Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Your First Visit Video

Running time: 3-1/2 Minutes
Requires Flash 8

Click the questions below to read the answers.

Fees & Insurance
What are your fees?

Physiotherapy - $75 for the initial treatment and $70 for subsequent treatments.

Acupuncture -$75 for the initial treatment and $70 for subsequent treatments.

CranioSacral Therapy -Fee varies with appointment length: $70 for 45 minutes, $90 for 1 hr, and $120 for 1.5hrs.

Does my MSP cover my appointment cost?

For patients covered under Premium Assistance with MSP (annual income less than $30,000), we ask for a $30 user fee for each appointment and bill $23 to MSP for up to 10 visits.

Do you accept Worksafe Claims?

No. We are no longer taking Worksafe claims.

Do you accept ICBC Claims?

Yes. You need to contact ICBC before making your first appointment. On your first appointment we will ask for your date of accident and contact info of your ICBC adjuster. We contact your adjustor for approval of your treatment with us.

Can you bill my Extended Health directly?

We can direct bill for the following extended health insurance companies:

  • Pacific Blue Cross
  • Alberta Blue Cross
  • Blue Cross (Veteran Affairs and RCMP)
  • Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance
  • Cowan
  • Desjardins Insurance
  • Great-West Life
  • Industrial Alliance
  • Johnson Inc.
  • Manulife Financial
  • Maximum Benefit or Johnston Group
  • Standard Life
  • Sun Life Financial (excluding Public Service Health Care Plan)

If your provider is not listed above, please give us a call and we will be happy to inquire about billing to your plan. If your plan does allow direct billing on your behalf, then all of the information needed for submission is provided on our receipts and many companies allow you to submit quickly and easily online.

How does the billing process work?

Extended Health - We can now direct bill to most extended health insurance companies. Please bring in your benefits card (with plan and ID #) so we can help organize your coverage. For Veterans and RCMP, we bill Blue Cross directly - please note treatment must be authorized prior to your initial appointment and a Doctor's referral is required.

MSP (Premium assistance) - MSP patients whose annual household income is less than $30,000 are covered for 10 visits total to all allied health services (Physiotherapy, Massage, Chiropractor, Acupuncture, Naturopath, and Podiatrist). MSP covers a portion of the visit and patients are asked to pay a user fee of $30 per visit.

ICBC - The number of approved visits varies, and a $30 user fee is charged to the patient. Often the user fee is reimbursed by ICBC at the time of settlement of the case, so patients should keep all of their receipts.

Can I claim acupuncture on my Extended Health?

If you receive acupuncture as part of your physiotherapy treatment, it is not considered stand alone acupuncture and must be claimed under physiotherapy. However, if you receive acupuncture from one of our Registered Acupuncturists, you will be able to claim your treatment under acupuncture.

What happens during my first visit?

During your first visit you can expect the following:

  • Arrive at your appointment with your paperwork completed (you can download it from our website).
  • No doctor referral is required for private pay patients (not ICBC or WCB). But, for ICBC and WCB we need your Claim number, Personal Health Numbers and a Dr referral.
  • You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.
  • The therapist will discuss the following:

    1. Your medical history.
    2. Your current problems/complaints.
    3. Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.
    4. How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
    5. Your goals with physiotherapy.
    6. Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.
  • The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation which may include some of the following:

    1. Palpation - touching around the area of the pain/problem. This is done to check for the presence of tenderness, swelling, soft tissue integrity, tissue temperature, inflammation, etc.
    2. Range of Motion (ROM) - the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.
    3. Muscle Testing - the therapist may check for strength and the quality of the muscle contraction. Pain and weakness may be noted. Often the muscle strength is graded. This is also part of a neurological screening.
    4. Neurological Screening - the therapist may check to see how the nerves are communicating with the muscles, sensing touch, pain, vibration, or temperature. Reflexes may be assessed as well.
    5. Special Tests - the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of additional problems.
    6. Posture Assessment - the positions of joints relative to ideal and each other may be assessed.
  • The therapist will then formulate a list of problems you are having, and how to treat those problems. A plan is subsequently developed with the patient's input. This includes how many times you should see the therapist per week, how many weeks you will need therapy, home programs, patient education, short-term/long-term goals, and what is expected after discharge from therapy. This plan is created with input from you, your therapist, and your doctor.

How should I dress?

You should wear loose fitting clothing so you can expose the area that we will be evaluating and treating. For example, if you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice, and for low back problems, wear a loose fitting shirt and pants, again so we can perform a thorough examination.

How long will each treatment last?

Appointment times vary depending on complexity of condition. First appointment will likely be somewhat longer than subsequent visits. Generally 30-60 minutes is enough for single complaints. Cranial Sacral sessions and appointments requiring physio with acupuncture could be longer than conventional therapy alone.

How many visits will I need?

This is highly variable. You may need one visit or you may need months of care. It depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, etc. You will be re-evaluated on a monthly basis and when you see your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our recommendations.

Why is physiotherapy a good choice?

More than half of all Americans are suffering from pain. Whether it is a recent episode or chronic, an ABC News/Stanford study revealed that pain in America is a serious problem. However, many do not even know that physiotherapists are well equipped to not only treat pain but also its source.

physiotherapists are experts at treating movement and neuro-musculoskeletal disorders. Pain often accompanies a movement disorder, and physiotherapists can help correct the disorder and relieve the pain.

