Massage Therapy Canada

Features Education Leadership
Contibutor to Our Profession: Fall 2004

I have had a full career in clinical practice, teaching and regulation of the profession. Massage therapy has been the centerpiece of more than 24 years of my life.

September 25, 2009  By Massage Therapy Magazine

Editor’s Note: Emily E.S. Cowall Farrell, has been involved with and given her time to the CMTO as well as many other public opportunities to promote the growth and enhancement of the massage therapy profession. These are too numerous to list in this brief look at her contributions.

Professional Designations:

  • DHSMA, Diploma History of Medicine Society of Apothecaries, London UK, 2003;
  • Diploma in Clinical Administration, Ontario Hospital Association, 1991;
  • MT, Registered Massage Therapist, Province of Ontario, 1980.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have had a full career in clinical practice, teaching and regulation of the profession. Massage therapy has been the centerpiece of more than 24 years of my life. 

My transformation into academic scholarship as a historian of medicine and my upcoming graduate studies toward my PhD are the next career pursuits, goals and dreams.


Influential people or experiences leading you to this profession and career?
Penelope Henrietta Pearl Irene Spencer Bright Cowall, my mother, was part of the second generation of nurse masseuses in Ontario to work in the massage department at the Christie Street Orthopedic Hospital with Second World War veterans. 

When I was seven years old, I suffered from severe rheumatic fever, requiring two years convalescence in bed at home. This exceptional massage therapist and relentless mother of mine proficiently delivered daily massage and hydrotherapy. I am of the opinion that the full body cold packs during the acute stage of my illness and ongoing treatment plan was responsible for the successful recovery from a very serious childhood illness. Further, I cannot forget the experience of apprenticeship with Edith Szasz, the mentor of my massage schooling, and her influence on my clinical development, and Deborah Worrad, the Registrar of the College of Massage Therapists, who inspired and encouraged my professional growth in the regulatory arena.

Most cherished experience or accomplishment. Why?
There have been many experiences and moments of magnitude; the clinical accomplishments with the people I provided massage therapy care to over the years, the times I was able to facilitate students, the countless
triumphs for the profession during my regulatory service, the friends and colleagues in the profession both nationally and internationally.  

Most recently, I presented a lecture on the history of massage therapy in Ontario at the Apothecaries Hall in London, England. There, in the distinguished and magnificent building built in 1619, I was able to convey the story of our profession. I am the first massage therapist in the history of the Society of Apothecaries to lecture in the hall and gain entrance as a diplomate in the history of medicine with the Society.

Hope for our profession in the near and distant future.
Navigating the complexity of the medical marketplace and its trends will require the profession to place greater emphasis on evidence-based programs of care. CAM Research is assisting our development in this area. Ontario is a vanguard in the massage therapy field, our status
and international acclaim a true accomplishment. To maintain this, academics, clinicians and regulators will have to work together to merge public and professional interests.

Some decisions will be difficult, yet looking back; we enjoy the privilege of third party insurance coverage
for our therapeutic treatments.

Status as members of the regulated health professions and the privilege of insurance benefits is the envy
of a variety of complimentary and alternative professions. I hold hope that together we will continue to define and qualify our practice in meaningful ways that will be of value to the profession and the public.

Words of wisdom.
Massage therapy can be a life-long career choice, however, it is important to build for your future. Ask yourself early, how will I transform beyond my clinical work? As you enter the field, consider the longer view of how you will exit. Every step along the way should be a strategic plan to fulfill a lifetime of professional satisfaction and personal accomplishment.

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