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Burrard Health Centre Massage Therapy Takes on Nurse Week at St. Paul Hospital

burrard massage therapy at st paul's nurse weekmassage therapy for nurses













It has been our pleasure and honour to participate Nurse Week at St. Paul Hospital, specifically Aara, Jenny, Marco, Bonnie and the rest of the group who work there as volunteers.

Being a nurse is demanding, in fact, a study found that more than half of nurses suffer from moderate to extreme anxiety during their work.  Currently there are numerous theories that validate Massage Therapy as effective in managing stress.  Scientific explanations focus on how massage therapy can affect the neurochemicals and reactions in the SNS (sympathetic nervous system) and the PNS (peripheral nervous system) related to various stress disorders. 

A simple explanation is that stress increases muscle tension, and when a muscle is tensed, circulation is reduced, blocking the absorption of oxygen and nutrients.  Massage Therapy decreases tension, loosens up the muscles, increases circulation, bringing the oxygen and nutrients back to the area of tension, and even releases stored toxins.   Burrard Massage Therapy hopes well-deserving nurses will be back to treat themselves to a massage therapy for their own well-being. We look forward to seeing you all again very soon!

5 steps to a Summer-Ready Body!

getting your body ready for summer weather











Summer’s just around the corner, and there are lots of fun and exciting things waiting for you – whether you want to look great on the beach or enjoy outdoor activities, preparation must start NOW, since it won’t happen overnight.  Here are 5 steps to get healthy and have your body ready for the great summer:

    Start making it a habit of drinking plenty of water.  Drinking lots of water is important as it boosts your energy, health and appearance.  It is the best natural detoxifier in flushing impurities out of your system, so it is important to hydrate yourself during the warmer months. 
    Eating healthy will not only help you look good, it will keep you feel great; Vitamin A, C and E found in vegetables and fruits all provide you antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. 
    Start protecting your skin by wearing sunscreen everyday from now through the end of the summer.  Choose sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.  Even on a cloudy your  skin is susceptible to damage from harmful rays causing the look of premature aging.  Don’t forget sunglasses for your eyes as well.
    Make sure to exercise regularly to get your body ready for summer.   Exercise increases circulation, reduces stress, and helps you sleep better at night.  Walking, stretching, biking…these are all great ways to exercise that are easily added to your daily routine now that we have nicer weather!
    Last but not the least, visit a Registered Massage Therapist for a massage.  Not only will a massage improve your mental and physical health, but it will also get you ready for physical activities and prevent injuries.  Massage even works on cellulite by tightening your skin, helping to reduce the look of excess fat on your body. With all the great benefits massage therapy provides, it also feels great! So make sure to book an appointment with your massage therapist today and get ready to enjoy your summer! 

How Massage therapy Can Benefit Long Distance Runners


Are you running a Marathon this spring or summer, like the BMO Marathon or the ScotiaBank Half Marathon? How does your body feel and how do you deal with training and injuries? Whether you’re an avid runner or just want to finally challenge yourself to accomplish your first Marathon, self-care is an important part of any training program. How can Massage Therapy benefit runners like yourself?

Running a 42km marathon is no easy task for someone who hasn’t run any more than 5-10KM.  Running involves repetitive muscle contractions, and these sustained, repetitive muscular contractions lead to shortened, tight muscles, decreased joint range of motion to compressed tissues.  The greater the distance, the greater the pressure and stress put on your body.   

People come in all different shapes, heights and sizes. Sharing the common goal to reach the finish line, running can have a different impact on every individual. You may suffer from recurring injuries, you may be setting a new distance goal or having particular orthotic problem.  If you are not wearing proper foot wear, you may end up having irritated feet and suffer inflammation like Plantar Fasciitis. Some people may have tight muscles (hamstrings, quads and calf muscles) and if they don’t stretch regularly, these muscles can go to spasm or affect overall posture.  Common injuries with running are tendinitis, Illio Tibia Band syndrome, shin splints, and various joint problems in the knees, ankles and hip joints.  During your 16-18 weeks of training, as you add more mileage to your training your body demands more self care, rest, hydration and nutrition. You have to be prepared to identify some of the obstacles and weakness that may lead to injury.

