WHAT IS A REGISTERED MASSAGE THERAPIST?
A Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) is so much more than someone who gives massages. RMTs are trained to assess and treat a wide range of soft tissue and musculoskeletal conditions. In BC, RMTs undergo a rigorous program which includes over 500 hours of supervised clinical practicum, detailed training in anatomy, physiology, neurology and kinesiology, an education in regional and spinal orthopaedics and general pathologies and interventions including surgery and medications. RMTs receive thorough training in numerous therapies focussed on soft tissue manipulation which include but is far from limited to massage techniques.
Some therapies which are often not thought of as massage but are covered in the BC program include:
o Muscle Energy Technique - a systematic and gentle way of using the muscle's contraction to release locked joints, particularly the intervertebral joints. MET normalizes joint motion using patients own gentle contractions and body positioning.
o Joint Mobilization - a technique for mobilizing and treating any joint in the body, not to be confused with high velocity chiropractic adjustments which RMTs do not do.
o Basic Manual Lymph Drainage - sometimes called lymph massage, this modality specifically addresses the lymphatic system and can address numerous issues around tissue congestion.
o Therapeutic Exercise - aimed at teaching the client to support the therapy with exercises they can do at home to enhance corrective measures taken in the therapy and to help change postural patterns that may contribute to the problem.
o Myofascial Release - Myofascial Release is used to equalize fascial tension throughout the body by selectively stretching the fascia. The stretch is guided by feedback the therapist feels from the patient's body. This feedback tells the therapist how much force to use, the direction of the stretch and how long to stretch. MFR can be very light.
o Hydrotherapy - A very old form of therapy, hydrotherapy can range from using ice to reduce swelling to applying a mustard plaster to relieve chest congestion. RMTs are taught many forms of hydrotherapy and can integrate them into most treatments.
All of these techniques and more are covered under the heading of massage therapy when seeking reimbursement from insurance.
RMTs are licensed health care professionals and as such can give you an official receipt for your treatment. Most extended Health Care insurance plans give some coverage for massage, people on MSP premium assistance can have some reimbursement for fees and the receipt can be used for income tax purposes.
RMTs must complete mandatory continuing education and upgrading.