As more and more people recognize the effectiveness of massage therapy, its popularity continues to grow. It’s not uncommon for registered massage therapists to be on staff at locations as diverse as corporate offices, hotels, health clinics, sports clubs and gyms.
With so much choice, patients seeking massage therapy sometimes find it difficult to choose the right option for their needs, and must consider a number of key factors. For those wishing to pursue massage therapy careers, the challenge is to sufficiently distinguish yourself in the marketplace to ensure a steady demand for your service from a range of patients.
Read on to find out more about what patients need to consider when choosing a massage therapist, and how massage therapists can work to cater to those needs/
Practitioners with a qualification from a registered massage therapist college are highly trained health care professionals with a solid foundation of knowledge in anatomy, physiology, pathology and kinesiology. This education is vital to ensuring that massage therapy techniques are applied correctly.
The question is how can you ensure a therapist has the qualifications you are looking for? Having a recognized diploma from a school that has standards comparable to a regulated province's standards is a good start. Having successfully completed a rigorous assessment of their therapeutic skills is another credential you can look for, such as exists in four provinces in Canada. If a therapist has a Registered Massage Therapist designation, you can be assured that the therapist has demonstrated the highest level of “entry to practice” in Canada. British Columbia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Ontario are regulated in Massage Therapy and have agreed to interjurisdictional competencies. Schools in those provinces are committed to these high level standards. The good news is that many of the other provinces are adopting comparable standards – and there are schools in these provinces who have committed to providing education equivalent to the standards defined by the regulated provinces. Asking a therapist about their educational background helps ensure you are in good hands.
RMTs learn a wide variety of techniques, such as Swedish massage, lymphatic drainage, and hydrotherapy. Each has been shown to have many benefits in treating a range of ailments. However, each patient is different, and a good massage therapist will be careful to fully assess a patient’s symptoms before recommending a treatment plan.
For example, a patient might come looking for myofascial massage after suffering an accident, perhaps on the recommendation of their doctor, but could also benefit from a blended approach that incorporates other techniques, such as muscle energy technique. A proper assessment allows an RMT to take into account all of the patients' symptoms and provide the best possible treatment with continuous adaptation to the patient's particular needs.
Many of OVCMT’s graduates go on to work in particular areas, such as sports or athletics, or to develop reputations for treating clients with particular ailments, such as cancer or arthritis. However, it is important that a registered massage therapist, in any area of work, utilizes the tools at their disposal, combining appropriate strategies in order to provide the best possible treatment.
Regulators also require RMTs to undertake continuous professional development throughout their careers, and a good massage therapist will always be up to date with current best practices.
Perhaps the most important factor for a patient in choosing a massage therapist will be how comfortable the RMT makes them feel about their treatment. People choose to undergo massage therapy for a wide variety of reasons – those dealing with serious injuries and illness may be anxious about finding a therapist who will pursue effective treatment, as well as help them feel comfortable about the treatment approaches.
A great massage therapist will have excellent communication skills, and a high level of empathy to support a client feeling at ease during assessment and treatment. Once a patient feels comfortable and safe in a massage therapy environment, they will be more certain they are in the right hands and will be more likely to return for further treatments.