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What to Consider when looking for a Massage Therapist

Regardless of your intention or need when receiving massage therapy, from stress reduction to pain management, only professional Massage Therapists have the breadth of skills that can ensure you receive effective massage therapy. Whether you visit a spa or a clinic:

  • Look for a professional title: Massage Therapist or Registered Massage Therapist are the common titles used nationally. 
     
  • Professional Massage Therapists have a 2200 hour / two year diploma from a recognized Massage Therapy School 
    *Please Note: Approximately 20 members of the MTAM have been working for 17+ years and have a diploma that was the highest level of education at the time which is less than the minimum standard which came into effect after.
     
  • Professional MT's will care about continuing education and competency. MTAM members all continue their education every year. Especially if your medical condition or needs require additional education or a certain level of experience be sure your Massage Therapist is trained to treat that condition safely and effectively.
     
  • Ensure your RMT has Professional & General Liability Insurance: for your safety and theirs.
     
  • Only Registered RMT's in good standing with a professional Association in Manitoba are eligible to provide services that will be reimbursed by third party insurers such as Great-West Life or Blue Cross.

    A Massage Therapist’s Distinctive Role as a Health Care Professional

By Andrew Terhoch, RMT
 

Manitobans typically see their massage therapist for regular, ongoing care. The frequency of care, the methods of massage utilized and the self-care prescribed are adjusted to meet the care-receiver’s (client’s) changing acute and chronic health needs.

The duration of one-to-one care in each massage therapy treatment (30-60 minutes) affords the client the time to discuss the health and wellness concerns they have, old and new. This puts the massage therapist in an ideal and unique position to identify both the more apparent and the subtle changes in an individual’s health and to provide timely referrals to other health care providers where required.

This care model is conducive to building trust between caregiver and care-receiver and to fostering strong, holistic, health care relationships. As this evolves, the role of the Massage Therapist in a care-receiver’s health grows in value and potential. An anecdotal example:

An individual initially visits a Massage Therapist for acute quadriceps tightness related to their first marathon participation. After their initial few visits, the tightness is resolved. The MT examines and assesses the individual’s hands for signs of carpal tunnel syndrome that the client disclosed on their initial case history. Determined as related to the care-receiver’s occupation, the MT includes preventative self-care in the treatment plan and monitors the condition for changes over time. The individual continues with monthly maintenance and preventative Massage Therapy care. The individual goes on to excel in developing their running and other exercise goals and maintains near pain-free wrists for 18 months.

That care-receiver then arrives to a pre-marathon appointment with their Massage Therapist in some distress. They inform the MT they have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Following a supportive consultation with the individual regarding the cancer diagnosis, the Massage Therapist adjusts the treatment plan for that day caring for the individual’s acute stress-reduction needs. Through their chemotherapy treatment schedule, the individual continues to run and returns for their regular Massage Therapy appointments. The Massage Therapist adjusts as needed to address a combination of physical and stress-related challenges as required on each visit.

With this new cancer diagnosis, the individual has a trusted, knowledgeable and supportive health care provider in their Massage Therapist, who will continue to provide safe, compassionate and holistic care, supporting the individual in remaining active and strong in overcoming this life-changing health challenge. 

Holism and prevention are essential to building an affordable health care model for Manitobans. Massage Therapists, through their versatile combination of modalities and the development of strong relationships with those they care for, deliver individualized, client-focused treatment with holism and prevention as guiding principles of care.

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Andrew Terhoch, RMT

Andrew has been working alongside individuals with differences in ability in a variety of environments for over 25 years. His practice, Mindful Massage Therapy, is devoted to providing care to individuals with unique nervous system sensitivities related to physical and developmental ability, autism, age and palliative care.