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Therapeutic Massage - FAQ

When should I get a massage?
Any time is a good time to get a massage. You don't need to wait until you're injured or experiencing stress. Massage can work as preventive care for your body and mind. Regular massages can help you cope with both physical and emotional stress and can keep stress from causing discomfort or pain to your body.

Do I need to be a Kaiser Permanente member to receive a therapeutic massage?
The Kaiser Permanente Center for Complementary Medicine is open to everyone. You do not have to be a Kaiser Permanente member to come to our facilities and receive chiropractic, acupuncture, or massage treatment. Whether you are a member or nonmember, you will receive the same high-quality care.

Do I need a referral from my primary care physician?
No. You may contact the Center for Complementary Medicine directly to learn more about the services provided or to book an appointment.

Are there times when I should avoid getting a massage?
Please consult your massage therapist before you begin your massage if you have any of the following conditions:

•           Any infectious disease 
•           A systemic infection, such as a bacterial or fungal infection
•           Certain types of cancer, such as leukemia or lymphoma 
•           Severe cold or flu and related muscle soreness 
•           Fracture, bleeding, burns, or other acute injury 
•           Liver and kidney diseases 
•           Blood clots 
•           Pregnancy-induced diabetes, toxemia, eclampsia, or pre-eclampsia
•           High blood pressure (unless under control with medication) 
•           Heart disease 
•           Open skin lesions or sores

What types of massage do you offer?
The most common types of massage we offer are:

  • Craniosacral therapy, which focuses on the tissues around the skull and spinal cord
  • Deep tissue massage, an intense massage for the relief of chronic conditions
  • Integrative massage, which combines massage with other bodywork techniques
  • Neuromuscular massage, a massage of precise points for pain relief
  • Prenatal massage, which promotes relaxation during your pregnancy, relieves stress on joints, reduces swelling, and prepares muscles that will be used in childbirth
  • Sports massage, which is used to prevent injuries before sporting events and soothe muscles afterwards
  • Swedish massage, which is used to ease muscle tension and promote relaxation
  • Trigger point therapy, which is used to release muscles that have been overused or injured

How much time do I need?
If you only want your practitioner to work on a couple of problem areas, a 30-minute massage should be enough. If you'd like to work a few areas, you may want a one-hour session. This may depend on your needs and the type of massage you'd like. Your practitioner will usually be able to massage your entire body in an hour-long Swedish massage session. For your first session, you should arrive 15 minutes early so you will have time to answer questions about your needs and your health history.

I have sensitive skin. What do you massage with?
We use a hypoallergenic massage cream. Your practitioner will always ask before using any other products.

What if I'm overweight?
Our massage therapists have seen bodies in every imaginable shape and size, from young to old. They will not judge your physique.

What causes tension in the muscles?
Incorrect posture, stress, daily activity, extracurricular activity, dehydration, and injury are all common causes of muscle tension.

What does a massage therapist's license or certification mean?
Certification means that the massage therapist has successfully passed a specific course or test and been granted a certificate. There are state and national certification tests for massage therapists.

What health conditions can massage help?
Therapeutic massage can help with musculoskeletal conditions, headaches, postsurgical pain, accident-related injuries, headaches, prenatal pain, fibromyalgia, and muscular pain caused by arthritis.

What happens during a therapeutic massage?
After you have filled out the proper forms, the massage therapist will take you to a private room where you will undress to your desired comfort level and get on the massage table. A sheet or towel will be provided. The therapist will tell you whether to start the massage lying on your stomach or on your back. There will be a pillow or bolster on the table for you. If you're lying face down, the pillow or bolster goes under your ankles. If you're lying face up, it goes under your knees. Feel free to ask your therapist if you have any questions. He or she will be happy to explain.

When your therapist finishes massaging one area of the body, he or she will re-cover that area and undrape the next area to be massaged.

Can I work out after my massage?
It's best to wait 24 hours before working out because any fast, vigorous movements after massage may strain the muscles. If you absolutely have to work out the same day, wait at least four hours after the your massage.

Why is it important to drink water?
During the massage, cellular waste and toxins are released. Drinking water can flush those out of the body. Staying hydrated can also help your muscles recover more quickly.

How often should I schedule a massage?
If you are in acute pain, you should try to come in every one to two weeks. Regular, frequent massages can help you break the pain cycle. Once your pain is less intense, you can come in every two to three weeks. If you are not in pain and are seeking treatment for overall health and wellness, every four to six weeks is appropriate.

Can I speak during a massage?
The key to a massage is relaxation and allowing yourself to enjoy the experience. Many clients talk in the initial stages of a massage but become more quiet as they become more relaxed. If you find it more relaxing to speak with your therapist, you may do so. But it's fine to stay quiet if that's what you prefer.

There are times when you should speak up during a massage. If anything makes you uncomfortable, please let your therapist know. If the massage is too light or too strong, speak with your therapist so that you get exactly what you are looking for.

Will a massage hurt?
Overall, a therapeutic massage should feel good. Massage does not have to be painful in order to effect change. A light massage that doesn't probe very deeply into your muscles shouldn't hurt at all. If you have tension deep within your muscles, you may need a more intense massage that may cause slight temporary discomfort while your practitioner is working on a particular muscle. Some people prefer deeper massages, while others prefer lighter ones. There is no right or wrong way. Make your preference known to the therapist, and give feedback at any time during a massage.

Be sure to tell your massage therapist if you have a sharp pain, as this may indicate that a muscle is injured or inflamed.


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Unless your coverage includes a separate rider for chiropractic and/or acupuncture benefits, the products and services described here are provided on a fee-for-service basis, separate from and not covered under your health plan benefits, and you are financially responsible to pay for them. Clinical services are provided by providers or contractors of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, or employees of either Health Plan or Colorado Permanente Medical Group, P.C. Results of services vary among patients and cannot be guaranteed. For specific information about your health plan benefits, please see your Evidence of Coverage. Photos of models shown, not actual patients.

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