The future of Massage Therapy

Massage is evolving as a powerful therapeutic tool. We have a long way to go in aligning massage therapy with modern medical practice. Many of you out there including massage therapists have a difficult time understanding how massage therapy integrates into traditional health care. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of massage as a therapy however, the majority of researchers agree that more study is needed. We have a long way to go before we are able to speak directly to the local and systemic effects massage has on the body.

Massage therapy is having an identity crisis and we as therapists and those regularly receiving massage therapy have a choice. We can either accept the current classification of a complementary care provider or commit to supporting the study and evidence based practice of massage therapy. If we choose the latter we have a much better chance of elevating the profession to the level of health care provider and developing and teaching techniques that follow the evidence all while preserving the artistry of our work and touch. This would be the best of both worlds.

I came across this study published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork:

Massage Therapy and Canadians’ Health Care Needs 2020: Proceedings of a National Research Priority Setting Summit

Trish Dryden , M.Ed, RMT 1, Bryn Sumpton , B.Sc.N. 2, Stacey Shipwright , BA, RMT 1, Janet Kahn , PhD, EdM, LMT3, Barbara (Findlay) Reece , RN, BSN 4

The following list is what the group wished to see five years from the meeting in 2015:

"There is a National Adverse Events Database for Massage Therapy and data are widely available

.Regulatory bodies have few misconduct hearings

.Massage therapy is regulated in all Canadian provinces and territories

.Massage therapy clinics are more frequently located in interprofessional settings and massage therapists are more frequently integrated into interprofessional health care teams

.All massage therapists know how to use mobile applications to access best practice guidelines and best evidence, such as databases, journals, and review articles, to inform their practice

.Massage therapists are talking knowledgeably and enthusiastically about treatment outcomes and about collaborating on research

. MT clinicians know how to use, record, and interpret valid outcome measures

. All massage therapists read clinical case reports, and many have written one themselves

.Massage therapy is a standard part of oncology care and pain management.Community-based care teams employ salaried massage therapists who provide patient education, as well as treatments

.There is a national/international “shared communication forum” for massage therapists to come together as peer contributors

.Massage therapists learn and use “meta-competencies” of which more conventionally perceived modalities and skills are component parts

.Massage therapists are able to describe what they do, without relying on the word “intuition.”"

It would be amazing to see this happen in the US as well. I believe we are all representatives of our profession and it is up to us to further this field. Do no harm to our clients or to our profession.

Thank you again for taking the time to read this. I wish you all the best day and lots and lots of wellness.


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