Good News for a Change! I received a private email from an RMT who was wondering if there’s any good news about the profession. Plenty! Here are just 10:
i) Popularity. With estimates suggesting 35% of Canadians had tried massage therapy*, some US hospitals incorporating massage therapy for patients on-site, and massage ranked as the number two CAM application (behind chiropractic) in public utilization, we stand far better in public opinion than many other health disciplines.
ii) Size – with over 10,000 RMTs in Ontario and estimated 20-25,000 RMTs across Canada (and 10x this number in the U.S.A) there are a lot of us. In fact our profession is larger than chiropractic. If we could harness the will of all those RMTs we could really do something dynamic.
iii) Proof – research studies continue to support massage therapy in the relief of pain and MSK dysfunction, but other applications in mood/depression, improved sleep and palliative care expand the health care benefits of massage therapy.
iv) Staying power – massage has origins in numerous cultures, thousands of years of history and has survived wars, plagues, natural and economic disasters…it’s just not going away.
v) Endorsement – massage therapists are endorsed by many gatekeeper health disciplines, athletes and celebrities, and even some members of government and the insurance industry…not to mention all the people of various vocations and situations we provide care for on a day-to-day basis. They love us!
vi) Supplement – massage therapy services are supplemented by many employee benefit plans and for low-income populations in British Columbia under health care services. Worker’s compensation, autoinsurance…there are a number of ways people can lower the cost of access to RMT care.
vii) There’s a strong opportunity to collaborate with other Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) professions in government lobbying, insurance reimbursement negotiations, training and public/media relations. See my article http://www.massagetherapycanada.com/content/view/1857/
viii) Multiple delivery models – you’ll find massage therapists working in rehab clinics, spas, fitness/athletic clubs, workplace wellness programs and RMT-specialized workspaces. The marketplace needs massage in a number of settings and this creates very interesting and potentially lucrative opportunities for RMTs!
ix) Inexpensive – dollar-for-dollar, massage therapy intervention costs less than many more invasive procedures. If health care was privatized, we’d see cost-sensitive patients flocking to RMTs for greater bang for the buck (and shorter recovery times).
x) Alliance – the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance represents 6 provinces and one territory, with mandates to advocate for RMTs’ interests to the insurance industry, forward research initiatives and support regulation. Once this organization is fully supported by all the provincial RMT associations, duplicity of services will decline and benefits to all RMTs will go up.
So, here are 10 great things to enjoy and appreciate about our profession. What can you add?
(1) http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/complementary-alternative-medicine-in-canada-2007.pdf (see page 4)
I agree with most of what you said; however, I feel their are 2 huge critical flaws with the RMT profession in Ontario.
1) increasing numbers of RMT’s is not a good thing, the market in smaller regions is saturated which leads me to my second point.
2) it is way to easy to become an RMT. You can go from grade 12 to a fly by night private “college” with zero pre-requisites and become an RMT.
If we are to be respected as a valid member of the healthcare force, then the CMTO has to transition the programs to the community college level. I feel that it should be a requirement to take a 1 or 2 year pre-medical sciences diploma to qualify to take the RMT program, unless you have a degree from a university or college in a related field (HK, bio, pre-health etc.). This would strengthen the quality of the candidates since those who are trying to take something fast will not bother. It will keep the numbers down and prevent everyone from having to move to Toronto to work.
In Windsor (pop.170,000) we have 3 schools and I believe that is excessive. I strongly feel the CMTO will not address this problem because it would cut into their revenue and hurt cash flow.
I think until this is addressed, the credibility of the profession will not be what is should be. Realistically, why would the insurance industry be trying so hard to exclude RMT’s from MVA, WSIB and require physician signatures for treatment? Most likely because RMT’s are not that well educated as a whole. Sure, there are some really good programs, but there are a lot of garbage money making machines out there as well. The CMTO needs to consolidate the education of its members into the community college setting if they are to ensure the longevity and viability of the profession.
I know this will ruffle a lot of feathers, but I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this way.