I was in a car accident. Should I get a massage?
Motor vehicle collisions (MVCs), even minor ones, can have profound and long lasting effects on your body. Issues like whiplash, low back pain, headaches, etc. can manifest on a spectrum between annoying soreness to debilitating pain. Have you recently been in a car accident? Are you experiencing symptoms like these? Good news! Massage can help and your auto insurance will pay for it through your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage!
What is PIP?
All auto insurance plans in Washington State include PIP coverage*, which pays for the medical expenses associated with a car accident, no matter who caused the accident. This coverage includes massage therapy. PIP plans vary in terms of how much is covered and for how long, but the minimum coverage will be at least $10,000 and for at least 3 years following the accident. PIP covers your whole family and follows you, not your car. So whether you are in your car, driving a rental, or riding as a passenger in another car, you're covered. It will even provide coverage if you are hit by a car while cycling or walking.
What do I need to do?
First, confirm that you have an open PIP claim that hasn't reached it's limits by contacting your auto insurance agent. Second, get a referral (some medical providers call it a prescription) for massage therapy from your doctor. Once you have these things, contact me to set up your first appointment. You'll need to bring your claim number, your auto insurance card, and your referral for massage therapy with you. We'll do an initial exam, taking measurements and finding your current baseline of posture, pain, and function, and we will treat the areas affected by the collision. I will bill your insurance directly, and you don't have to pay for anything.
* The one exception to this rule is if you voluntarily declined PIP coverage on your plan and signed a statement saying that you understand the implications of not having this type of coverage.
I was injured at my job. Should I get a massage?
It can be difficult to get back to work after being injured on the job, but massage therapy can speed your recovery. Continuing to work while injured can lead to more pain and unsafe working conditions. Fortunately, your employer is required to provide worker's compensation medical coverage through Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).
What is L&I?
L&I claims will cover massage for injuries that occur while you’re working if deemed beneficial by your doctor. Unlike PIP coverage, which has the goal of returning the insured to their pre-incident condition, L&I coverage is aimed at getting you back to a working condition.
What do I need to do?
If you get injured on the job the first thing to do is report it to your employer. There are some forms you will need to fill out, and you will need to notify the Department of Labor & Industries. You will need to see a doctor for assessment and treatment, and get a referral (some medical providers call it a prescription) for massage therapy. When you have taken care of that, you can contact me to set up your first appointment. You'll need to bring your claim number, your employer information, and your referral for massage therapy with you. We'll do an initial exam, taking measurements and finding your current baseline of posture, pain, and function, and we will treat the areas affected by the incident. I will bill L&I directly, and you don't have to pay for anything. Your L&I claim will automatically cover your first six sessions, and depending upon your progress we can request coverage for additional visits.
Do you take my insurance?
I accept HSA and FSA cards, but I do not bill health insurance companies directly. If your insurance plan covers massage I can provide you with a superbill (a medical invoice) that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. Please contact your insurance company beforehand to ask if they will reimburse you, how much they will reimburse you for, and how many sessions per year they will cover. I cannot guarantee if/how much you will be reimbursed.
I do bill for PIP (auto insurance) and L&I (worker's comp) claims. If you have been injured in an auto or work accident, please contact me for more information if you would like to schedule an appointment for your claim. Your insurance will cover all costs of treatment.
How long are the sessions?
Treatment Massage sessions and Visceral Manipulation sessions range from 15 minutes to an hour, and Massage Therapy sessions are anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours. If you aren't sure how long of a session to schedule, 30-45 minutes is a good starting point for treatment sessions, and 90 minutes is best for most full body massage sessions. If you still aren't sure, contact me to discuss your situation and we'll make a plan.
What should I do before and after my massage?
Before your massage
Before your massage you should make sure that you are clean and well hydrated. You should drink plenty of water the day before and the day of your massage. Take a shower to relax and clean off, and please refrain from using any perfumes, colognes, or other heavily scented products. Other than that, you just need to mentally prepare to relax, heal, and change.
If this is your first appointment with me, you will also need to fill out an intake form. Please arrive a few minutes early to complete the form.
After your massage
Take it easy, but don't be sedentary. Movement is one of the best ways to reduce pain and maintain range of motion. It's a good idea to drink plenty of water, too. (Note: The reason usually given for drinking lots of water after a massage is to prevent headaches and flush out toxins, even though there is no evidence that massage releases toxins or that drinking more water after a massage will actually prevent headaches. However, most people are chronically dehydrated, so it's a good idea to increase your water intake anyway.)
Days that you aren't getting a massage
Continue drinking enough water and eating well. Exercise within your abilities and comfort levels. Do the stretches and/or movements that I've suggested. Meditate. Breathe. Book another session.
What should I wear during the session?
This partly depends on what type of session you're scheduled for.
Most types of massage are best done fully undressed to allow the flowing movements to have the best effects of full body reintegration. You will be under sheets and only the areas currently being massaged will be uncovered. If you aren't comfortable being fully undressed under the sheets, you are welcome to leave your underwear on, or to undress to whatever level feels safe for you. If you have any questions, please ask!
Treatment Massage or Visceral Manipulation
Unlike "traditional" full body massage, treatment massage seeks to affect one or two specific areas of concern. These sessions are usually done partially clothed (e.g., loose shorts and tank top - no bra or other tight clothing) and without any oil, but we can make adjustments to clothing options based on what you're comfortable with and what areas we are treating. I will be feeling and working with subtle lines of tension in the body, and restrictive clothing like tight jeans or bras can make it more difficult to assess and treat.
What parts of my body will be massaged?
A typical full-body session can include your back, arms, hands, legs, glutes, hips, feet, shoulders, abdomen, chest, neck, face, jaw, and/or head. Most sessions also include massage of the breasts, but it is always optional and up to you to include or exclude this area in your massage (read more about breast massage here).
Treatment sessions are more focused and will mostly include the structures that are painful or dysfunctional, and incorporate other areas we find that may be contributing to the dysfunction. If you need extra focus on any of these areas, or if you need any areas to be avoided, just let me know when you come in.
What are the benefits of massage therapy?
When looking at scientific research on general massage, the benefit that stands out above all others is, surprisingly, reducing anxiety and depression.
Massage therapy sessions can also play a role in relieving chronic muscle tension and pain, increasing joint range of motion, reducing mental and physical fatigue and stress, promoting faster healing of injured muscle and connective tissue, improving posture, and reducing blood pressure. Massage and bodywork is also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, and create an overall sense of well-being.
What kind of music will play during the session?
Short answer: whatever you want! I usually have some good options including calm solo piano, ethereal spa/relaxation, new age with a gentle beat, or even electronic/world/dance music. If there's something that you want to listen to, please let me know or bring it in!