R.M.T. VS. C.M.P.

It’s important to know the difference between a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) and a Certified Chair Massage Practitioner (CMP).

I have discontinued performing chair massage services but thought this article was still pertinent for those wishing to avail themselves of this type of massage service.

CMP’s are not currently being licensed in Winnipeg. They are however licensed in other Canadian jurisdictions including Toronto. The national municipalities association has endorsed this license and it is only a matter of time before more municipal jurisdictions will be licensing c.m.p.’s.

The C.M.P. is currently being accredited by the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada.

Registered Massage Therapists are paramedical professionals. Typically they do not have any training in chair massage. Their primary focus and specialty is in therapeutic table massage and they are trained specifically to assist with the rehabilitation of injuries and to treat people with a wide range of pathologies. They need a minimum of 2,200 hours training to be able to do this. Manual therapies like massage can be extremely effective in treating a wide range of injuries. Most insurance companies cover massage performed by an RMT.

Certified Chair Massage Practitioners (CMP’s) on the other hand go through a rigorous training program to learn a specialized type of relaxation massage done through the clothing in a portable ergonomic massage chair. Certification can take anywhere up to 1 year to complete. Upon completion, the specialty is a unique combination of ‘stress-reducing’ Swedish massage & ‘energizing’ shiatsu acupressure (called the ‘Power Massage’) to target key tension areas in the back, neck, shoulders, arms and scalp. No oils are used, the massages tend to be shorter (e.g. 10,15, 20 and 30- minutes) & are often brought on-site to the customer, group or corporation.

CMP’s know how to determine when a massage may not be indicated or when to refer to another more appropriate health professional. Their focus is to help enhance the well-being of people who are generally healthy since they take a proactive approach to health care and help prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Some insurance companies cover massage performed by a CMP, however the list is growing.

So whether you need a massage therapist or a massage practitioner really depends on the needs of your organization. What we typically find is that on-site seated massage utilizing a certified massage practitioner fits the needs of at least 95% of the organizations we talk to.

Here’s a summary of some of the differences between the two services:

Stress Reducing Chair Massage Massage therapy/Table Massage
Health promotion and stress management Rehabilitation & treatment of injuries
High utilization (70-80%) Low utilization (typically less than 10-50%)
Equal utilization by both male and females Utilized more by females (2:1 ratio)
Massage done through the clothing Employee needs to undress
No oils or lotions used Uses oils or lotions
Uses specially designed chair Uses massage table
Can be done virtually anywhere Need a dedicated space
Takes from 5 to 30 minutes Takes from 30 to 60 minutes
Relatively low cost per employee Relatively high cost per employee
Covered by some insurance companies Covered my most insurance companies

If you need rehabilitation services, we can provide you with the best possible therapists to do the job. We would be delighted to consult with you and create a customized solution to meet your needs. However, we don’t typically use massage therapists to do our on-site seated massage. Why not? To begin with, they are over-qualified to do relaxation massage. As a result of their training, there is always a tendency to “fix things” even when it is not indicated. They tend to get bored with simple but powerful relaxation techniques and quality suffers as a result.

As well, because of their training, their fees are relatively high making the massage prohibitive. Typical on-site fees for massage therapy range from $75 to $100 per hour making it difficult for most companies to provide massage to most of their staff unless there is existing extended health care coverage.