About Massage Therapy

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) to enhance a person’s health and well-being. There are dozens of types of massage therapy methods (also called modalities). 

Massage Therapists can help you heal from soft tissue damage, injury, chronic disease, pain management, impaired mobility and for common treatments to help stress relief and maintain well-being. 


What is a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT)?

Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) are educated and trained to evaluate individual health needs and provide a variety of treatment for patient care. RMTs provide an accurate assessment and treatment of specific soft tissue and musculoskeletal conditions.  

RMTs are not currently regulated in Manitoba. MTAM members are required to have 2200 hours of education in anatomy, physiology, pathology, assessment and treatment. This is the highest level of education available in the province and meets National Standards of the profession.  

Look for this MTAM-exclusive insignia. It is your assurance you are seeing a massage therapist that has achieved the minimum nationally-accepted qualifications.  

Buyer Beware:find out who is administering your massage. In some places that provide massage, the person giving a massage may not be a Registered Massage Therapist. Others who do massage are not held to those same standards. Whether your goal is to relieve stress or manage more specific pain, an RMT will assess your needs. It could be that there is something more specific that needs to be addressed for you to reach that goal and that may require more thorough understanding of your health. 

What to Expect When You Visit an RMT

If you have never received a massage from a professional massage therapist here is what you can expect: 

  • The RMT will request that you complete a health history form and will review it with you prior to any treatments. 
  • The RMT will request copies of any medications you have from a medical doctor as this becomes a specific guide for the assessment of treatment. 
  • The RMT will review methods of payment with you (benefit plan/cash/cheque/credit card etc.). 
  • The RMT will ask you to identify areas of pain and discomfort using your own description followed by basic testing which can include range of motion and sensitivity testing, etc. 
  • The RMT will then communicate with you about the type of treatment 
  • The RMT will ask you to sign consent forms that provide the therapist with your authorization to begin treatment. Do not sign for any treatment you do not want or do not understand. 
  • In the treatment area the RMT and give you instructions regarding disrobing and preparation for the treatment. 
  • The RMT will then leave the room and allow you to prepare yourself. 
  • Disrobing: if you are uneasy about the amount of disrobing required, please discuss this with the RMT. You do not have to disrobe completely. The RMT will advise you based on the treatments following assessment. 
  • Normally you will begin, once disrobed, on the table under a drape prepared for you by the RMT. 
  • The RMT will re-enter with your permission. 
  • The RMT will utilize professional draping practices to only expose the part of the body that is being treated. This will be the case throughout the entire treatment. 
  • Average treatment is one hour but can range from 15 minutes to 2 hours. 
  • Communicate with your RMT during the treatment. Ask questions and identify areas of sensitivity. Inform the RMT to areas where you are experiencing specific physical discomfort. 
  • If there is any discomfort that is not tolerable, let your RMT know immediately, and they will adjust pressure or utilize another treatment technique. Communication between patient and the RMT is important throughout the session. 
  • The RMT may use several different massage techniques during the treatment most of these techniques use massage oil or lotion. If you have allergies let your Massage Therapist know in advance and they will also adjust their treatments or select products that do not cause you irritation.  
  • Upon completion of the treatment, the RMT will return you to a fully covered position under a drape and allow you some time to recover from the massage. 
  • Some patients feel a little lightheaded following a treatment and this is normal. Just wait for your body to recover before you get off the table. 
  • When you feel that you have recovered, you can then dress and return to the reception area to meet again with the RMT. 
  • If you do feel any discomfort wait for the RMT to return and assist you in the recovery process. 
  • The RMT will discuss future treatment requirements. 
Infectious Disease Management

Ensuring the health and safety of patients, and themselves, is a priority for RMTs. This includes preventing the transmission of infectious diseases. As RMTs we are trained in the signs and symptoms of infectious diseases and in the implementation of Routine Practices, but it is always helpful to have a reminder! 

RMTs goal is to reduce as much as possible the transmission of infectious diseases, such as colds, flu, covid and athlete’s foot. Zero risk is not possible in every circumstance but should nevertheless be the ultimate goal. 

All MTAM RMTs are obligated to follow the Public Health Standards of Practice and Universal Precautions (routine practices) to ensure a safe environment, which includes routine hand washing, changing of all linens between appointments, wearing masks and gloves when needed and screening patients for infections conditions.  

Routine Practices

The primary goal of Infection Prevention and Control is to reduce the risk of acquiring an infection to a minimum level; zero risk is not possible in every circumstance but should nevertheless be the ultimate goal.

Routine Practices are the foundation for preventing the transmission of microorganisms (germs) during a massage treatment. There is a comprehensive set of Infection Prevention and Control measures developed for use in the routine care of all people at all times in all treatment settings. Routine Practices aim to minimize or prevent infections in therapists and clients. Following Routine Practices reduces the transmission of microorganisms in all settings.

Consistent use of Routine Practices is expected for the care of clients. Germs can be transmitted from symptomatic and asymptomatic people. This is why it is so important to follow Routine Practices during and after a massage treatment.

Routine Practices include: hand washing and sanitizing, sanitizing high touch surfaces, laundering linens between clients, using masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment when necessary, and screening clients prior to, or at their appointment.

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