As I’ve embarked on my new career as a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) I’ve been surprised by how little the general public truly understands exactly what a licensed RMT can offer from a treatment standpoint, and the difference between a Registered Massage Therapist and some of the other massage practitioners the public can choose from today. RMTs are licensed health care practitioners with a provincial governing body and receive up to 3000
hours (this equates to 2.5 years straight) of education in orthopaedic and physiologic health sciences. We must pass a rigorous written and practical provincial registration exam before becoming a fully licensed Registered Massage Therapist (RMT). All RMTs are required to obtain continuing education credits on an annual basis to maintain registration status with their respective governing body; in BC it is the College of Massage Therapist of British Columbia (CMTBC). So with all of this education what is it exactly that an RMT can provide?
Most of us associate massage therapy with the kneading and rubbing of muscles and soft tissue which falls under the treatment modality of Swedish massage. This style of treatment is the foundation taught to all RMTs in the early semesters of school and can provide excellent therapeutic results. It is the “feel good” massage and very effective at relieving stress and general “tightness” of muscles. This treatment type is focused more towards (but not exclusive to) symptom relief, however there are many other styles or approaches that can help eliminate and more importantly solve your symptom s. Corrective treatment is a loose term used to categorize the different types of modalities (aka techniques) that are designed to solve specific and objective clinical symptoms. There are many different types of modalities that fall into this category, such as: joint mobilization, muscle energy technique (MET), neuromuscular
facilitation, myofascial release therapy, visceral manipulation, craniosacral therapy and manual lymph drainage. All of these modalities are indicated for different symptoms and desired outcomes. For example, neuromuscular facilitation can have tremendous benefits for patients recovering from strokes and spinal cord injuries as well people dealing with a neurological disease like Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis. The focus of this technique is to help “re-train” muscle and movement patterns while working with both the peripheral and central nervous systems; the systems that actually govern our muscle function.
I personally have experienced great results both from receiving and providing another modality known as myofascial release therapy. This type of treatment is becoming increasingly popular with not only RMT’s but other health care providers as research on fascia continues to progress. This treatment style focuses on reducing fascial adhesion throughout the body’s musculoskeletal structures. Fascia is a very interesting and unique type of connective tissue that is found thought the entire body making an intricate, web-like network of support and
plays a crucial role in protecting injured tissues. If not treated properly fascial problems can lead to pain, dysfunction and impaired performance.
The best advice I can give anyone new to receiving RMT treatment is simply ask what type of modalities or techniques can be confidently provided by the RMT. Any good therapist will have a network of other RMTs and/or other health care providers they will refer to if they are not familiar with the specific type of treatment you are requesting or needing. For those of you who are currently seeing a RMT for that “feel good” treatment ask what other modalities or techniques could be offered to help alleviate your symptoms. As RMTs we are not allowed to say we “specialize” in any certain type of treatment however most RMTs (after a few years of practice) tend to focus their treatment styles to one or two types of modalities, and this is something to look for when shopping around for a therapist.
So I challenge you to not be afraid to ask your RMT questions the next time you receive treatment, you may be surprised at how much more they can offer from both a treatment and educational standpoint!