Massage therapy in hospitals is not a new thing – as RMTs have been working in hospitals in Canada for at least three decades now – but it had been a slow progress.
By Mari-Len De
There is increasing evidence about the health-care benefits and cost-effectiveness of massage therapy for certain conditions. Those hospitals that have integrated massage therapy, in one form or another, and those RMTs who have worked, or are working, in hospital settings are finding mutual benefits from the arrangement.
Hospital administrators need to get acquainted with the evidence that show the many benefits of massage therapy to patient health and the bottom-line – but that is only half of the equation. The other half of the effort needs to come from the profession itself.
From talking to massage therapists who are thriving in hospital-based care, one common theme emerged. They all had a clear vision of where they want to take their practice and were not afraid to step outside of their comfort zone to talk about massage therapy and how it can fit in the patient care paradigm.
Confidence can go a long way when combined with passion and conviction. These RMTs advocated for themselves and their beliefs about what they do, and the stakeholders listened. There is no better advocate for the profession than the professionals themselves.
The RMT forerunners for hospital-based massage therapy have left the door only slightly open for others in the profession to walk in, but when nobody else is walking through that door it can’t remain open forever.
The only way for hospitals to fully embrace massage therapy integration is through evidence and by engaging them in a conversation about massage therapy and its health-care benefits.
The profession needs to make a concerted and organized effort to get the evidence in the hands of hospital administrators, doctors and stakeholders, and position massage therapy as a relevant partner in patient care.
The individual therapists have to be engaged in their health-care community as well. Talk to the doctors and nurses in your community and let them know what you do and how you can help patients. Who knows where that conversation might take you.