It is highly effective to make therapeutic massage part of your training program as effects and benefits increase with sequential, repetitive massages throughout your pre-race and post-race schedule.

Massage Therapy can help…

  1. relieve muscle tightness and restore joint range of motion
  2. improve blood circulation and oxygen carrying capacity, lowering blood pressure
  3. promote removal of metabolic waste and reduce cortisol levels 
  4. restore posture and gait, improve connective tissue healing and prevent future injury

Massage Therapy is a great injury preventative program as well as part of a comprehensive recovery program.  Unlike spa or relaxing massage, “Therapeutic Massage” is a specific type of massage, in which Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) are licensed and trained to treat you with their anatomical/biomechanical knowledge and to help you loosen tight muscles in your lower extremities, removing lactic build up due to training and stretching while during treatment.  Massage Therapists are also trained to provide specific stretching and strengthening exercises that will prevent you from further risk of injury.

If you are going to run a Marathon and if this is your first time doing so, the best advice is to listen to your body, pace yourself with your training and get treatment from you registered Massage Therapist and you most likely will achieve your goals. Wishing you the best of luck! 

Why It’s Important to Address Shoulder Pain as Early as Possible

 massage therapy to treat shoulder pain

Shoulder pain is one of the biggest problems we see with our clients. Whether you are an athlete playing a sport that involves your upper extremities or someone who doesn’t play a lot of sports but sits stationary behind a desk and computer, shoulder pain can be inevitable.  In both cases shoulders are a very complex part of our musculoskeletal region that are involved with most of our tasks and active daily living. Shoulder muscles function mostly in a coupling, agonist and antagonist pattern of muscle that creates a movement. The muscles have to work together to accomplish a one-plane or complex range of motion. This complex range of motion can often be comprimised during physical activity or sports that don’t engage the opposing muscles of the shoulder. This theory applies to people who work at the office and have to sit at a desk, using a computer. Sedentary lifestyles and working stationary often causes muscle imbalance in the shoulder by a group of muscles becoming weak through inactivity and dysfunction due to a prolonged short, contractile position.

Some of most common problems in the shoulders are impingement, tendinitis and restricted capsular movement. Common irritation like impingement and tendinitis occurs with repetitive movement like sports that involves the upper extremities (volleyball, tennis, swimming etc.).

Capsular restriction can be pathological, postural, or due to muscle imbalance. An example of muscle imbalance would be tight chest muscles which would restrict moving the arm away or raise the arm above the head. Postural mostly involves tight muscles which are attached and coordinate the front of the shoulder and weak muscles that are involved in coordinating the back of the shoulder.

Pathology like arthritis and some immunological diseases can affect the shoulder joint can lead to adhesion and sometimes fusion of the joint. Professional Physical Therapists are able to find out and have an idea about this by using special tests to indicate and differentiate the common injuries and the pathology of the shoulder girdle.

Alternative therapy like Massage Therapy is helpful to create a balance between weak and tight muscles in the shoulder region. Therapists are also trained to give you home care and exercises that help with the rehabilitation of the shoulder to return it to full function. Recognizing the common shoulder injury, tightness and muscle imbalance at the earliest stage possible is highly recommended, as ignoring an even minor pain in the shoulder and not seeking help may even cause further complications, which will cause more pain, discomfort and cost you more money to rehabilitate.

See your Massage Therapist if you have any pain or discomfort so the Therapist can help and assure you can be pain free and carry on with your active daily living whether you are playing sports or working at the office behind the desk everyday.

Shem RMT

How Neck Pain Changes Muscles


Neck pain is one of the leading complaints brought into Massage Therapists on a daily basis. Research has thoroughly gone into studying the neck flexors (front neck muscles), yet there is a lack of research into the neck extensors (back neck muscles). A study was recently done to look at the changes that undergo extensor neck muscles in people with neck pain. In the study, the muscles are found to change from type one to type two muscle fibers. What this means in layman’s terms, is that the back neck muscles change from being postural and able to support long periods of weight and stress, to being phasic and tiring out after supporting weight for too long. Massage Therapy can treat these muscles by using exercises to reactivate the muscles that are becoming phasic.

