The first Massage Therapy experience should be a positive and empowering experience where you become more aware of your own body and begin to comprehend the significance of Muscular Health and how it impacts your life on a daily basis. Building trust and confidence in your Massage Therapist is vital to achieving the most benefit from Massage Therapy.
In Ontario, Massage Therapy is regulated under the Regulated Health Practitioners Act (RHPA) and is governed by the College Of Massage Therapists. The College of Massage Therapists exists for many reasons, not the least of which are to protect the public, increase public awareness about the benefits of Massage Therapy, serve its members, and promote the highest quality of practice of Massage Therapy. To be a member of the College of Massage Therapists, every Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) in Ontario must pass a standardized examination process in the form of a Board Exam, which tests treatment skills and general massage therapy knowledge. In order to write the Board Exam one must pass a Massage Therapy program with a minimum of 2200 hours class time and a Clinical rotation.
As a patient, you obviously need to choose a Massage Therapist that you feel comfortable with, similar to the way you would select a doctor - most likely by word-of-mouth or by location. Once you have chosen a Registered Massage Therapist, you need to call and book an appointment. When you arrive for your first scheduled visit, you will be asked to fill out a Health History Form. Your Massage Therapist will then review the form and initiate a question and answer period to evaluate the goals of your treatment. A Biomechanical Assessment is next where treatment Informed Consent is attained. Informed Consent basically consists of the massage therapist discussing the planned areas of treatment, proper method for lying on the table, proper draping technique, benefits/risks of massage treatment and answering all your questions with the goal of empowering you, the patient.
During the actual Massage Therapy treatment, the Massage Therapist will apply many kinds of soft tissue manipulations primarily through the use of manual techniques. Such treatment may involve use of the hand, thumb, fingers, palm, forearm, elbow and fist. The general approach for application of these techniques is based on the Swedish technique where a therapist will start with light pressure, then increase pressure, and end with light pressure on any given area of treatment. At no time during a Massage Therapy Treatment should one feel unwilling to express comfort levels or general feelings regarding the Massage Treatment.
After the treatment has finished, the Massage Therapist will leave the room allowing for the patient to get off the table and get dressed. A post-treatment question and answer period will begin where the Massage Therapist will prescribe a treatment plan, review the benefits/risks of the treatment and some remedial exercises for the patient to undergo to improve the area of treatment before the next appointment.
Massage Therapy should not be perceived as a luxury but as a fundamental element to achieving one’s balance with mind and body.