Learn About Your Rights
What is Massage Therapy?
The Massage Therapy Act, 1991, the provincial legislation for Massage Therapy in Ontario, defines the practice of Massage Therapy as “the assessment of the soft tissue and joints of the body and the treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissue and joints by manipulation to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain.” This is referred to as the “Scope of Practice.”
Massage Therapy treatment has a therapeutic effect on the body, general health and overall well-being. Massage Therapy may be used to maintain and improve physical health and can also ease the effects of physical pain.
CMTO exists to protect the public interest, which means our first and foremost responsibility is to clients of Massage Therapists (also known as Registered Massage Therapists, RMTs or MTs) and the general public.
Your Rights as a Client
As a client seeking Massage Therapy treatment, you have the right to:
Access safe, ethical and confidential care.
Be fully informed about the suggested treatment plan, including any risks and benefits associated with the treatment.
Ask questions or raise concerns with your RMT about the recommended care.
Bring a person along with you to the appointment while you are being assessed or treated.
Decide how much clothing to remove, what body parts get worked on during the treatment and the amount of pressure that is comfortable for you.
Ask to see your health record or request your health record be transferred to another health professional any time, for any reason.
Your Personal Health Information – Privacy and Confidentiality
By law, regulated healthcare professionals have obligations to keep your personal information secure and confidential. During your Massage Therapy appointment, you will be asked for your health history; it is important to share this information and be honest with your RMT. Your RMT needs to know about any conditions you have and any medications you are on, so they understand how they may impact your treatment. They also use this information to tailor the treatment to meet your individual needs. This information is confidential and cannot be shared without your consent.
Informed Consent: Gives You Control Over Your Care
All regulated healthcare professionals, including RMTs, must obtain informed consent prior to performing any assessment or treatment on you, it is a requirement. Informed consent is a process that gives you, the client, the ability to make decisions about your healthcare. During your first visit, you can expect your RMT to cover the following six items:
Summarize the treatment;
Explain why you need the treatment;
Tell you the benefits of the treatment;
Communicate any potential risks arising from the treatment;
Suggest other courses of action; and
Describe the likely consequence(s) of not having the treatment.
After a discussion with your RMT, you should feel confident and comfortable with the proposed treatment plan. You should always feel empowered to ask questions and raise any concerns you may have before, during or after your Massage Therapy treatment.
Informed consent should feel like a process – it should not be just about completing a form. Before starting Massage Therapy treatment, you will need to understand why you need the treatment and then provide consent for your RMT to proceed. You may be asked to provide consent orally (saying yes) or in writing (signing a form). As the client, you can choose to stop the treatment, or request changes to your treatment plan at any time, for any reason.
Written Consent for Treatment of Sensitive Areas
If you visit your RMT for treatment of a sensitive area, such as your breast, buttocks, upper inner thigh or gluteal region, or after initial assessment your RMT determines that treatment of a sensitive area is recommended, your RMT will initiate a discussion of the benefits, risks and alternatives to treatment of the sensitive area. If you want to proceed with treatment of a sensitive area, ensure you have gone over the informed consent process with your RMT and signed a written consent form prior to starting the treatment. You have the right to ask questions and understand the treatment plan before agreeing to the treatment. Remember, you can choose to stop the treatment, or request changes to your treatment plan at any time, for any reason.