In recent news, to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, Former U.S. President Barack Obama gave a speech in South Africa, during which he poignantly touched on a lot of issues that modern societies are facing today. Notably, he discussed the importance of the truth. “You have to believe in facts”, he said, as he discussed North America’s tendency to blindly believe “fake news” which is hurled at us left, right, and centre from misguided news stations and carefully fabricated social media posts.
Facts are important, and the driver of a fact is proof, and hard evidence to back up someone’s claims. In this context, the claim that is in question is one’s qualifications when it comes to calling oneself a Massage Therapist. This is where “protection of title” comes into play.
By calling myself a Registered Massage Therapist, my clients know that I am being governed by a regulatory body (The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario) and that I have met the massage therapy entry to practice requirements. Furthermore, throughout the time that I have spent practicing massage therapy I have maintained accountability to the CMTO. The title of RMT gives my clients the peace of mind and assurance that I am qualified to help them with their massage needs and that I am following a set of rules and regulations put in place by a professional organization. Protected titles help the public identify individuals as healthcare professionals that are part of a regulatory body such as the CMTO.
So why does this matter? It is so highly important for you as a consumer of healthcare to understand what protected titles are; not just the ones pertaining to practicing massage, but the ones pertaining to any sector of healthcare that you might be involved with in your life. This is because there are a lot of very common titles that people assign themselves that are not protected and knowing the difference can greatly impact the quality of care that you receive.
For instance, if you were struggling with mental health problems, you might think to seek out a therapist or a counsellor, with whom you could discuss your issues and try to resolve or manage them in a healthy way. You might think to seek out a therapist or a counsellor, until you realize that these are not legally protected titles. That means that anyone can call themselves a therapist or a counsellor, regardless of their qualifications, skill or education. If you are struggling with mental health problems, when you seek help, always ask for your healthcare providers credentials to ensure that they are operating under a protected title like clinical psychologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or psychological associate.
In the context of my work, and in the realm of massage, a very common unprotected title is “masseuse” or the male equivalent which is “masseur”. Similarly to a counsellor, anyone can call themselves a masseuse or a masseur (but don’t get any ideas!), as the definitions of these are “a person who practices massage”. A masseuse can give you a massage to relax you, but if you are seeking the benefits of massage therapy, you should definitely see someone who is qualified, educated, regulated and who will provide you with a high standard of care. My training, my education, and my following of the rules and regulations set out by the CMTO will ensure that you are well cared for in my hands. As Obama said, “you have to believe in facts”!