        Due to modern desk work ergonomics, people are developing head forward posture with slumped shoulders. These people are getting tight, short chest and front of neck muscles, while the back muscles can get tight and long. Reactivating these tight and long muscles with massage therapy (and proper home exercises) will help to correct the poor posture, decrease the every day pain experienced and allow the dysfunctional muscles to function in postural support once more!  

 neck muscles and massage therapy

Causes of Lower Back Pain

Lower back Pain is a common disorder which involves pain and discomfort along the lumbar region and Sacroiliac region of the back. Pain in the lower back often is associated with musculoskeletal regions like muscles, ligaments and nerves, and the interverteberal discs or articulation where the spine stacks on one another.

Lower back pain can be acute or chronic. Pain in an acute stage is commonly related to sudden movement in a twisted range of motion while lifting an object and it can also be caused by an impact or sports injury. Chronic lower back pain can be caused by biomechanical systems, muscle imbalance, inflexibility, work ergonomics, and pathology like degenerative disc disease. Symptoms like shooting or referral muscle pain, walking, sitting and or standing up can apply to common types of lower back pain.

Muscle strain is the most common cause of lower back pain and that is often due to sudden unnatural or violent movement and can easily create an over stretch or possible minor or major tear in the muscles, or fascia and ligaments that are involved with stability and kinetic  movement of our body.

Nerve root irritation is another common cause of lower back pain and its symptoms are quite pronounced and pain can refer down to lower extremities and it can become debilitating. In cases of nerve root irritation it can also lead to muscle spasm, tightness and guarding in the effected region.

Facet joints are the joints at the back of each vertebra the hold the vertebra together. These joints enable the back to twist and bend but if strained by a sudden jerk it can cause severe back pain known as Facet joint lock syndrome.

A nerve root irritation is a intra vertebral disc protrusion that rubs or causes pressure on the nerve root of its segment.

Degenerative Disc Disease, Spinal Stenosis, and other immunological diseases that can affect the musculoskeletal system can also cause contribute to our lower back pain.

Some non- medical conditions like being overweight, having bad posture and muscle imbalance are also the causes of lower back pain. For example, muscle imbalance – if the hip flexors are tight and erector spinae  muscles are weak, a stretch can apply stress on the skeletal structure and can lead to lower back pain.

The causes of lower back pain and these prevention tips will surely give you a better understanding of different factors that lead to backache and the various measures that can be employed to avoid them. Hence, with proper lower back exercises, a balanced diet and body mechanics, you can keep your back trouble free throughout your life.

Registered Massage Therapists of BC are well trained professional and have learned through their intense training how to assesses and find the cause of your lower back pain. They are also able to make a differential diagnosis of what can be causing the pain primarily and the secondary cause of discomfort.

Registered Massage Therapist of BC also have vast training with manual therapy techniques  and are able to alleviate the pain on the effected region by treating the compensatory muscles and bring some relief to the area. RMT’s are also well trained to give proper and specific stretching and strengthening exercises and other modalities like hydrotherapy application.

Book your appointment with us at Burrard Massage Therapy and experience effective and relaxing massage therapy treatment.


Shem RMT

Have You Seen A Massage Therapist About Your Jaw Pain Yet?

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) is a common condition that can be quite painful and irritating, yet many diagnosed individuals don’t get treatment. Every single jaw movement a TMJD sufferer attempts can result in clicking and pain that has become their definition of normal jaw function. People shouldn’t have to live in fear of accidently eating solid food or laughing too hard, causing them to open their mouth to the point of pain. Now, facial pain and clicking sounds aren’t the only symptoms of TMJD. Some people experience their jaw locking, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), earaches, dizziness, toothaches, headaches, and neck/shoulder pain. Massage therapy is an effective way to treat the pain and tension associated with TMJD that can result in long term results and diminishing severity of symptoms.

