Evidence-Informed Practice (EIP) Survey and Domains of Evidence

Summer-Fall 2021


CMTO is committed to encouraging the use of Evidence-Informed Massage Therapy Practice (EIMTP). To support this goal, Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs/MTs) were asked to participate in an Evidence-Informed Massage Therapy Practice Baseline Survey summer 2020. This survey was conducted to identify RMTs’ attitudes, knowledge, and application of EIP within their practices.

1,659 RMTs completed the survey online or via e-mail submissions. Figures 1 and 2 below provide some background information on the respondents.

Figure 1 – Number of Years in Practice

Figure 2 – Geographic Location of Survey Respondents by CMTO Electoral District

Here are some highlights from the survey:

  • 70% of total respondents indicated using an evidence-informed approach in their practice on a regular basis.
    • Nearly 70% of total respondents searched for evidence-informed practice (EIP) solutions to address their clients’ needs. 55% reported having access to resources that enable them to work in an evidence-informed way.
    • 31% have some access to EIP resources.
  • 10% indicated they do not have access to resources that would allow them to work in an evidence-informed way. 81% of respondents indicated they reflect on their knowledge and how it informs their work.
  • Almost 90% of respondents indicated that they regularly include the client perspective in their service planning. 53% indicated that their overall knowledge of EIP was good, and 13% felt it was excellent.
  • 57% indicated they are knowledgeable about how to find research and evidence-informed clinical guidelines.

Responses varied by length of time in practice. Generally, respondents who have been practising between two and 10 years reported feeling knowledgeable about EIP, that they used an evidence-informed approach in their practice, and EIP is important to them. Respondents who have been practising for over 10 years were less familiar with EIP.

The results of this survey provide useful insights into the value of EIP and its use by RMTs. Overall, EIP appears to be valued by the survey respondents and applied in practice. Although respondents appeared to be favourable to EIP, only half think that the Massage Therapy profession is evidence-informed.

Another survey on this topic will take place in the future to allow comparison with this baseline and learn more about how RMTs’ attitudes, knowledge, and application of EIP to their practices may have changed.

EIMTP Domains of Evidence

Evidence-Informed Massage Therapy Practice includes the concept of evidence from two different domains of knowledge: external research and RMT knowledge, experience & practice evaluation. Ideally, an integrated approach to EIMTP includes evidence from both domains.

The use of external research evidence requires access, appraisal (critical review), application, and then assessment of outcomes. It includes many different types of research from case studies to randomized controlled trials to clinical practice guidelines. Appraisal and application of these also vary widely in the skills and knowledge needed.

RMT knowledge, experience & practice evaluation evidence is reliant on practitioners’ experience, expertise and clinical judgement. This form of evidence is obtained through careful consideration of the potential connection between clinical intervention and assessed outcomes. A critical review of this evidence is also needed to successfully apply it to practice.

The knowledge and skills required to access, appraise, apply, and assess these forms of evidence are major components of additional EIMTP e-learning modules currently under development. These modules will start to be made available next year.

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