The Ritual of Healthcare

This TED Talk is a fantastic introduction to the importance of patient centered care, and why a routine is necessary. When I first started working as an RMT, another health care professional gave me some wonderful advice regarding treatment. Ontario RMT's are mandated on the provincial level to interview the client/patient, determine goals for treatment, and do any necessary assessments before commencing treatment. The advice was related to those last key words "...before commencing treatment". Anything that happens before treatment has started, isn't treatment and therefore is wasting treatment time; anything that happens during treatment is therapeutic and has some positive effect on the client/patient or the person's condition. The RMT could be assessing joint movement, identifying tight muscles, pinpointing the source of pain or any number of other examination related tasks, but because it's hands-on and performed during treatment, it's part of the therapy.

An amazing thing happens when the interview is finally over and the person gets on the table: they relax. The anticipation is over, treatment is about to begin, and one of my patients always breathes a sigh of relief and says "Ahhhh.... I'm here..."

In terms of stress reduction, maintaining a ritual that clearly defines the beginning of treatment, and assures the person that the therapist cares about them, is an incredible aid to gaining the maximum benefit from Massage Therapy. Sometimes it's not what happens during treatment that's important; sometimes the most important part is that treatment happened.