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Open Access Research

The perspectives of educators, regulators and funders of massage therapy on the state of the profession in British Columbia, Canada

Farah M Shroff1* and Inderjeet S Sahota2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Practice and School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Third Floor David Strangway Bldg, 5950 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada

2 Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Simon Fraser, Canada

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Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2013, 21:2  doi:10.1186/2045-709X-21-2

Published: 7 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) are valuable members of the healthcare team who assist in health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliation. RMT visits have increased across Canada over the past decade with the highest increase in British Columbia (BC). Currently, RMTs are private practitioners of healthcare operating within a largely publicly funded system, positioning them outside of the dominant system of healthcare and making them an important case study in private healthcare. In another paper we examined the perspectives of RMTs themselves. Here, we offer perspectives of regulators, educators and funders of Massage Therapy (MT) on advancement of the profession.

Methods

We interviewed 28 stakeholders of MT in BC – including members of the MT regulatory board, representatives from MT colleges in BC and public and private health insurers.

Results

All three groups identified research, particularly on efficacy of MT, as playing a vital role in enhancing the professional credibility of MT. However, participants noted that presently research is not a large feature of the current MT curricula and we analyze why this may be and how it can improve. Finally, conferral of baccalaureate degree status could assist RMTs in gaining recognition with the general public and other healthcare professionals.

Conclusion

RMTs have potential to ameliorate population health in a cost-effective manner. Their role in British Columbia’s healthcare landscape could be expanded if they produce more research and earn degree status.

Keywords:
Health care professionals; Professional education; Alternative and complementary health care; Massage therapy