the most popular questions that our students have at the beginning of their career change journey and answered them here for you.

What does a massage therapist do?

Okay, I admit it: this isn’t actually one of the most frequently-asked questions that future students ask our admissions advisors. I think that’s because by the time someone gets to an open house, or is talking to one of us on the phone, they’re either too afraid to ask or they think they already know the answer. But here’s the thing: we talk about it anyway, and they’re all still fascinated and sometimes even surprised by the answer.

That’s because massage therapy is a more exciting—and challenging—career than most people realize. If you’ve only experienced massage treatments as a client, you may have no idea of the depth of knowledge and technical skill that goes into treating your pain.

As a massage therapist, you will be a frontline health care professional and play an important role in maintaining and improving your clients’ well-being. You will have the training to reduce their stress, decrease their pain, and treat or alleviate the symptoms of a wide range of injuries and physical conditions.

Every treatment that you do will be unique to your client and their needs. You’re not simply performing a pre-set sequence of strokes and techniques—which means no day at work is ever the same. At each appointment, you will begin by talking to your client and doing an assessment. This will allow you to create a treatment plan. The massage itself will be customized for your client. That’s why we teach you so much anatomy, physiology, and pathology along with hands-on skills.

How long does it take to become a massage therapist?

Massage therapy training in Canada takes about two years to complete. Different schools have slightly different schedules, but if you want to become a professional massage therapist you should be prepared to be in school for between 20 and 24 months.

At MH Vicars School of Massage Therapy, our diploma program is divided into year one and year two material. Each “year” is actually 10 months of full-time learning. Students who start with us in September follow the traditional school year (September–June) each year, with a two-month break over the summer. This is particularly popular for parents, because it lines up with the K-12 school year. The January classes run until late October or early November, and take their break over the winter holidays—even more appealing for many students than having the summer off!

That said, the time in between school years isn’t only for building sandcastles (or snow forts). While it’s a break from the full-time workload, you will have some work to do during this time to keep your mind and body in practice, and prepare for the year ahead. Many students also use this time to get a jump-start on some of their second-year practicum clinic shifts.

What kind of training do I need to be a registered massage therapist in Canada?

In order to be a professional massage therapist in Canada, you need to get an education that is recognized by the regulatory body or registering organization in the province you want to practice in. Which leads us to a related question with a much more complicated answer:

How do I choose a massage therapy school?

In order to be a successful massage therapist who is able to make a real difference for your clients’ health, you need to choose your massage therapy college very carefully.

That’s especially true in non-regulated jurisdictions like Alberta (and Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Territories), because there are multiple registering organizations and no central regulatory body. Alberta’s massage therapy professional associations each have different entrance standards—some higher than others. Some of the professional associations are even run by individual massage schools, which raises big questions about the objectivity of their membership standards!

That’s why national accreditation exists. The Canadian Massage Therapy Council for Accreditation (CMTCA) is a national, independent organization that evaluates massage therapy colleges to make sure that they’re providing the best possible education and educational experience. They assess schools based on the curriculum and delivery standards set by the Federation of Massage Therapy Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FOMTRAC).

In regulated provinces like BC, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador, all massage schools must be accredited (i.e., they have to meet the FOMTRAC standards). This protects massage clients and massage students.

Unfortunately, Alberta isn’t there yet. Meeting the FOMTRAC standards is optional. As a result, the type and quality of massage education available in Alberta programs is uneven. But things are starting to change—CMTCA recently opened up its accreditation process to Alberta massage colleges.

Vicars has preliminary accreditation status from CMTCA, proving we’re one of Alberta’s best massage therapy schools.

 

If this blog post answered your questions about starting a career in massage therapy, you should give us a call. And if this blog post answered some of your questions about becoming an RMT but left you craving even more information, then you should definitely give us a call! Contact our friendly admissions team by calling us toll-free at 1-866-491-0574, or sign up for a virtual open house!

massage for knee pain

Common Causes of Joint Pain and How Massage Can Help

If your knees hurt, you are not alone. Your knees are two of the hardest working joints in the body—and two of the most vulnerable. Knee pain is common and can be debilitating. But knee problems can be very treatable, and among the most effective of the nonsurgical options is therapeutic massage.

Your knee is a complex structure. It includes three bones: the lower part of the thigh bone, the upper part of the shinbone, and the kneecap. Strong ligaments and tendons hold these bones together, and cartilage under the kneecap cushions and stabilizes the bones. Any damage, inflammation, or imbalance in these structures can cause knee pain. 

Some of the most common causes for knee pain are trauma, muscle strain or sprain, nerve irritation or a pinched nerves, fluid buildup around the knee capsule (also known as bursitis), and tendonitis. Osteoarthritis is the most common of the diseases that affect the knee. It is caused by the wear and tear of knee cartilage through overuse and is more common among those over 50. It may start with a sharp pain during movement. 

