Massage Therapy FAQ

Is massage therapy covered by MSI or my private health plan?

Many insurance companies offer massage therapy coverage under their extended healthcare packages and most offer direct billing by the massage therapist.

All plans are unique so we recommend contacting your insurance provider for details of your coverage and to determine whether direct billing is an option for you. A referral is not necessary to visit a massage therapist however, if you are claiming massage under an extended health care plan you may require a physician’s referral or other specific criteria for coverage. Check your individual policy to determine your type of coverage.

MTANS’ members are eligible to write insurance receipts for therapeutic massage services to submit to your health plan. In some cases, online billing is available.

Massage is NOT covered by MSI, the provincial health plan.

What is the focus of a massage treatment session?

If you have a particular injury that you need treated, the session will be more focused on the injured area. When you have an injury, testing will be done to determine the cause of the pain so that treatment can be more focused.

The testing can include assessing your posture, or the length or strength of your muscles, or trying to determine if the pain is caused by something other than muscle tissue, like ligaments or nerves. You will not require special clothing for these tests. The techniques during a treatment session may be uncomfortable at times, but the therapist will provide you with the things to do at home to relieve your discomfort and continue healing.

These may include stretching or strengthening exercises or information about the application of heat or ice. At no time should a massage be painful. Always check with your therapist about what pressure level and techniques feel right for you.

What should I wear?

Following an interview about your session, you will be left in privacy to change for the massage. You should dress to your comfort level. Massage can be done over your clothes, or over the sheets or directly on your skin. During massage therapy treatments you are covered with sheets and only the area that is being treated is uncovered. Some clients choose to disrobe completely, others are more comfortable leaving on their undergarments or remaining fully clothed.

What if I have allergies or prefer scent free products?

There are several lotions available – most are hypoallergenic. Some lotions do contain nut oils or scents so please discuss any allergies or preferences with your therapist.

Why do I need to fill out a health history form?

The health history you complete will help your therapist provide a safe and effective treatment. There are certain drugs and health conditions that may affect your treatment session from what techniques can be used to how you lie on the table. All the information you provide is confidential so discuss any concerns you have with your therapist.

This form will need to be updated annually.

Is it OK to talk during my massage?

The time that you book with a therapist is YOUR time. Whether you are coming for stress reduction or therapy, your session can be improved by you concentrating on what is happening with your breathing, with your muscles, and the whole experience. Some people do this in silence while others find that talking helps relieve some of their pent up stress. It is your time – do whatever feels right, and remember this can change from session to session.

Is massage therapy appropriate if  I am uncomfortable with my body?

This is one of the most common feelings that people give as a reason they delay getting care. If you consider your family or work environment, you know that there are many body types. Differences in posture, height, weight, skin condition and muscle tone are what makes us so great and so unique. Massage therapists are highly trained health care workers. You will never be judged for who you are! And remember, if you are still uncomfortable with your body, you can choose to have your treatment done over the sheets or while you are fully clothed.

Is there a complaints procedure?

MTANS holds its members to a high standard and requires adherence to a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. If you have had an interaction with a member of MTANS that you feel was somehow inappropriate, you can file a complaint. Fill out this form. Then the complaint will move to our Complaints Committee. The first step is communication with the therapist to advise them of the complaint and offer a chance for a resolution. This resolution would have to be one in which both the client and the therapist feel like they have been heard, as well the complainant should leave the process with their concerns addressed. In some cases, this is not possible. If the behavior was too far from the standards, or if there is no mutually agreed to solution, then the issue is escalated to a Discipline Committee.

It is important to remember that massage therapy is not a regulated health profession in Nova Scotia, so any disciplinary action can be enforced only within our membership. This means that if MTANS decided to put limitations on a member or remove their membership with our organization, a person could simply continue working in Nova Scotia, without being affiliated with any massage association. We cannot stop a person from practicing, only from practicing as an MTANS member.

If you feel that your interaction with a therapist was in violation of local laws – like theft, fraud, sexual or physical or emotional abuse, you should contact the police in your area. Use these links to find contact information for your local police station or your local RCMP detachment.