What distinguishes RMTs from other people who offer massage or massage-related therapies?
Ontario RMTs go through an extensive training program, concluding with Certification Examinations which if successful, permit them to become registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario and to use the protected title of Massage Therapist or Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) (these two terms mean the same thing). RMTs are governed by the provisions of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991(RHPA) in Ontario. Being a “member”, a “registrant” or “registered” with the College means that RMTs are held accountable for the care they provide through the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario which is the regulator (not an educational facility) of the profession. Regulation is very important to the public’s safety and well being. members of the public can feel more secure when choosing a Registered Massage Therapist knowing that they have the necessary training and accountability to ensure the highest quality standards and the safest and ethical treatment of their clients.
Can I provide complementary modalities as a Massage Therapist?
The College has determined that there are certain modalities which, while not fitting the definition of the scope of practice, may be complementary to Massage Therapy treatments.
Section 3 of the Massage Therapy Act, 1991 states:
“The practice of Massage Therapy is the assessment of the soft tissue and joints of the body and the treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissues and joints by manipulation to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain.”
There are a number of modalities that can be integrated into a treatment plan by a Massage Therapist, and may even be accepted and taught in recognized massage educational institutions. These modalities, if used exclusively in and of themselves, would not fall within the generally accepted practice of the profession.
Therapists are given reasonable and responsible latitude with respect to the use of complementary modalities, recognizing that they are accountable to ensure that the modality is integrated into a treatment plan that largely consists of modalities in scope.
Massage Therapists who provide complementary modalities must understand their professional accountability and that they are responsible for:
- Following the Code of Ethics, the Standards of Practice, and the Regulations;
- Determining the appropriateness of the complementary modality;
- Ensuring that they have the knowledge, skill, and judgment to perform the modality competently;
- Performing an assessment of clients before providing the treatment;
- Explaining to the client the anticipated effects, the potential benefits, and the potential risks of the proposed modality so the client can make an informed choice;
- Obtaining valid consent before beginning treatment;
- Evaluating the ongoing status of the client and the effects of the modality on the client’s condition and overall health.
RMTs teaching a complementary modality should note that teaching a course on a complementary modality is not considered practising Massage Therapy.
Registrants are reminded that the complementary modalities therapists engage in under this policy are not considered Massage Therapy and that they may not be billed as Massage Therapy as such if performed on their own. However, they may be billed as Massage Therapy if they are integrated into a treatment plan. Activities carried out by a therapist or a health profession corporation beyond the strict practice of Massage Therapy may not be covered under the registrant’s professional liability insurance and it may be necessary to make arrangements for separate insurance coverage for these activities.
How do I find out if a particular technique or modality is within the scope of practice of Massage Therapy?
In the interest of client safety and to help ensure the competence of registrants, Massage Therapists are expected to practise within their scope of practice and are expected to use their professional judgment when deciding to use a particular modality. The scope of practice is a description of the expertise and training of the profession. The Massage Therapy scope of practice is found in section 3 of the Massage Therapy Act, 1991.
It is expected that when providing care, RMTs rely on the Massage Therapy Competency Standards, the profession’s knowledge base obtained through their Massage Therapy training, to determine the appropriate treatment plan for the client, based on the assessment. If, while developing the treatment plan, it is determined that a modality not originally taught in the Massage Therapy program is more appropriate, the RMT must consider several factors before proceeding. The first thing that needs to be considered is whether or not the particular modality is the best choice for treatment for the client and why.
Massage Therapists must then consider whether the new technique will provide an assessment of the soft tissue and joints of the body, treat and prevent physical dysfunction of the soft tissue and joints, develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain through the use of manipulation. If so, then it can be argued that this new technique fits within the scope of practice and the RMT can proceed once they have received informed consent from the client.
Is acupuncture considered within the Massage Therapy scope of practice, and if so, can I do acupuncture and include it in a Massage Therapy receipt?
Acupuncture can be practised by RMTs only if it is provided within the Massage Therapy scope of practice and the RMT has successfully completed acupuncture training that has been approved by the College.
Refer to the College’s policies on Acupuncture and Approved Acupuncture Educational Training Programs (Coming Soon).
A Massage Therapy assessment must first be conducted in accordance with the Standards of Practice. If it is determined that acupuncture is an appropriate treatment for the presenting soft tissue condition, the Massage Therapist can incorporate this into the treatment plan design. Acupuncture becomes a modality used in the treatment. Because the acupuncture policy requires acupuncture to be provided only within the scope of practice of the profession, acupuncture cannot be used for smoking cessation, for example. RMTs must also provide acupuncture in accordance with Standard 2 – Perform an Acupuncture Treatment of the Additional Technique Standards. If acupuncture is performed within the Massage Therapy scope of practice and in accordance with the Standards of Practice, it may be billed as Massage Therapy.
Massage Therapists may not use traditional Chinese medicine practitioner or acupuncturist, an abbreviation or variation in another language as that title will be reserved only for registrants of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO). If Massage Therapists want to provide acupuncture outside the scope of practice of Massage Therapy, they must become registrants of the CTCMPAO.
Motor Vehicle Accident and Other Insurance
Can the College provide information on the Motor Vehicle Accident Insurance claims process?
No, the College does not provide information regarding MVA insurance claims. This information can be found through the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario (RMTAO) or the Health Claims for Auto Insurance (HCAI) website, which contains all pertinent information regarding dealing with MVA claims.