Old professors of mine once told me, “it is our duty to educate the public on what massage therapy is and what it can offer”. So what does a Registered Massage Therapist do?
- Decrease inflammation
- Improve immune function
- Decrease pain
- Relieve tense muscles
- Lengthen shortened muscles
- Improve overall tissue health
- Decrease stress
- Improve circulation
- Improve range of motion
These are just SOME of the benefits of massage therapy.
However, there is a common misconception that Registered Massage Therapy treatments are just “fluff and bluff”, pushing oil or lotion around with no real purpose. Or even yet, a far worse misconception, that massage is seen as mostly sexual in nature. As a male therapist, I have been refused treatment before for being a male. It shows me that there are many who do not see massage therapy as a health care when people have refused treatment from me simply due to the fact that I am a male, but have male doctors and OBGYN’s. I have even had this refusal from other health care practitioners. The misconceptions don’t just inflict me as a male. Even female therapist I’ve gotten to know over the years have told me of a time where a male client or patient has made certain advances towards them.
Can these misconceptions ever be changed?
In my opinion, using the word Massage in our title is holding our profession back. We should be considered Registered Muscle Therapists or possible Registered Soft-Tissue Therapists. It would help change expectation of what the treatments are about. These therapists are well trained to make sure no sensitive areas are exposed and that all boundaries are respected, providing relief for those who need it as a viable healthcare alternative and profession. A difficult task, as it would require a reform of the 1991 Regulated Massage Therapy Act. It could be a good way to differentiate between a Spa therapist and a Health Care therapist. Keeping the Massage term for Spa settings, and the Muscle term for the more health care based therapist.
As time goes on, you would think the misconception would slowly change, while the public increases its knowledge of what an RMT can do. However, at this point in time, Massage Therapy is still a rather newer form of treatment a long side Physiotherapy and Chiropractic care. At this current moment, these misconceptions can be a problem. It may be a while yet that some more closed minded people realise what Massage can offer. But changing Registered Massage Therapist to Registered Muscle Therapist would offer a more clear indication of what treatments will help to improve. A better understanding for the client as well. Is this simply just a dream, or can we as a community, make it a possibility.
Article by: Paulo Machado