The Importance of Communication

The legal definition of MT, found in the Massage Therapy Act, describes MT as being hands-on, and focused on primarily muscles and joints. This is suggestive of MTís effectiveness being based on the physical changes that happens to the body as a result of the therapy. What is curious and fascinating is that the (College of Massage Therapists of Ontario) CMTOís Code of Ethics describes MT as a relationship between patient and therapist; it doesnít mention the body or the physical nature of MT at all.

Legally, MT is focused on the body and on affecting physical change. Ethically, MT is focused on you, the patient, and how the experience of a therapeutic encounter can affect outcomes.

The Health Care Consent Act establishes who gives consent for a patient to receive therapy, and works through the various situations that might complicate things, such as oneís Power of Attorney. Essentially, as long as the patient is able to understand the treatment (eg: doesnít have Alzheimerís) then they are the one to give or revoke consent. For the scenario of someone receiving MT, the patient is the one who would give consent. This means that even if the patient is under 18 years old, itís their body, their consent.

Your body, your consent. Itís important to understand that the success of treatment lies largely with the effectiveness of the communication between patient and therapist. If you are uncomfortable with the proposed method of treatment, the pressure, have any questions about the treatment or draping, essentially anything Ė it is important to communicate your thoughts. One of the main duties of an RMT is to put you first. They should help you feel comfortable, happy and relaxed. Your therapist doesnít know what you are thinking, so the only way they can truly know how to help you the most is if you tell them.

I have heard many stories from MT patients, when explaining why they switched to another RMT, that the reasons for doing so were regarding likely preventable or solvable issues. The most common are regarding too much or too little pressure, too much or too little conversation (many times the RMT was rambling), and health goals not being achieved. A lot of these issues can be dealt with through honest communication. If your RMT doesnít know how you feel, they canít make changes.