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B.C. teachers’ strike sparks reaction from RMT community

Sept. 8, 2014 – The association representing registered massage therapists in B.C. has declined to directly comment on the on-going teachers’ strike in the province following failed union negotiations with the government over benefits and compensation, but is highlighting the importance of massage therapy as a health-care service.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has urged the union to be “realistic” with its position regarding benefits and wages, and made reference to the employee union's demand for $3,000 annual benefits for doctor-prescribed massage therapy treatments. The B.C. Teachers' Federation has, in recent weeks, dropped that request from its list of demands.

September 8, 2014  By Massage Therapy Canada staff

“The issue of massage therapy coverage for workers in B.C. has recently
received media attention,” the Registered Massage Therapist Association
of British Columbia (RMTBC) said in a statement. “Although we are happy
that massage therapy enjoys a high profile as an effective health-care
treatment, we have no desire to comment on any negotiated benefit
between unions and employers.”

The debate, however, underscores
the reality that registered massage therapists provide an effective and
important health-care service, used by more than 67 per cent of B.C.
residents, the association said.

“RMTs are highly trained and
skilled professionals who assist patients with a variety of health-care
issues such as workplace stress, accident recovery, and sports and
performance injuries. RMTs are qualified to assess the soft tissues and
joints of the body, and to treat symptoms of pain and dysfunction,
including the underlying causes,” the RMTBC said.

About 62 per
cent of British Columbians have health-care insurance that covers
massage therapy treatments. Most visits to RMTs in the province are
referrals by a medical professional. Fifty-two per cent of extended
health-care plans that cover RMT visits are provided through employers.


The RMTBC also offered some quick facts about the profession in B.C.:

· There are approximately 3,300 RMTs in British Columbia

Just over one-half (53 per cent) of B.C. residents have visited an RMT
to treat muscle pain, closely followed by being treated for neck and
shoulder pain (51 per cent) and back pain (47 per cent)

One-quarter (26 per cent) of B.C. residents have visited an RMT to treat
stress, and a small minority (10 to 15 per cent) to treat headaches,
posture problems or tendinosis/carpal tunnel syndrome

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