What Exactly Does a Massage Therapist Do?

Several years ago, people associated massage with luxurious spas and wealthy people. Most people used to view massage therapy as a premium means of relaxation that only rich people could afford. Today, massage is a part of integrative medicine, treating and managing common medical conditions. Massage is a healthcare procedure that involves the manipulation of the body’s soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, connective tissues, and skin). While massage has not lost its ancient relaxing charm, it produces several other physical and mental health benefits.

Massage therapists are professionals trained in the art of massage therapy. They use various techniques and equipment to manipulate the muscles and soft tissues of the body for therapeutic purposes. Massage therapists aim to relieve pain, reduce stress and tension, and promote patient’s overall well-being. They need a license to practice. Massage therapists must undergo formal, recognised training and become state-certified to offer massage therapy services. Massage therapists work in hospitals, chiropractic practices, private/public offices, spas, wellness centres, rehabilitation centres, etc. This article will examine what massage therapists do in detail and the benefits of massage therapy at Cambie Physiotherapy.

What Conditions Can Massage Therapists Treat?

Richmond massage therapy has handled several conditions effectively. It can treat and manage several musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, mental, and chronic pain conditions such as:

  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Repetitive use injuries
  • Sports injuries (Strains, sprains, etc)
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Nerve pain
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Sciatica
  • Muscle tension
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor circulation
  • Insomnia
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Prenatal and postnatal care
  • Post-surgical recovery
  • Digestive disorders
  • Immune function, etc.

What Type of Massage Do Massage Therapists Offer?

Massage therapists use different techniques to achieve unique goals during massage. These techniques can be categorised to make up types of massage. The most common types of massage that massage therapists in Richmond, BC, offer include:

Swedish Massage

This massage employs long strokes, light/firm pressure, deep circular motions, kneading, tapping, vibration, tapping, gliding, and passive joint movement techniques to reduce tension, improve circulation, and promote relaxation. A massage therapist may employ the following modalities during a Swedish massage – effleurage, friction, tapotement, and petrissage.  Swedish massage is usually a full-body massage that focuses on the top layer of the muscles. It ensures overall well-being because it does not focus on a specific body part. Swedish massage is ideal for people who are new to massage and do not have particular conditions affecting their health. A session typically lasts for about 60 to 90 minutes.

Deep Tissue Massage

Typically, deep tissue massage uses more pressure than other type of massage. It tries to release muscle tension and knots by focusing on the deeper layers of the muscle, connective tissues, and fascia. Unlike Swedish massage, deep tissue massage focuses on a particular body part that needs attention. It is suitable for people who have sustained injury or are experiencing soreness, imbalance, muscle tightness, chronic muscle pain, and other underlying conditions. A deep tissue massage session can also last from 60 to 90 minutes. You may feel sore for a few days after the procedure because of the intense pressure applied.

Hot Stone Massage

This type of massage is similar to Swedish massage. However, massage therapists use smooth, hot stones made of volcanic rocks for this massage technique. They place these stones on different body parts to relax the muscles. Massage therapists also use their hands and other massage tools during a hot stone massage. This massage technique helps to relieve stress, ease muscle tension, alleviate pain, improve blood circulation, and promote relaxation. It may last for about 90 minutes.

Trigger Point Massage

A trigger point is a tight area within the muscle tissue that can cause pain. Massage therapists identify and target trigger points during a trigger point massage to relieve pain and discomfort. They combine acupressure and deep-tissue massage techniques to reduce muscle tension and enhance blood flow. Typically, a massage therapist performs a trigger point massage on the whole body. However, they may focus more on specific areas that require attention to ensure effectiveness. Trigger point massage is best for people suffering from injury, chronic pain, and other muscle conditions.

Prenatal Massage

As its name implies, intending mothers benefit from this type of massage. The period of pregnancy is very delicate and can lead to complications without proper care. Pregnant women may suffer from high levels of stress, pain, and other emotional problems. Prenatal massage ensures that pregnant women are free from pain and discomfort. This massage uses mild pressure, like Swedish massage, to reduce the risks of complications.  Before prenatal massage, you should talk to your doctor or other healthcare professionals.

Other New Westminster massage therapy techniques available include sports massage, Thai massage, Shiatsu massage, Aromatherapy, reflexology, etc.

Massage therapy is not the only thing massage therapists offer. They also carry out some duties that ensure that the effects of massage therapy are long-lasting. Some of these include:

Patient Assessment

Massage therapists conduct a comprehensive evaluation before the beginning of any massage session. They enquire about the client’s medical history, physical conditions, symptoms, and other concerns. The results of this comprehensive assessment help massage therapists develop an effective personalised treatment plan that contains specific techniques and treatment goals. 

Client Education

Anytime during your treatment, our professionals can discuss some self-care tips to ensure the effectiveness of their massage therapy sessions and help their patients maintain overall health. 

Monitoring Client’s Progress

Massage therapists monitor their clients’ progress before and after sessions. They adjust the treatment plan and massage techniques according to the therapy response.

These and many more are the roles and responsibilities of massage therapists in Richmond, BC.

What Are The Benefits of Seeing a Massage Therapist?

The following are the benefits of seeing a massage therapist in Richmond:

  • Pain relief
  • Reduced stress hormones
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Improved sleep time and quality
  • Enhanced flexibility
  • Increased range of motion
  • Improved immune function
  • Faster recovery from soft tissue injuries
  • Reduced anxiety and depression


Massage therapists promote their clients’ overall health and well-being through non-invasive practices. They treat and manage several conditions by manipulating the body’s soft tissues. If you are suffering from chronic pain and other conditions, you should consider seeing a massage therapist at Cambie Physiotherapy.