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Frequently Asked Questions

Alternative health solution has become very popular.  But changing lifestyle can have many unknowns.  Here, you will find answers to common questions.


For how long should I hold a stretch?
A safe guideline for the time to hold a static stretch is 15 to 30 seconds. In order to increase flexibility you should take a stretch until you feel tension (but not pain) in the muscle and then hold this position until you feel the tension release (typically longer than 30 seconds). Flexibility is an important part of your overall health and fitness. When included in a cool down stretching aids in recovery by helping the body flush lactic acid and other waste products from the muscles.

What type of exercise is better: compound or isolation movements?
Compound exercises are those that require the use of two or more joints (ie squats) while isolation exercises use only one joint at a time (ie leg extension). Compound movements have greater muscle fiber recruitment, increase body awareness and coordination. They should form the foundation of a resistance-training program and be performed first. Once your muscles are fatigued and you’ve lost some of your concentration move on to isolation exercises. Isolation exercises can be less demanding and are effective to correct muscle imbalances.

Do I need a referral from my family doctor?
RMTs are primary contact providers, therefore patients no longer require a physician's referral for MSP coverage. With concern over government changes in health care, there is some misunderstanding about coverage for massage therapy. Most patients are still covered under some type of insurance, it is simply the type & amount of coverage that has changed for some individuals.

Does MSP cover Massage Therapy treatments?

Premium Assistance
Those who make less than $28,000 income per year still qualify for government premium assistance. MSP allows for a total of 10 treatments per calendar year for any combination of therapy (ie. massage therapy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, etc).
Extended Medical
Most extended medical plans will cover 75-100% of the treatment fees. The patient should check with their insurer to confirm details.
No Medical Coverage
For patients with no government or extended medical, some insurance companies are now offering private policies. The MTABC can help provide information for any patients wishing to consider the option of purchasing private coverage.
ICBC / WCB
Accepted claims are still covered by ICBC & WCB under authorization by the claims adjuster and with a doctor's referral. Approval for coverage can vary greatly so discuss this with your adjuster and/or RMT.

As there are many factors that can affect medical or insurance coverage for massage therapy, we encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you have with your local RMT.

How do I find out if I have coverage?
You can find out a few different ways. If you have an employee handbook, it may indicate whether or not you have coverage. You can also ask your employer. Another way is to phone the insurance company directly. Be sure to have your Group or ID numbers and access codes handy. Ask them:

  • How much coverage do you have, if any?
  • there any deductible? Is it per calendar year (ie: January-December)?
  • Do they cover a certain amount per visit or up to a maximum per year?
  • Do they cover a percentage up to a set amount or a maximum per year?
  • Is the maximum combined with any other therapy (ie: physiotherapy)?
  • Is a medical doctor's note required?

This is list is only a guide. You should confirm with your insurance company if the coverage applies to you individually. Check to see if your spouse or children also have coverage under your plan.

If my spouse has coverage, could I be covered under their plan?
If your spouse is covered and you are listed on their plan, then you generally have coverage. If you also have coverage through your own employer, you must use it up first before claiming on your spouse's plan. If you have no coverage at all, and your spouse does, you cannot claim it in their place.

For more information, please visit the MSP website.  MSP can be reached directly by calling:

Vancouver: 604 683-7151
Other areas of B.C. (toll-free): 1 800 663-7100


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