Non-registered vs registered massage Vancouver: what’s the difference?

Non-registered vs registered massage Vancouver: what’s the difference?

Non-registered vs registered massage in Vancouver

What exactly is the difference between booking a registered massage in Vancouver and booking a massage appointment with someone who isn’t registered? This is a question I get asked regularly, and while this list is not exhaustive, it should help you understand some of the key differences between someone who provides registered massage therapy and someone who does not.

1. Education

Massage Therapy in Vancouver is a profession regulated by the CMTBC – College of Massage Therapists of BC. They ensure high standards of education and ethics are met by all RMTs. In the words of the CMTBC, “We set standards of professional practice for registered massage therapists and help RMTs deliver safe, ethical and effective care.” To become a registered massage therapist in BC, you must complete a 2-year program (2500 hours of hands-on education) that includes training in not only massage therapy techniques, but also health sciences, clinical sciences, hydrotherapy, exercise, and ethics. This gives the RMT the skills and ability to do accurate assessments, provide differential diagnosis for
musculoskeletal and soft tissue conditions and the understanding of when and how to properly refer to other health care professionals. They are also required to be certified in standard First Aid Level C and CPR and pass a background check. Alternately, body workers or those providing massage in Vancouver who are not registered, are not regulated by a governing body, and are not required to complete the same degree of
training. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some amazing massages from individuals who were not registered. You don’t have to be registered to have beneficial effects on a client’s nervous system and sense of well-being. For this post, though, education is the primary difference
between providing massage therapy and body work or non-registered massage (more on that later).

2. Reserved Titles

The following titles are reserved for RMTs and protected by law in BC:
– Registered Massage Therapist
– Massage Therapist
– Registered Massage Practitioner
– Massage Practitioner
This means that any of the titles listed above can only be used in BC if the education outlined above has been completed. To comply with these rules, you may see some variation of titles for those who are not registered, such as ‘body worker’.

3. Insurance

As many of you probably know, massage therapy visits in Vancouver can be billed to MSP and private insurance. While they do not always cover the full cost of treatment, they will generally cover a significant portion (depending on the plan). Non-registered massage, on the other
hand, is not covered through insurance. This is because RMT’s are considered health care professionals that are regulated by a governing board. This ensures accountability and consistency of treatment. I hope this information has been helpful in determining the differences between those who provide registered massage in Vancouver and those who provide massage under a non-registered title.

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