If you have hurt your hip, back, or foot, you may feel pain in your knee, because you are holding and moving your body differently without realizing it. Over time, this misalignment puts strain on the muscles and tendons surrounding your knees, often by increasing the weight load on the opposite knee. Resolving stiffness and pain in the injured hip or back can take the pressure off the knee.

Research suggests massage therapy can help with pain levels, stiffness, and overall day-to-day function in individuals dealing with osteoarthritis in their knees. This seems to be especially true in the short term when dealing with a flare-up of pain.

One study found that participants with knee osteoarthritis who received a weekly 60-minute massage for eight weeks had less pain and better daily function in the short-term than those who received standard care.

How does massage help with knee pain? 

During treatment of a sore or arthritic joint, massage can reduce swelling and inflammation, stimulate blood flow to the joint, improve circulation in the leg, and reduce overall pain and stiffness. 

Your therapist will do deeper treatments of the large muscles that stabilize the knee joint by finding and releasing trigger points. A trigger point is a sensitive knot found within bands of muscle and occurs for a number of reasons including injury, surgery, or basic stress and strain. Trigger points cause soreness and pain, often referring pain to other parts of the body away from the location of the trigger point. 

Your massage therapist may also suggest remedial exercise to strengthen these large muscle groups that lend support and stability to the affected knee.  By releasing tightness in the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and tibialis muscles, massage will maintain and increase your flexibility. 

But an effective massage to relieve knee pain is not limited to working on the legs and the knee joint alone. A good RMT will include more general massage treatments, such as relaxation massage techniques across your whole body, in your personalized treatment plan.

That’s because living with pain is stressful, and stress is stored all over the body. When we’re in pain we move less naturally, we contract our muscles to protect the injured area, and the pain can keep us from getting the sleep we need. 

During an effective massage, the heart rate slows, blood pressure drops and the effect of stress hormones is lessened. When your tissues are relaxed, so are you—and your therapist is able to work more deeply and effectively. 

When knee pain needs medical attention

While sore or arthritic knees can benefit from massage, pay attention to signs or symptoms that may suggest a more serious concern. If your pain is new or has recently gotten worse, or if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s important to visit a doctor:

  • Swelling, warmth, or redness in the knee
  • Knee pain accompanied by a fever
  • Pain in multiple joints
  • Inability to bear weight your leg 
  • Significantly reduced range of motion
  • Knee pain after trauma (such as a fall or car accident)

Get a high-quality massage at an affordable price

If you need massage to treat chronic pain or to help you recover from injury, you probably want to schedule weekly treatments at first, and later maintain the effects by seeing a therapist every two weeks or once a month, but for many people the biggest barrier is price (even if they do have health benefits). 

That’s why the public massage clinics at MH Vicars School are so popular. At only $35 for a one-hour appointment, our student massages make regular massage therapy treatments accessible. Our students treat clients of all ages, professions, and lifestyles. Our “regulars” range from people who had never had a massage before their first visit to Vicars, all the way to people who’ve been getting massages for decades and come to our students in between appointments with their fully trained (and full price) RMT.

Whether you’re a massage newbie or looking to supplement the treatments you get through your benefit plan, regular massages from at our clinic will make a huge difference in your well-being. 

At our Edmonton and Calgary public clinics, you’ll receive massage therapy treatments from our focused and well-trained students at a sharply reduced rate. Your 75-minute appointment includes a comprehensive assessment consultation, a full one-hour massage, and a home care consultation, all for only $35.

If this would be your first massage, take a look at some frequently asked questions about what to expect from your first massage.

You can easily book online * for student clinics at either our Calgary or Edmonton campus. Please note our updated Covid-19 regulations to keep the public, our student therapists, instructors, and supervisors safe. We look forward to seeing you there!

massage for tension headaches

How Massage Therapy Can Help Solve Tension Headaches 

For many people, a tension headache acts something like a “check engine” light: it’s your body telling you that something is off balance, and you should stop and pay attention.  

Anything that puts extra strain on the muscles of the neck, back, shoulders, and face can be the culprit. Not enough sleep, too much caffeine, grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, dehydration; all these things can cause stress in your body and contribute to a tension headache.  

Massage on its own can be effective treatment for relieving the cause and symptoms of tension headaches. By both addressing the stressors and emotional issues causing the headaches and by targeting tense muscles and joints, massage by a great Registered Massage Therapist may help you kick your tension headaches to the curb for good. 

I get headaches all the time. Are they tension headaches?  

