You’ve been contemplating and considering, your friends all tell you “get a massage!” Maybe it’s time, you’re ready to take the plunge and see if you can do a little something about the stiff achy shoulders/neck/back/knees/hips.. Everything.
Now what? You want the best massage therapist for you bow do you choose an RMT? There are so many out there with all kinds of different skills and techniques and settings. What’s the difference between a “relaxation massage” and “sports therapy?” Why do some RMTs work in spas, and others in clinics?
It can be a confusing system to navigate; you want to be certain you are investing in what is right for you. After all, this person is going to be touching you! The very first step in this process is identifying what YOUR needs are. Ask yourself:
l Why am I considering a massage in the first place? Do I have pain anywhere? Am I having trouble sleeping? Am I noticing changes in my performance during my usual activities? Do I have a hard time settling down, physically? Do I struggle to relax my own body? Having a clearer idea of why you want a massage will help you in finding the right RMT for you.
Registered Health Care Providers
In Ontario, the practice of massage therapy is regulated by the government through the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. The CMTO is responsible for the public well being by holding RMTs accountable for their actions in practice. The CMTO has a public registry on it’s website, which you can search to find an RMT in your area. There are approximately 250 RMTs currently holding general certificates in Hamilton Ontario. You can search this database by city, name, postal code, whether or not they do acupuncture and gender.
As RHCPs, RMTs have chosen to accept the responsibility of caring for your health and holding your best interest as the highest priority. They have taken considerable training to be able to hold the licence of Registered Massage Therapist. With a few years under their belts, most RMTs will have acquired additional training, honing their skill sets in on particular methods, styles of treatment and even the kinds of conditions they work on. Few RMTs treat exactly the same and there can be a broad range of skill sets and areas of focus. This means it can be important to take some time to research RMTs in your area. You know what you want massage therapy for, consider the following when seeking your RMT:
l What kind of setting does the RMT work in? Clinical office or spa? Do they work with other RHCPs like chiropractors or physiotherapists? These cues can help you identify the style of the therapist. RMTs who work in athletic settings like sports med clinics or gyms are likely to take a more sport massage and rehab approach to things, assisting an athlete in reaching their potential. RMTs who work in spa like settings are more likely to focus on helping people settle down or let go of bodily tension.
What does their marketing say? Today most RMTs can be found on the internet giving you a good chance to scope them out. Do they keep a blog or are they active on social media? What kinds of topics do they regularly discuss? Do they feature any specialized training or areas of expertise? Interacting with their media can help you get a clearer picture of what this individual values in their work, and the areas they have chosen to focus on.
Some people have more complex concerns, from managing chronic illnesses and pain, to living with mental health problems or recovery from serious injuries, surgeries or illnesses. If this describes you, paying attention to the therapist’s marketing and media can inform you about their ability to navigate and manage your case. You want to make sure the therapist you will be working with is able provide responsible care for you, understand what you are living with, and helping you determine appropriate goals for your current life style.
Once you’ve chosen your massage therapist, book your appointment. For a first appointment, it’s smarter to schedule more time than less. At my clinic, a first appointment is 90 minutes, including your paper work. This ensures that we get at least 75 minutes together to go over your health history, get to know what you are wanting massage for, what your expectations are, what your goals are and how I plan to help you reach them. It’s important to me to take this time to acquaint myself with you and your case. Not only does this allow me to ensure the best treatment plan for you, but also to get clear and enthusiastic consent from you. By going through this process, we can lay out the ground rules and boundaries, a clear path towards your goals, and prepare for our work together. At your first appointment, consider:
l Did I feel listened to? Did I feel confused by something or like my questions were answered? Were instructions given clearly and confidently? Did the RMT take their time listening to me? Did I feel rushed? Were all elements of the treatment explained to me in a way I understood? Did I set my own goals? Did I feel safe?
Usually, after the first treatment, you will have a good idea of whether or not you and the therapist worked well together. Know that, if you decide later you didn’t like it, you do not have to go back. You don’t even have to tell us why (though we would likely appreciate it if you did so we can do better next time). Ultimately you are the boss of your body and what you decide for it is what ought to be what happens do it. If your first therapist choice is a flop, fear not, there are 249 more awesome RMTs in Hamilton Ontario who would love to help you reach your goals.