The typical 21st century lifestyle is all about high speed intensity. Whether we’re juggling domestic schedules and work itineraries, paying the bills and parenting our kids – the daily grind can certainly grind us down.
Fatigue and skyrocketing stress levels are an increasingly common side effect of our chronically unbalanced and demanding lives. And there’s an ever-expanding body of clinical research that shows many serious health conditions have their roots in long-term stress.
Rather than rely on pharmaceutical solutions, many health conscious consumers are looking for more sustainable, holistic ways to improve their wellbeing. The registered massage therapist is at the forefront of this movement, expertly treating stress along with a surprising range of other serious clinical conditions.
Although relaxation is indeed central to releasing stress and preventing disease, therapeutic massage has benefits that go far beyond soothing sore muscles. Scientific evidence is stacking up in support of the numerous health benefits of massage, particularly in the treatment of:
In the case of pain-management, massage therapy can be used as an effective alternative to opioids and anti-inflammatory drugs, providing welcome relief from pharmaceutical side effects and dependency.
Particularly in British Columbia, Ontario and Newfoundland, the demands of massage therapy certification are increasingly rigorous. As massage therapists take on more substantial roles in the prevention and treatment of disease, they must develop a comprehensive, complex set of skills. Massage therapy training looks closely at the mechanisms of pain, and includes the study of Anatomy and Physiology, Neuroanatomy and Pathology. And as RMTs assume positions as trusted medical team members, education programs continue to emphasize the importance of communication – with patients and with clinical colleagues.
British Columbia recognizes registered MTs as health care professionals. Although there are usually annual limits, and sometimes a physician’s referral is required, most people can access therapy through their workplace group insurance plan. In cases where the patient has no private coverage, BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP) will contribute up to $23 per therapeutic massage.
The growing importance of therapeutic massage is reflected in the collaboration between the provincial WorkSafe program and the Massage Therapy Association of BC. Injured workers can draw on coverage options in order to ensure their timely and safe return to the workplace. RMTs can choose to participate in, or opt out of, the program.
And of course, with a medical referral, massage therapy is completely covered for Canadian veterans and RCMP officers. With multiple access points and flexible coverage options, registered MTs are becoming more than just a fringe alternative to traditional treatments – they are moving into the front lines of essential medical care.
As a massage therapist, in what ways do you see yourself improving patients’ overall health and wellbeing?