Massage therapy is becoming a popular healthcare option for more and more people each year. It is not a luxury service aimed solely at relaxation. It is a clinically-focused practice that can be used for the treatment of both acute and chronic health conditions and can be a significant part of rehabilitative recovery for many.
Massage therapy is all about the soft tissues of the body, including muscles, connective tissues, ligaments, tendons and joints. Massage therapists are trained to discover the relationship between one's symptoms (ie. pain) and the postural and functional balance of your body through assessment and some clinical reasoning and treatment planning. As many people are seeking more natural therapies for their health issues, massage therapy offers a sensible and effective option as part of your whole healthcare plan. Registered Massage Therapists are educated and trained in anatomy and physiology and use a combination of traditional and modern massage therapy techniques to provide positive outcomes for their clients. Some of the most common techniques used are:
Massage Therapy and Healthcare in Nova Scotia
Massage therapy is considered a complementary form of healthcare. This means that massage is commonly used together with conventional medical practices in an approach to reach and maintain optimal health. Integrative care is a growing practice where multiple healthcare practitioners work collaboratively to care for the needs of an individual. Physicians, Naturopathic Doctors, Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, Oriental Medicine Practitioners (Acupuncturists) and Nutritionists are some of the most common professionals that Massage Therapists work with as part of a holistic approach to healthcare.
Currently in Nova Scotia, Massage Therapy is not a regulated profession. Despite many years of effort, the profession continues to strive for provincial regulation, matching four other provinces in Canada. For example, in Ontario, the CMTO (College of Massage Therapists of Ontario) has been established by the Ontario government to protect the public and ensure they receive "safe, effective and ethical care". Colleges of practice exists for all regulated health care professions, such as physicians, chiropractors and physiotherapists. Not to be confused with educational institutions, these colleges set standards and policies to ensure the professionals are accountable for the care they provide. MTANS (Massage Therapist Association of Nova Scotia) follows the standards of practice set by the CMTO and all members are accountable to the same rules for professional conduct and quality of care.
In Nova Scotia, over 40, 000 people are without a family doctor. That number is predicted to increase with the population of physicians aging and aiming to retire also rising. When patients are seeking medical attention, without having access to a general practitioner, they often end up in the emergency room or go without care. Emergency room physicians do not specialize in general practice, and many patients end up waiting extended periods of time for care that they could otherwise receive alternative therapies for. Massage therapy offers a solution to part of this problem, in having the ability to remedy some of the ever growing burden of a stressed healthcare system in our province.
Working Together for Positive Change
Understanding the practice of massage therapy is a useful tool for the public when they are seeking positive outcomes for their specific health related concerns. Educating the public, including patients and other healthcare providers, on how massage therapists can help is a step in the right direction for positive changes in Nova Scotia and across Canada. We must be the change, inform ourselves of all our healthcare options and work together to create and sustain happy and healthy lives!