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Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? Ask us!

  • What is a Certified Hand Therapist?
    A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is a Physical or Occupational Therapist who has passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation. CHT services may include edema management, wound care, stitch/staple removal, bracing, custom splinting, sensory evaluation, scar management and specialized exercise programs. The Certified Hand Therapist credential offers assurance to the public that the therapist has achieved the highest level of competency in the profession and stays up to date with practice within the field. Currently, there are 242 CHTs in Canada and 3 of them work right here at Empower Physiotherapy, the only private clinic in Richmond that offers this specialty! *Please check your individual extended health provider to see if Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy is covered on your plan.
  • What is physiotherapy?
    Physiotherapy is a health care profession directed at assisting people to restore, maintain and maximize their movement, strength, function, and overall well-being. Physiotherapy includes rehabilitation, as well as prevention of injury, and promotion of health and fitness. The terms "physiotherapy" and "physical therapy" mean the same thing and are used interchangeably, as are the terms “physiotherapist”, “physical therapist” and “PT”.
  • What is a physiotherapist?
    Physiotherapists are university trained healthcare professionals who have in-depth knowledge of how the body works and have hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose, relieve pain, and improve movement and function. In North America, Physiotherapists graduate from a Masters program after their Bachelors degree. Physiotherapists often work in teams with other health professionals to help meet an individual's health care needs.
  • Who can benefit from one-to-one physiotherapy?
    Athletes of all levels - elite and recreational, professionals, children and adolescents, post surgical patients, peri-natal women, people with recurring or chronic injuries, seniors who don't want to be rushed and anyone else who values an individualized, focused treatment plan for a musculoskeletal injury.
  • Do I need a doctor's referral?
    No, you do not need a doctor's referral as Physiotherapists are primary care providers and the experts in musculoskeletal injuries. Some private health insurance companies may require a doctor's referral to be submitted to qualify for coverage so it's best to check your personal plan. If you do have a referral, do bring it in with you and we will add it to your chart notes and may liaise with your doctor as needed. ​
  • What can I expect on my first visit?
    Your initial session will involve a discussion and a thorough musculoskeletal assessment. So, please wear or bring suitable attire (sports bra, shorts, etc. to expose the area to be treated) to change into. The physiotherapist will then explain your treatment plan to you to help you achieve your personal goal(s). You will be educated throughout your treatment sessions so that you will become more body aware and prevent further or future injuries. The duration, frequency and number of treatments will vary depending on the condition. ** Please note: If you have an appointment for vestibular rehabilitation assessment/treatment, please plan for a ride post session as you may not be suitable to drive right after the appointment due to dizziness.
  • Do you have free parking?
    Yes! There is an underground parking lot entrance on the east side of No. 2 road, with stairs right to our building. There are two spots reserved for our patients labeled Empower Physiotherapy as well as four visitor parking spots. Also, there is lots of free street parking right in front of the clinic.
  • Do you treat WorksafeBC (WSBC) clients?
    We do not have a contract with WorksafeBC (WSBC) to treat injured workers at this time.
  • Am I covered by ICBC?
    You are entitled to accident benefits whether you are at fault or not. There is no need for an initial doctor's referral if the accident is recent and/or you have not had any previous treatment. You may begin physiotherapy and kinesiology treatment immediately after you report your claim to ICBC without prior approval. ICBC will also cover Kinesiology ICBC allows 25 sessions of physiotherapy and 12 sessions of Kinesiology (Active Rehab) within 12 weeks of your motor vehicle accident whether you are at fault or not. You will be charged a flat rate user fee of $20.00/session for all physiotherapy and/or hand therapy visits. Kinesiology - Active Rehab sessions are fully covered by ICBC so there is no user fee charged.
  • Will the service be covered by the government or MSP?
    Physiotherapy was de-listed by the government from the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP) on January 1, 2002. This means that the majority of people in BC must pay for Physiotherapy through extended health benefits, their own money, or a combination of the two. People with lower income receive supplementary coverage for Physiotherapy through MSP Premium Assistance. We will be able to check your Care Card and confirm in advance whether you qualify as an MSP beneficiary. For MSP beneficiaries receiving premium assistance, MSP will contribute $23 per visit for a combined annual limit of 10 visits each calendar year towards: physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopathy, acupuncture, and non-surgical podiatry. The patient is responsible for any remaining treatment fee.
  • Do you have direct billing?
    Yes, as an added service, we offer direct billing to the following extended health care providers: Canada Life ICBC Johnson Manulife Medavie Blue Cross (Veterans and RCMP only) MSP Premium Assistance Pacific Blue Cross UBC Ortho Reconstruction To set up direct billing at Empower Physiotherapy, please let our front desk team know your policy information when booking your appointment so that we may set this up for you before your visit. Please remember that each individual’s extended health plan covers a different amount and you will be responsible for the remainder of the fee at the time of the treatment session. All remaining treatment or product fees are privately billed and are to be paid at the time of your appointment. An official receipt will be emailed to you, for you to apply for reimbursement.
  • What is your cancellation policy?
    Your appointment time is reserved just for you. A late cancellation or missed visit leaves a hole in the therapists' day that could have been filled by another patient. As such, we request 24 hours notice for any cancellations or changes to your appointment. If you provide less than 24 hours notice, or miss your appointment, you will be charged your full treatment fee. This fee also applies to same day bookings and cannot be billed to insurance providers. You may cancel appointments via our online booking system (allowable up to 24 hours prior to your appointment), via phone message 604-370-1040 or by sending us an email at To cancel a Monday appointment, please cancel online prior to the 24 hour restriction.
  • What is Kinesiology?
    Kinesiology is the study of human movement, performance and function. Kinesiologists are university trained health professionals with in-depth knowledge of the human body and how it moves, they apply exercise and movement science to promote health and wellbeing. Our kinesiologists are registered with the British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists (BCAK). They work both independently and collaboratively with our physiotherapists to help clients reach optimal recovery from injuries, including those sustained from a motor vehicle accident.
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