The root cause of TMJD can be muscle imbalances and/or disc dislocation. Massage therapy can treat the knotted muscles with fascial connective tissue release, Swedish massage, and ischemic point pressure release (myofascial trigger point pressure release). Your registered massage therapist will know how to target the muscles connected to the jaw and which outlying muscles are possibly referring additional pain to the jaw. Another helpful technique British Columbia RMTs are trained in is intra-oral massage. This technique can allow the therapist access to muscles that normally are not treated, aiding to increase relief of disc-dislocation problems.

Lastly, homecare will be given to enable you to deal with the pain in between appointments. Strengthening the alignment of your jaw is crucial, and will take time. Looking in a mirror and performing any alignment exercises or any stretches that your therapist has shown you will contribute to better jaw health. At Burrard Massage Therapy we believe treatment doesn’t need to end at the clinic door, our RMT’s are trained in remedial exercise and encourage clients to be pro-active enough to perform their assigned self care exercises at home. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction symptoms can be reduced through diligent treatment with a BC registered massage therapist, so we can give you a reason to smile again!


Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Your Shoulder Pain



Pain free movement is often taken for granted. It isn’t until you reach out to brush your hair or pull on a sweater that you realize how crucial having a full range of motion is! Without a proper treatment plan, that annoying pain can become an incapacitating injury. In this article you’ll learn the anatomy of impingement syndrome, and what steps you can take to treat it before surgical intervention is your only option.

Every body has a different and unique body. For ages this saying has been used to help build self esteem, and anatomically it makes sense. In the shoulder girdle, there is a bone process on each end of the collarbone called an acromion. For 59% of people, this bone structure is flat or slightly curved. In the remaining 41% of people, this bone is shaped like a hook. If you are in the latter fraction of people, your hooked acromion can cause painful impingement over time with poor posture and overuse. 

If you’re noticing that you can’t raise your arm without pain, it’s time to see your local registered massage therapist. The subacromial bursa (a little fluid filled balloon between your muscles and bone) is usually the first structure to become irritated. As the shoulder impingement advances the muscle tendons can become inflamed (tendonitis) and fibrosis forms. While this damage is reversible, the next progression is tendinous rupture. At this stage, the tiny acromion bone often is undergoing bony changes and surgery may be required to be able to move your arm without pain.

Why force yourself to live with shoulder pain when it will just cause further damage to your body? A massage therapist can treat the hypertoned and compressed muscles by utilizing tendinous release and pressure point release to decrease the tension and allow better slide and glide between the body’s structures. At later stages of compression, massage can be helpful in decreasing the fibrotic tissue by bringing fresh blood flow to the tissues and realigning collagen in the inflamed tendons. At Burrard Massage Therapy, we don’t believe our treatment ends after your session.  Besides performing a deep tissue massage, your therapist can inform you on homecare and ergonomic work choices that will allow you to take your health care into your own hands. 

How Massage Therapy Compliments Pregnancy



Pregnancy is a state of wellness associated with a women’s body adapting to foster and nurture the growth and development of a fetus. The changes that the woman undergoes enable her to bear a child while allowing her to continue on with her activities of daily living. Often people have a tendency to blow off their own health as expendable. This is a personal choice, but dynamics begin to change when others are affected by such decisions. Once considered an old wives tales, for two decades research has been backing the age old claim that stress can negatively affect child birth. The most notable of correlations between stress and childbirth are pre-term delivery and low birth weight.  Statistically one in ten babies will be born before they are due! There is also an association between a child’s developed IQ being lower when the mother has had periods of high stress during pregnancy.


One of the changes the body undergoes in the first trimester is the connective tissue of the low back forming a support network that carries the extra weight of the fetus and stabilizes the woman’s vertebrae and pelvis. In layman’s terms, the body creates a sling of fibers to cradle the baby in a way that distributes the weight evenly as possible. After the woman’s body has established this structure, the massage therapist can safely perform deep techniques that target the lower back, buttock and hip muscles. A treatment aimed at these specific areas aids in relieving points of tension along the fibrous sling while maintaining the support of the expanding abdomen.