What do physiotherapists do?

You have probably heard of the profession of physiotherapy. Maybe you have had a conversation with a friend about how physiotherapy helped get rid of his or her back pain, or you might know someone who needed physiotherapy after an injury. You might even have been treated by a physiotherapist yourself. But have you ever wondered about physiotherapists--who they are and what they do? Many people are familiar with physiotherapists' work helping patients with orthopedic problems, such as low back pain or knee surgeries, to reduce pain and regain function. Others may be aware of the treatment that physiotherapists provide to assist patients recovering from a stroke (e.g., assisting them with recovering use of their limbs and walking again).

The ability to maintain an upright posture and to move your arms and legs to perform all sorts of tasks and activities is an important component of your health. Most of us can learn to live with the various medical conditions that we may develop, but only if we are able to continue at our jobs, take care of our families, and enjoy important occasions with family and friends. All of these activities require the ability to move without difficulty or pain.

Because physiotherapists are experts in movement and function, they do not confine their talents to treating people who are ill. A large part of a physiotherapist's program is directed at preventing injury, loss of movement, and even surgery. Physiotherapists work as consultants in industrial settings to improve the design of the workplace and reduce the risk of workers overusing certain muscles or developing low back pain. They also provide services to athletes at all levels to screen for potential problems and institute preventive exercise programs. With the boom in the golf and fitness industries, a number of physiotherapists are engaged in consulting with recreational golfers and fitness clubs to develop workouts that are safe and effective, especially for people who already know that they have a problem with their joints or their backs.

The cornerstones of physiotherapy treatment are therapeutic exercise and functional training. In addition to "hands-on" care, physiotherapists also educate patients to take care of themselves and to perform certain exercises on their own. Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physiotherapists may also "mobilize" a joint (that is, perform certain types of movements at the end of your range of motion) or massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function. Physiotherapists also use methods such as ultrasound (which uses high frequency waves to produce heat), hot packs, and ice. Although other kinds of practitioners will offer some of these treatments as "physiotherapy," it's important for you to know that physiotherapy can only be provided by qualified physiotherapists or by physiotherapist assistants, who must complete a 2-year education program and who work only under the direction and supervision of physiotherapists.

Most forms of physiotherapy treatment are covered by your insurance, but the coverage will vary with each plan. Most states do not legally require patients to see their physicians before seeing a physiotherapist. Most of the time all you have to do is ask your doctor if physiotherapy is right for you.

Reference: APTA

Can I claim acupuncture on my extended health?

Because our acupuncture is considered part of the physiotherapy treatment, it is to be claimed under physiotherapy. If the patient prefers to use their acupuncture coverage we refer them to acupuncturists we know in the Yarrow building.

How much acupuncture training do you have?

The Medical Acupuncture Certificate Program of the University of Alberta is only available to Physicians and Physiotherapists only. Our previous training in anatomy, physiology, disease process and assessment techniques are considered a base line for training in Medical Acupuncture. Over 1 year we learn the 5 element approach to acupuncture in 200 hours of lab work together, and about 1000 hours of guided individual study. Our final exam process is roughly the same as that of an acupuncturist.

Is physiotherapy painful?

For many patients, one of the primary objectives is pain relief. This is frequently accomplished with hands-on techniques, modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and/or heat or cold therapy. Movement often provides pain relief as well. Your physiotherapist will provide you with the appropriate exercises not only for pain relief but to recover range of motion, strength, and endurance.

In some cases, physiotherapy techniques can be painful. For example, recovering knee range of motion after total knee replacement or shoulder range of motion after shoulder surgery may be painful. Your physiotherapist will utilize a variety of techniques to help maximize your treatment goals. It is important that you communicate the intensity, frequency, and duration of pain to your therapist. Without this information, it is difficult for the therapist to adjust your treatment plan.

Is acupuncture painful?

Most of our patients remark they are pleasantly surprised how gentle yet effective acupuncture is. We use high quality single use needles, about the size of fine human hair, to assure patient comfort. The physiotherapy modalities we employ beforehand soften the tissues reduce the resistance to needling, therfore taking the edge off. We have found that physiotherapy with acupuncture hastens the healing process and reduces the number of treatments needed.

Will I get a massage at physiotherapy?

Massage may be part of your treatment. Rehabilitation specialists are trained in a variety of techniques that may help with your recovery. Deep tissue techniques may be part of the rehabilitative process. Massage is used for three reasons typically - to facilitate venous return from a swollen area, to relax a tight muscle, or to relieve pain. Contrary to common thought, massage does not increase circulation.

What happens if my problem or pain returns?

Flare ups are not uncommon. If you have a flare up (exacerbation), give us a call. We may suggest you come back to see us, return to your doctor, or simply modify your daily activities or exercise routine.

Can I go directly to my physio?

For Worksafe, ICBC, VAC & RCMP patients, there needs to be a doctor referral. We often have to request re-approval as well. All other can go directly to Physio (including MSP on Premium assistance).

Can my therapist provide me with a diagnosis?

In Canada, we can because we have primary referral rights.