In researching my family history recently, I came across a fascinating little tidbit of information in an historical newspaper publication. 

During a number of first semester courses, our instructors have discussed with us the history of massage, and how we as a profession are distancing ourselves from a generalized public perception of a ‘masseuse’ in a ‘massage parlour’ toward the restoration of health in a respected clinical field. 

Perhaps because of this, the following three advertisements from a Nova Scotia paper, written in January 1925, jumped out at me while searching for birth records.  These massage notices happened to be listed on the Society page under the ‘Personals’ heading, along with various other chronicled snippets

It reads:

  • “ABOUT THAT TIRED FEELING.  Massage and electricity will revitalize you.”
  • “A BENEFIT OF LONG STANDING - Expert massage by certified masseuse.  Health baths.  Nurse Watt, 251 Slater St.  Appointments.”
  • “ALICE’S Beauty School:  students trained; conscientious instruction in beauty culture; register now for winter course.  62 Bank St. Tel.”

While ad one is questionable ~ electricity? ~ especially during a time when they used electric shock on mental health patients ~ I am fairly certain that ads two and three were an attempt at legitimate business.  During the time period these ads were written, they were likely not given the respect they deserved.  Considering that classes were being given at a beauty school suggests that the massage instruction they were offering was more toward providing a spa day for the wealthy.  The item posted by the nurse seems to be the only one linking a medical background, however it does little to distinguish itself from being provided by a commonplace ‘masseuse’ in the ‘historical’ image people had of the charlatans who used the term.  In British Columbia, the beginnings of a formal association was in the 1930’s, where the Bylaws in 1937 were written in conjunction with Physiotherapists, and we were given the title of “Masseur or Masseuse” in the Naturopathic Physicians Act (see rmtbc.ca website), which gave the massage profession legitimacy.


A registered massage therapy program today is a 2 year diploma.  Registered Massage Therapists are becoming increasingly recognized in the health industry, with RMT’s frequently receiving patient referrals from doctors, physiotherapists, and chiropractors for client rehabilitation as a whole and complete package.  Classes are a combination of Academic and Practical hands-on learning.  There are a number of schools in BC that are recognized by CMTBC (College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia), who set the standards of professional practice.  OVCMT is recognized as providing training at the highest standard, including national accreditation of this intensive and rewarding program.


Registered Massage Therapy has come a long way, and I am happy to be a part of its journey.  If you think becoming a Registered Massage Therapist might be for you, check out OVCMT , where you can make an appointment to visit the school and ask our friendly staff questions about your potential future and our wonderful program.