Updated: Apr 14, 2020
By Mackenzie Seymour, RMT (Honours) of Shelburne Family Chiropractic & Wellness Centre
There’s a lot of confusion in the world over how to define registered massage therapy. One of the most frequent questions I get regarding my profession is: “what kind of massage do you do”?
It’s a hard question for me to answer because what people expect to hear from me is the usual: Swedish, Deep Tissue, Relaxation, Therapeutic, Shiatsu, Aromatherapy, Myofascial, and a plethora of other adjectives that get thrown around in association with my profession.
The formal definition that the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario provides is: “hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, specifically, the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints for the purpose of optimizing health.”
I happen to like this definition because it doesn’t limit the possibilities that massage offers. If we work with this definition we realize that all of the above options fall into it.
Essentially, massage is massage. If you’re receiving treatment from an empathetic and responsible professional, you will receive quality care because they treat according to that definition with a focus on healing your ailments, not fitting to a mold. Here in Ontario, that typically means receiving treatment from a Registered Massage Therapist. They have been vetted by the College under the law of the Ministry of Health, with a minimum training of a college education and two serious provincial level exams.
With an RMT you can expect them to be comfortable treating the young and the old, from infancy to palliative. The incredibly fit, to the sedentary. Those recovering from a strain or sprain, to outpatients of cardiac and orthopaedic surgery. People with chronic pain, to people who just want to relax. People with lymphatic deficiencies, diabetes, fibromyalgia, HIV, Lyme, even cancer.
Working as I do in Shelburne, and Dufferin County, I see a wide range of people come through my door. Commuters from the GTA, factory workers, farmers, mothers and mothers-to-be. One of the best parts of my job is learning about a person’s life and catering their treatment to fit their goals and needs.
The possibilities are endless. In each of these situations the treatment will be different. It changes from treatment-to-treatment and from person-to-person. Just as no individual person is the same, neither is a massage treatment ever the same.