Key points on the regulation of massage therapy in Canada

The regulation of massage therapy in Canada is not universal. In fact, in most regions the profession isn’t recognized as a professional health-care practice at all. Massage therapy has only been codified and regulated in three Canadian provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and British Columbia. Although specific regulations vary, massage therapists practicing in these provinces are governed by law and must be members of their professional association. They must also comply with a code of ethics and professional conduct.

Key points on the regulation of massage therapy in Canada

Massage therapy in Newfoundland and Labrador

In Newfoundland and Labrador, registered massage therapists must be members of the College of Massage Therapists of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Newfoundland and Labrador Massage Therapists' Association in order to practise their profession.

Massage therapy in Ontario

In Ontario, registered massage therapists must be members of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. To register, they must have graduated from one of the recognized massage therapy schools in the province. Training programs last for two or three years.

Massage therapy in British Columbia

In British Columbia, registered massage therapists must hold a diploma from a school accredited by the Private Career Training Institutions Agency and be members of the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia.

What is massage therapy, anyway?

You now know that the regulation of massage therapy in Canada is not the same all across the country, but do you know what the work of massage therapists really entails? They evaluate the physical condition of their clients and massage the muscles, soft tissues and joints in order to relax, rehabilitate or improve the physical functions of the client. Treatments can include orthopedic and neurological testing, soft tissue manipulation (the most common technique for this is Swedish massage), hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercise and body awareness training.

Choose the right massage therapist

Because the regulation of massage therapy in Canada isn’t widespread, you have to be careful when choosing a massage therapist in provinces where it’s not regulated. Anyone can call themselves a massage therapist, but that’s not the same thing as a registered massage therapist. An improperly trained practitioner could worsen your problem instead of helping it. When you’re choosing a massage therapist, make sure he or she has a diploma from a recognized school.

In the provinces where it’s regulated, you can easily find a list of registered practitioners on the websites of the corresponding professional associations. Elsewhere in Canada, contact any professionalmassage therapy association for help finding a certified massage therapist near you. Family members and friends may also be able to recommend a trustworthy professional.

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