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Features Op-Ed
The Road to Respect Recognition

The public perception of massage therapy has made great strides over the last several years. However, the road to respect and recognition is an ongoing journey. How does this vibrant, valuable profession make even greater in-roads?


September 29, 2009
By David DeWitt Communications Co-ordinator mTABC

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The public perception of massage therapy has made great strides over the last several years. However, the road to respect and recognition is an ongoing journey. How does this vibrant, valuable profession make even greater in-roads?

A contribution to this “awareness cause” is the recognition of the id mark “RMT” as a protected privilege of legislated provinces. The profession as a whole may also benefit by spending time on collective analysis and coordination to help forge a national effort, with national impact.

Recognition and respect do not go hand in hand. Recognition can be positive or negative. Respect comes from the ability to present purposeful, consistent and collective evidence-based research.

We are striving to earn respect from the medical community, health insurers, and government regulators, as well as the general public. An excellent way to attract respectful attention is to clearly show you can solve concrete problems for your chosen audiences.  For example, highlighting your rehabilitation skills will make it easier to promote massage therapy to the health care community and the general public.  Common values will ensure consistent messages and lead to a greater level of respect.

Steve Anderson, a well-known Vancouver-based massage therapist who treats with an orthopedic approach, agrees that “there has to be a greater emphasis on telling the patient they are better, that there is closure and that they can be discharged.” 

Anderson also suggests that massage therapy patients who are improving, rehabilitated and better informed can provide positive feedback to their doctor which will, in turn, help build the reputation of the profession within the medical community.

As many RMTs have already experienced, physicians can indeed be convinced of the benefits of massage therapy. Rick Tkach, a Burnaby, B.C.-based massage therapist with a focus on sports-related care, has
developed a good rapport with a doctor who he has been working with for 10 years. There is mutual respect and the doctor often asks Rick for advice.

From a public relations point of view, the mainstream media responds well to results-oriented studies and are known for presenting credible research. 

Convincing the government and insurance companies of the value of massage therapy most certainly requires a rehabilitation strategy, such as adopting evidence-based practices and measured outcomes.

There is a growing trend toward outcome-based assessment of all therapies and interventions.

Measured outcomes are a way to demonstrate consistent rehabilitation and cost effectiveness to insurers and the government. 
 
With a nationwide focus on rehabilitation, evidence-based practices and measured outcomes, the massage therapy profession can expand on recent successes and take advantage of their momentum on the road to respect and recognition.


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