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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Benefits of Massage for Tendonitis

Benefits of Massage for Tendonitis

by Jenna Birtch, RMT

Tendons are bundles or bands of strong fibers that connect muscles to the bones. They transmit the force from the muscle to the bone to produce the movement of joints. When in a good state, tendons glide easily and smoothly as the muscles contract.

Like some parts of the body, tendons tend to get overworked especially when a person is engaged in rigorous and prolonged actions such as sports, or experiences a repetitive strain injury from various activities. When this fibrous tissue tears apart, it becomes inflamed. This inflammation is commonly described as tendonitis. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), though inflammation is a tissue’s natural response to injury, if it remains untreated, inflamed tendons become thickened, irregular and permanently weakened over time.

The bone and muscle which the tendon bonds to heal relatively faster, but tendons have a relatively poor blood supply, and for that reason, it recovers slowly. While there is evidence that suggests supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin (which are commonly used to treat osteoarthritis) may also be used in preventing and treating tendonitis, there is still no direct proof that these supplements work. That’s why many who suffer in tendonitis choose massage as an alternative treatment.

The benefits of massage for tendonitis are many.  There are various massage therapy techniques that work on the injured fibers in order to increase circulation and stimulate the fibroblast proliferation in the tendon which helps with the repair of any damaged collagen. As referred by Dr. Ombregt, the author of the book A System of Orthopaedic Medicine, massage can be used after an injury and for mechanical overuse in muscular, tendinous and ligamentous structures. In many instances, it can be a good alternative to an injection of steroids. It is a common clinical observation that application of massage therapy leads to immediate pain relief – the patient experiences a numbing effect during the massage and after the session shows a reduction in pain and increase in strength and mobility. Massage is usually slower in effect than injections but leads to a physically more fundamental resolution, resulting in a more permanent cure and less recurrence.

When suffering from tendonitis, it’s always best to consult a Registered Massage Therapist who understands the complications of the tissues and who is well-versed with massage techniques that work or do not work in a particular area of the body.  At Jenna Birtch Registered Massage Therapy Clinic we understand what it takes to bring relief to people suffering from tendonitis.  If you are suffering from tendonitis contact the clinic at 519-854-9515 and arrange to see a Registered Massage Therapist today!

TMJ Disorder

TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is very common, affecting over 10 million people in the United States. The temporomandibular joint is the small joint located in front of each ear that attaches the lower jaw to the skull. These joints work in combination with various jaw muscles and ligaments, making it possible to open and close the mouth, chew, speak and swallow. When the temporomandibular joints, jaw muscles and ligaments are prevented from working together properly, a painful TMJ disorder may occur.

TMJ disorder can be treated with massage therapy

TMJ disorder can be managed with massage therapy. Massage therapy reduces the tension of the chewing muscles to eliminate “knots” in the muscles surrounding the jaw area.  The temporomandibular joint, most commonly known as the jaw joint, is a flexible hinge which connects the mandible or lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. It is found in front of the ear on each side of the head.

Possible causes of TMJ-related symptoms include arthritis, fractures, dislocations, and structural problems present since birth.  However, for many people with TMJ disorders, the cause is unknown.


Certain factors can make people more prone to TMJ disorder.

  • Having one dominant chewing side
  • Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) – many people grind their teeth when they sleep or clench their teeth during stressful situations and this places unnecessary stress on the jaw.
  • Whiplash Injury to the neck.
  • Dentures – wearing worn-down or ill-fitting dentures can cause jaw imbalance.
  • Repetitive Chewing – consistent gum chewing or tendency to eat other chewy foods can weaken jaw muscles.
  • Telephone Use – using the phone for long periods of time whilst cradling the phone between the chin and shoulder can cause jaw pain.
  • Poor posture – holding the head forward while looking at a computer all day strains the muscles of the face and neck.
  • Dental Work – prolonged periods of holding the mouth open

Massage is one of many techniques that can help address the cause of TMJ disorders. Whether the pain comes from a jaw injury, arthritis, or simply the fatigue from repeatedly grinding or clenching your teeth, regular massage therapy can make a difference. Various massage techniques can provide holistic and effective treatment for TMJ disorder. At Jenna Birtch Registered Massage Therapy Clinic we happily provide massage therapy for TMJ disorder. If you are interested or wish to speak to a Registered Massage Therapist, please contact the clinic at 519-854-9515.



Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, 3800 N. Interstate Ave, Portland, Oregon 97227, USA. lynn.debar@kpchr.org

Beuscher JJ. Temporomandibular joint disorders. Am Fam Physician. 2007;76(10):1477

Hampton T. Improvements needed in the management of temporomandibular joint disorders. JAMA. 2008;299(10):1119-1121.

Direct Billing for Massage Therapy in London Ontario

Direct Billing for Massage Therapy in London Ontario

Direct billing for massage therapy in London Ontario is now offered by Jenna Birtch.  We are now offering direct billing to various insurance companies for massage therapy services.

Direct billing is available for the following insurers:

  • Desjardins
  • Great West Life
  • Standard Life (available May 12, 2013)

Massage therapy is not publicly funded by the provincial government in Ontario. Individual clients, either directly, or through an insurance plan, pay for massage therapy services.

The Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario (RMTAO) has published this Guideline to assist individuals who receive services from a Registered Massage Therapist in understanding the fee structure and the legal and practice requirements with which massage therapists must comply.


When paying through an insurance plan, some Massage Therapists will bill directly while others will require payment for the client who then submits the claim to their insurance provider.

Some insurance plans may require a physician’s referral prior to the start of massage therapy treatments while others allow treatment without referrals.  Most billing plans have a maximum amount available.  Please consult your extended health benefit plan.

The following is a summary of the reimbursement options available:

  • Employer-Sponsored Extended Health Insurance Plans, which may be administered by private companies
  • Consumer Purchased Extended Health Insurance Plans
  • Veterans Affairs Canada, in the case of war veterans
  • Private Automobile Insurance Companies, in the case of clients who are victims of motor vehicle accidents (under the authority of the Auto Insurance Rate Stability Act, 1996)
  • The WorkPlace Safety and Insurance Board, in the case of workers injured on a work site (under the authority of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997)
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (for members of the RCMP)
  • Transportation to a massage therapy office may also be reimbursed to persons who qualify under the Ontario Disability Support Programme.

Prenatal Massage Therapy

Benefits of Prenatal Massage Therapy

Pregnancy can be a great joy but it can also be stressful especially when a pregnant woman feels physical discomfort. The benefits of prenatal massage therapy are many. Like a regular massage, it helps in improving blood circulation, easing sore spots and relaxing tense muscles, it basically makes an expectant mother feel better.

Prenatal massage therapy | Jenna Birtch Massage Therapy Clinics

During the first trimester, the changes in a woman’s body are invisible but can be very uncomfortable to the expectant mother. Aside from cravings, bouts of nausea, fatigue, and dizziness can be felt. Some even experience mood swings. The second and third trimesters are the periods where physical changes can be noticed. Since the uterus is expanding because of the growing fetus, leg cramps and back pains are also experienced. With all the physical, structural and emotional changes a woman experiences during the stages of pregnancy, the feeling of depression and anxiety is inevitable. To cope up with these emotions and physical discomforts, it’s important to give the mom-to-be an opportunity to relax.  Less stress generally means better sleep, mental focus and balanced mood – things needed to nurture the life growing inside her.

Relief of Everyday Symptoms

Massage for pregnant women offers a number of benefits, and it’s always a good idea to discuss with your therapist any everyday symptoms you’d like to see relieved. Those might include:

  • Headaches can be relieved by massage focusing on the head, neck, and shoulders. In addition, maintaining optimal levels of stress relief through massage reduces the chances of migraines or tension headaches by relaxing trigger points and muscle spasms.
  • Muscle tension created by carrying the extra weight of a baby can be relieved by encouraging blood flow to the afflicted areas. This provides more nutrient-rich oxygen and also increases the flow of lymphatic fluid, which sweeps away toxins and metabolic waste.
  • Fatigue, backaches, leg cramps and swelling/edema can all be relieved through various types of massage for pregnant women.
  • The ordinary aches and pains of pregnancy are countered by the release of serotonin, your body’s natural anti-pain chemical, which is stimulated by massage.

Studies have proven that massage therapy for pregnant women is generally safe and can provide a whole range of comfort to a lot of pregnancy aches and pains, though women with a high-risk pregnancy, pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or preeclampsia should first consult their OB-GYN or midwife before undergoing such activities.

At Jenna Birtch Registered Massage Therapy Clinic we happily provide the benefits of prenatal massage therapy.  If you are pregnant and interested in massage therapy or wish to speak to a Registered Massage Therapist, please contact the clinic at 519-854-9515.

By Jenna Birtch, RMT