Elizabeth Esposito, Registered Massage Therapist and owner of Esposito Massage in Port Moody, shares her thoughts on the ‘need-to-knows’ of massage therapy for car accident recovery. Elizabeth has been practicing massage therapy for the last decade. She is a member of the MTABC and CMTBC. She has a big heart and looks out for the best interest of her patients.

1) Can you explain how massage therapy can help someone who has soft tissue injuries from a motor vehicle accident?

Massage therapy can aid in decreasing the person’s pain perception, will help to increase their mobility and help them with their rehabilitation goals if pain plays a factor in activities that they are not able to accomplish.

2) What is an appropriate length of time to wait before attending massage therapy following a car accident?

I recommend patients come in as close to the date of their accident as possible. The sooner the patient has an intervention from an injury, the faster their recovery.

3) How often do you recommend a person received massage therapy in order to get the maximum benefit?

The severity of the injury determines how often a person needs to attend massage therapy to get the maximum benefit. If the injury and pain is severe, I will recommend twice a week for two weeks. Once the patient starts to notice a change in their body then I will recommend dropping to once a week for three weeks. At that point I will reassess where the body is at. If the person is still getting the maximum benefit then I will recommend to them to come in every other week for three weeks until we can stretch out the length of time between treatments to a few times a year.

4) Is a doctor’s referral required in order for ICBC to cover massage treatment? Is there a maximum amount of treatment ICBC will cover?

Initially there is no doctor’s referral required for the initial 12 treatments. After 12 treatments a doctor’s note is recommended for eight more treatments. After having 20 treatments in total the decision is then made by their adjuster if they will still cover treatment. ICBC only covers $23 of the treatment cost so there is a user fee that is required to be satisfied by the patient. User fees vary depending on the length of treatment, for example a 1 hour treatment costs $110, ICBC covers $23 so the user fee for the patient is $87.

5) What makes massage therapy unique compared to other types of treatment?

Massage is very hands on and your therapist is with you for the entire time. Massage therapy manipulates and works with the soft tissue of a person’s body. It’s very personal because the therapist is working on the patient’s tissue for the entire treatment.

6) Can you de-bunk a myth about massage therapy?

Massage does not get rid of toxins out of your body. The human body has it’s own filtration system through the kidneys and liver. Most people feel the urge to urinate afterwards because getting a massage is like a work out without working out.

7) What qualities should a person to look for when hiring a massage therapist?

What people perceive is a good massage therapist is personal. Sometimes years of experience plays a role, but honestly, there are some great new therapists entering the profession that are often better than an older therapist because they are new and want to impress. Not to say that older therapists aren’t, just sometimes older therapists get into a rut and miss things. It’s all about your relationship with your therapist and personality because getting a massage therapy treatment is very personal and intimate. It is very important to make sure you find a therapist that stays up to date on current research and continues to educate themselves as much as possible instead of what is required.