When a registered massage therapist enters the field of practice, they arrive prepared to follow and uphold a carefully crafted code of ethics. Like any respected health care professional, RMTs use this code to guide every aspect of their professional conduct, from diagnosis and treatment to continued learning and collegial relationships. In order to provide the best care possible, MTs refer to the code of ethics to define their legal obligations to patients, the parameters of the practitioner-client relationship, and their responsibilities as members of the MT community. A substantial understanding of the code, as laid out by the College of Massage Therapists (CMT) of BC, helps sustain a thriving massage practice and the overall wellbeing of practitioners and their patients. Here are three ways MTs enact the spirit and guiding principles of the CMT code of ethics:
First and foremost, massage therapy training promotes the importance of patient-centered care. MTs always act in the best interests of their clients, providing therapeutic treatments that are well suited to their particular needs, and which fall within the scope of the MTs professional practice. During the process of certification, massage therapists develop a wealth of knowledge from pathology and neuroanatomy to clinical theory and advanced therapeutic techniques. As practitioners, this expertise is always channeled toward helping others - the MTs primary directive is to improve the health and wellbeing of others.
In addition to outlining the expectations of patient care, the CMT code of ethics emphasizes the importance of MTs forming supportive professional communities. As health care professionals, massage therapists respect the credibility, honour, and dignity of colleagues - and the work they do to promote healing and good health. During their certification at massage therapy college, students are taught to collaborate meaningfully with one another and with other medical practitioners. They support rather than criticize, and encourage rather than compete. Through professional development and affiliations, MTs forge harmonious and mutually beneficial relationships.
Massage therapy is clinically recognized as effective treatment for a number of conditions and diseases. However, MTs do not promise patients that therapeutic treatments will offer definitive cures, or that an ailment will not return after therapy has been administered. Practitioners work hard to communicate effectively with patients regarding the rationale of a treatment plan, and its intended goals. And when these goals exceed the professional capacity of the MT, they do not hesitate to refer the patient to another licensed medical professional. Massage therapists are trained to respect the parameters and limitations of their own practice, and will critically evaluate their ability to help the patient, at every stage of care.
What do you consider the most important guiding principle of care for massage therapists?