While only your physician can officially diagnose the type of headache that’s plaguing you, a good look at your activities and habits and the symptoms of your headache can narrow it down. A tension headache usually presents the following symptoms: 

  •       The sensation of tightness around your head 
  •       Mild to moderate pain 
  •       Pressure in the forehead, sides of the head, or back of the head 
  •       Tender shoulder and neck muscles 
  •       Tender scalp 

Tension headaches are a very common type of headache. They fall into two categories: chronic or episodic. If you suffer from tension headaches for 15 or more days each month for at least three months, you are likely to be suffering from chronic tension headaches. Episodic tension headaches are less frequent and tend to last for a shorter time (anywhere from half an hour to a full week). Regardless of the length of time, tension headaches are no fun!  

There are some symptoms that could indicate a more severe condition. If you experience any of these, contact your doctor right away: 

  • The headache comes on quickly and is severe 
  • The headache is paired with a stiff neck, mental fogginess or confusion, double vision, fever, seizures, weakness or numbness or slurred speech. 
  • The headache starts after a head injury and gets worse rather than better over time 

Why do we get tension headaches? 

There’s no single cause of tension headaches, and what triggers this kind of pain varies from person to person. However, the most common causes include physical and emotional stress and postural dysfunction. 

Can massage therapy help? 

By increasing blood flow and soothing inflamed tissue, massage therapy can be just as effective as pain-relieving drugs to reduce and eliminate muscle tension, neck pain, headache pain and of course, the symptoms of a tension headache. Unlike popping a pill, which only temporarily stops the discomfort, massage therapy can address the root physiological cause. An RMT will be able to offer a few different options for your massage treatments. 

A qualified RMT has been trained in an accredited program that has covered massage therapy in depth. This includes identification of muscle groups, fascia, pressure points, joints and more. They know how to create a personalized treatment for you, based on your symptoms, sensitivities, and health history. They can also teach you ways to prevent or treat your headache symptoms at home, such as stretches and self-massage techniques. 

How does an RMT treat tension headaches? 

Relaxation massage 

Relaxation massage doesn’t get the respect it deserves. A good relaxation massage is a treat; it feels so good, it’s easy to forget that it is also therapeutic. In fact, nothing beats a tension headache like a relaxation massage!  

Relaxation massage, sometimes called Swedish massage, is very effective for reducing tension headache symptoms because of the way it affects the parasympathetic nervous system and balances the levels of key hormones. Massage therapy boosts your levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin (one of the reasons why you feel relaxed and sleepy during and after a massage!). Massage also reduces the level of cortisol in your body. Since cortisol (a stress hormone) is a major contributor to tension headaches, this can make a huge difference for your symptoms.  

Deep tissue massage 

Your RMT can use specialized deep tissue massage techniques to treat the muscles of your upper back, neck, head, and face—the trapezius and suboccipital muscles in particular. For many people, these two muscle groups are the ones that hold onto the brunt of the tension in their body. The suboccipitals are the muscles that create that feeling of having a tight band around your head during a tension headache. Reducing tension and adhesions in these muscles can go a long way towards solving your headache woes. 

Facial Massage 

Most RMTs will incorporate a facial massage into a tension headache treatment. Their main target will be the masseter muscle on either side of your jaw. The masseters connect your jaw to your cheekbones—they are the ones you flex when you clench your jaw. They’re powerful; in fact, by weight, the masseters are the strongest muscles in the body.  

These are often the first muscles to tighten up and trigger a headache. Masseters become (and remain) tense because of teeth grinding (bruxism), conscious tensing of the jaw, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD), or during periods of sleep apnea. For some sufferers, releasing the tension in these muscles will be enough to chase a tension headache away.  

When massaging your face, your RMT will apply very gentle pressure and use small, precise strokes. The muscles of the face are small and close to the surface, so it doesn’t take much to have a huge impact. 

Trigger Point Release 

Trigger points are tight, painful adhesions within your muscles and fascia. They are very tender to the touch, and often create what’s called “referred pain”—pain that shows up elsewhere along the muscle. Activating a trigger point can cause tingling, prickling, burning, numbness, and even cause the muscle to twitch.  

If you’re suffering from headaches caused by tension in your shoulders, neck, head, and face, there’s a good chance you’ve got trigger points in at least a few of those muscles and would benefit from a trigger point treatment. 

Trigger point therapy is a technique that your RMT will incorporate into your therapeutic massage treatment as they go. When they locate a trigger point, they will apply a combination of techniques and massage strokes to deactivate it. If you’ve never had trigger point work done, you’ll be amazed by the immediate relief it can offer. But be warned: trigger point therapy can be uncomfortable and even painful while it’s happening, and may cause some short-term soreness.  

If you’re suffering from tension headaches, why don’t you give massage therapy a try by visiting one of our student clinics in Edmonton and Calgary? Each appointment includes an assessment, a 60-minute massage from one of our talented and qualified students, and a short homecare consultation—all for only $35. Book online today!