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How can massage therapy help me?

Massage therapy can be beneficial to people of all ages and conditions and is widely used to help obtain relief from many specific problems, including:

Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and tendinitis

Stress relief and associated conditions

Headaches and migraines

Muscle and related conditions such as spasms, strains and sprains

Back pain

Repetitive strain injury

Circulatory and Respiratory problems

Pregnancy and labour discomfort

Post-injury and post surgical rehabilitation

More information

Can anyone receive massage therapy?

Yes, massage therapy is appropriate for individuals of all ages, including infants, children, and the elderly; however, there are some conditions for which massage therapy is not appropriate. A qualified Massage Therapist (RMT or MT) is trained to recognize these cases.

Many Massage Therapists treat a variety of diseases and disorders while other Massage Therapists concentrate on certain conditions (fibromyalgia) or groups of people such as athletes, performers, women during pregnancy (including labour and delivery), infants and children. When booking your first consultation, be sure that the Massage Therapist is the right choice for you.

Is massage therapy a regulated health profession?

The practice of massage therapy is regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA) and is therefore a Regulated Health Profession. Only individuals who have completed the requisite training and have met the strict competency requirements of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) can call themselves a "Massage Therapist" or a "Registered Massage Therapist".

When seeking massage therapy, look for an individual who uses one of those two titles and ask to see their registration with the CMTO.

Alternatively, look for someone who displays the logo of the Registered Massage Therapists' Association of Ontario. All RMTAO members must maintain their registration with the CMTO in order to be members.

How do I find a Massage Therapist?

If you are seeking massage therapy treatment in Ontario, visit

How do I register a complaint against my Massage Therapist?

The practice of massage therapy is regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Massage Therapy Act. These pieces of legislation establish the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) and the profession of massage therapy as a self-regulating health profession in Ontario.

The CMTO exists to protect the public interest and to regulate the profession of massage therapy, through the maintenance of high professional standards. The CMTO also ensures ethical, high-quality health care.

Questions regarding the conduct of a Massage Therapist must be addressed to the CMTO. The RHPA requires the CMTO to have a formal complaints process. This process gives any member of the public the right to have his/her complaint about a Massage Therapist's behaviour, conduct or practice investigated by the College's Complaints Committee. Each step of the process is designed to ensure fairness to both the complainant and the member who is the subject of the complaint.

You may file a complaint with the Registrar in writing, recorded on audio tape or on video, submitted on disk or on other permanent medium. The complaint should include the name of the Massage Therapist, the time, place, date(s) and details of the event(s). You may file the complaint as follows:

College of Massage Therapists of Ontario

1867 Yonge Street, Suite 810

Toronto, Ontario M4S 1Y5

For more information about the College, you may visit their website at

Do I have to remove all my clothing for massage therapy?

No. Your comfort as a client is of the utmost to all Registered Massage Therapists, whether that is in the context of the clothing you wear or the treatment you receive. Massage Therapists can provide important treatment whether you elect to remove any, some, or all of your clothing. All RMTs are trained in proper draping procedures to ensure that your privacy is completely respected at all times during treatment. Your comfort and ability to relax is paramount to effective treatment.

Registered Massage Therapists will also describe the treatments to be provided to ensure that you are comfortable with them. Your consent is sought before treatment is provided. If you are uncomfortable, your RMT wants you to let them know immediately, whether that discomfort involves the treatment, draping or any pain you may experience.

Be sure and discuss the most effective means of treatment with your Massage Therapist.

Why do Massage Therapists charge HST?

Under the federal Excise Tax Act, massage therapy is a service to which GST was applied. While massage therapists are considered health care practitioners under Ontario Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, massage therapy is not included in the definition of health services that are exempt from the application of the HST. The list of exemptions is controlled by the federal government and the federal Minister of Finance has made it clear that the current policies governing exemptions will remain in place. A health profession can be exempted if is it regulated in five provinces or territories or if it is paid for in the health plans of three provinces. Massage therapy does not meet either of these conditions.

Does massage therapy hurt?

As with many treatments affecting the soft tissue, there are times when massage therapy can cause some light discomfort but it is not harmful. Discomfort usually diminishes and no technique of this nature is used without the therapist first discussing it with the client and obtaining your permission. A comfort scale will be established and the therapist will work to the client's tolerance level. The client can stop or change the treatment at any time and Massage therapists will modify their techniques to meet their client's needs.

What Is Massage Therapy?

Massage Therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body including muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints. Massage therapy helps alleviate the soft tissue discomfort associated with everyday and occupational stresses, muscular over-use and many chronic pain conditions. If employed early enough after accidents involving trauma and injury, massage therapy can greatly reduce the development of painful muscular patterning.

How do I know I am using the services of a Registered Massage Therapist?

All Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) have photo ID cards, issued by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, showing the Therapist's registration number. All clients of massage therapy services have the right to view this ID card in order to be assured that you are visiting a Registered Massage Therapist.

More simply, all members of the Registered Massage Therapists' Association of Ontario must be registered and in good standing with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. You may therefore look for this logo as your assurance that you are in the hands of a professional RMT.

How often should I have massage therapy?

Some people believe that one treatment is enough; however, massage therapy is most beneficial in acute conditions when used over a series of treatments and then followed up with maintenance or preventive treatments.

Through mutual discussion, your Massage Therapist can help you establish a program which fits your physical needs and lifestyle. Your Massage Therapist is most interested in your recovery and in the maintenance of your health. Any recommendation for further treatment is being made by a qualified health professional and is made with your utmost care in mind.

What happens on the first visit?

On the first visit you will complete a confidential health history as part of your assessment. This is important as the Massage Therapist needs to know if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications. The Massage Therapist will listen to your concerns, assess your individual needs as well as other factors that may be contributing to your injury (lifestyle, nutritional status, etc.). The Massage Therapist will then develop a treatment plan with you to ensure you receive appropriate treatment that will help you return, as much as possible, to your normal activities.

What are the benefits of massage therapy?

Add a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) to your health care team to help relieve:

Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and tendinitis

Stress relief and associated conditions

Headaches and migraines

Muscle and related conditions such as spasms, strains and sprains

Back pain

Repetitive strain injury

Circulatory and Respiratory problems

Pregnancy and labour discomfort

Post-injury and post surgical rehabilitation

And many other conditions.

Massage therapists participate in a Quality Assurance Programme that assists them in the maintenance of high professional standards and quality care of their clients.

Is massage therapy covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)?

No. Massage therapy treatments are not covered under OHIP, regardless of whether or not the treatments are required by a physician.

Most progressive extended health benefit plans do cover massage therapy treatments when provided by a Registered Massage Therapist and most do not require a physician's order to do so, although some do have that requirement. Contact your employer for more information.

Who pays for massage therapy?

Most progressive extended health insurance plans cover massage therapy treatments when provided by a Registered Massage Therapist. Most do not require a physician's order for treatments, although a few may still have this requirement. Most plans require that the covered individual pay for the treatment and submit the expense for reimbursement. Contact your employer for more information.

Most Massage Therapists will require payment upon the provision of services. As most are operating as an independent practitioner, they are not in a position to provide credit, that is, wait until payment is received under extended health plans, before receiving payment. Discuss this with your Massage Therapist before treatment.

How do I become a Massage Therapist?

In order to become a Massage Therapist in Ontario, an individual must complete a massage therapy program at an educational institution recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Upon graduation, the individual must become registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO), the regulatory body for the Massage Therapist Profession. This includes the completion of Certification Examinations.

Certification Examinations include two components, Computer Adaptive Multiple-Choice Examination and Objective Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE). Successful completion of both components of the certification examination is a non-exemptible requirement for all candidates seeking registration with the College.

For more information about the examination process or the CMTO, visit

Will my Massage Therapist keep my information private?

As regulated health professionals, Massage Therapists are required as a part of the standards set by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario to maintain the information you provide, both verbally and in written form, in the strictest of confidence.

In addition, Registered Massage Therapists are covered by Ontario's Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004. As a result, information that is collected about clients may be collected only with consent, may only be disclosed with consent or to your immediate health providers (circle of care), and must be secured and maintained. Any concerns about the requirements of this legislation or about whether a Registered Massage Therapist breached the requirements of the Act may be addressed to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

How can I pay for massage therapy?

Many people pay for massage therapy through an insurance plan. When paying through an insurance plan, some massage therapists will bill directly while others will require payment from the client who then submits the claim to their insurance provider. Ask your Massage Therapist prior to initiating treatment.

Some insurance plans may require a physician's referral prior to the start of massage therapy treatments while others allow treatment without referrals. Most plans have a maximum amount available.

The following is a summary of reimbursement options available:

Employer Sponsored Extended Health Insurance Plans, which may be administered by private companies

Consumer Purchased Extended Health Insurance Plans

Veterans Affairs Canada, in the case of war veterans

Private Automobile Insurance Companies, in the case of clients who are victims of motor vehicle accidents (under authority of the Auto Insurance Rate Stability Act, 1996)

The Work Place Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), in the case of workers injured on a work site (under the authority of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997)

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (for members of the RCMP)

Transportation to a massage therapy office may also be reimbursed to persons who qualify under the Ontario Disability Support Programme.

Most Massage Therapists are required to collect and remit the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and must advise clients when this is the case.

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Dover Bay Center

102-6330 Dover Road

Nanaimo, BC

V9V 1S4


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