How to choose your massage therapist

There are many variables which you may have to consider when choosing your massage therapist.

Frequently Asked Questions

    The most important is probably : whether the therapist uses purely mechanical massage techniques or whether they incorporate holistic energy work practices.
  • What are the qualifications of the person from whom you will receive physical and massage therapy?
  • In Manitoba , massage therapy is unregulated. The Manitoba ministry of Health has the position that “there is no evidence that non-qualified massage therapists can do harm to the general public”.( paraphrase)
  • The provincial criteria for regulation should be ‘whether the therapy achieves the results which are promised by the therapist and requested by the client.
  • Basically, anyone can take a six week course in massage therapy, hang up a sign and open up a business in Manitoba. Without prejudice to some municipalities, there are however some requirements of training which are made by some municipal jurisdictions in order to obtain business licensing. In Winnipeg, there is no licensing since 2007. There used to be a requirement for a remedial massage course which is approx. a 2200 hour course or the equivalent to two years full time course. The only license in the massage industry is for ‘massagist’ in the sex trade or escort services. This license is not mobile and is intended to control the operators in that industry.
  • The issue becomes whether a practitioner can obtain malpractice insurance in order to be able to give receipts for insurance claims or to provide that service directly for their clients, which I do in my clinic.
  • Insurance companies require certification from an accredited massage therapy course and affiliation with an association which regulates ethics and membership credentials.
  • In contrast, in other provinces, the requirement may be as little as 400 hours of training as in Quebec, or as much as 2600 hours as in British Columbia, Ontario, or New Brunswick, or Newfoundland/Labrador where they have government-regulated colleges. .
  • In the U.S.A. the national and state requirement is a 500-600 hour course and required accreditation with the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
  • Manitoba’s colleges offer the two year 2200 hour course depending on which school you contact: the Evolve College of Massage Therapy, or the Wellington College of Remedial Massage Therapies are the two most established colleges, with new entrants like Robertson College also meet the national massage therapy association guidelines for curriculum, although there are no Manitoba colleges currently accredited with the National Massage Therapy Accreditation Association.

Where did the therapist obtain their qualifications is another factor which may affect the type of consultation, assessment, and treatment which you may receive at their clinic?

There is also the aesthetics industry which has schools that offer training in massage treatments for the beauty sector. These courses and graduates are trained in basic anatomy and physiology to offer a relaxation massage but are not trained therapists.

There are currently two accredited massage therapy schools in Winnipeg which provide therapy courses. Different colleges and schools of massage give different certificates for different lengths of programs. Each has different approaches to consultation, assessment and treatment options. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the different types and approaches so as to obtain the best options for your treatment dollar.

There are times when a client needs a therapist for counselling or psychotherapy. Below is a link which offers such services.

How does the consumer distinguish between therapists?

  • The only way of knowing is by asking the particular therapist to which one has been referred either by a doctor, chiropractor, physiotherapist, or other source, be it a friend or family member.
  • The college which the therapist attended will to a large degree dictate the ‘approach’ which the therapist will utilize in their consultation, assessment, and treatment.
  • Ask what method they utilize and why they think their approach is best?
  • The amount of formal schooling does indeed affect the level of proficiency at which the therapist will be able to perform. It will also affect the extent to which any treatment will be likely to be effective and for which the successful outcome of return to pain-free full range of motion can be expected. In some cases of injury and post-surgery recovery there is no possibility of achieving 100 percent recovery to pre-injury or pre-surgery levels of pain-free motion.
  • Ask your therapist whether they incorporate a physical therapy or exercise rehabilitation component to their treatments to assist in a gradual progressive home and/or workplace recovery program.