 Massage therapy is a non-invasive and safe method of relieving the constant aches and pains of pregnancy while giving the mother a mental and physical break. Innovative pregnancy pillows now allow a pregnant woman to lay face down comfortably. This position allows muscles that are in a constantly overworked state to take a momentary, and much needed, break! The luxury of being positioned face down allows a treatment consisting of long relaxing massage techniques which are helpful in reducing the swelling in the lower limbs that plagues many pregnant women. The extra weight travels down from the abdomen to the last load bearing location, the feet! A relaxing foot massage helps to alleviate the mother-to-be of any distress, elevating her mood and mental state.


Massage therapy has been shown to relieve the physical pain that presents during all trimesters in safe manner. It also decreases the stress hormones within the body, relaxing the mom to be while potentially benefiting the birthing procedure and the future baby’s IQ. Either way, massage therapy is a win-win situation for the mother and child!

Insurance Benefits for Massage Therapy

You’ve Got Massage Therapy Benefits!

Now, what does that mean?



You’ve worked hard throughout your life to get yourself into a position that allows you access to the much sought after prize of extended benefits. Now, what? How do you turn your elusive benefits package into a tangible massage therapy appointment, and more importantly, how do you claim these treatments and get your hard earned money back into your account where it belongs.

To help you out, we’ve researched the reimbursement process for registered massage therapy (RMT) with a couple popular insurance companies.  You might notice repetition in some of the steps listed, and that’s due to the majority of these companies creating a simplified claiming system to make it easier for you, the consumer. We hope this will make utilizing your well-deserved benefits less ominous so you can enjoy your treatment without worrying about your finances.

Many people assume that a doctor’s referral is required in order to book a claimable massage therapy appointment. This is false. In reality, the only thing required for you to book a massage therapy appointment is a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) and an available slot in their schedule. Doctor’s notes are commonly only needed for ICBC and WorksafeBC claims only. Extended health benefits allow you to come in for treatment anytime you like and for any ailment you have.

Once you have booked and received your treatment you’ll pay the full price of the massage treatment for the time allotted and will be given an official RMT receipt. This piece of paper is your proof to the insurance company that you did, in fact, receive and pay for the treatment.

Online Submitting

            Many companies have a process for online submitting. If we haven’t created a step by step guide for your specific insurance broker, fear not! The process is very similar for each company. With online submitting, you go to your insurance broker’s website and sign into your plan with your plan number and password. You then complete your claim form, and send in your claim virtually.  While you are not required to mail in your receipts with your claim, you are required to keep your receipts safe, and send them in only if requested. This method of submission is instantaneous and you are generally done filing your claim the second you hit the ‘send’ button!


With Sunlife Vision Insurance following 2 easy steps takes only a few moments, and allows you to send your claim in online. What’s the benefit of this? Your payment will be directly deposited into your bank account within 48 hours of clicking ‘send!’

1: Make sure you’re registered for online access by either visiting or by phoning in to 1-877-SUN-LIFE (1-877-786-5433). You will need to know your policy number (037000) and ID number.

2: Sign in and submit your claim! They’ll ask for the practitioner’s name and medical registration number. 

*Keep your original receipts.

To keep yourself organized at the tap of a button, check out the Sun Life Mobile app and you can submit your claim before you even leave your practitioner’s office!

Need more information or have some quick questions? Call 1-877-SUN-LIFE or visit for some answers.


1: Register to the online website , make sure you’ve got your policy number and ID number handy. 

2: Fill out a few tidbits about your claim to double check that you can, in fact, submit your claim online. Things they’ll want to know about the claim are if it’s through WCB or ICBC. 

3: Sign in and submit your claim! They’ll ask for the practitioner’s name and medical registration number.

*Keep you original receipts.

For visual learners out there, check out this fantastic video Bluecross has released on the simplicity of online submitting: