Many RMTs have asked CMTBC for advice as to whether they should continue to practice in light of COVID-19. The College does not have the legal authority to mandate practice closures or direct RMTs to cease practice. We continue to follow public health principles and guidance provided by BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry to inform our advice to registrants and the public.
To date, our advice has been that registrants and clinic owners should do their own risk assessment and determine what is best for individuals, patients and staff.
Today, in light of numerous developments of March 16 and 17, CMTBC now strongly recommends that registered massage therapists who are able to do so suspend practice for a two-week period, effective immediately, and re-evaluate the situation at the end of that period.
While there is no question that massage therapy is a highly beneficial health care modality, it is not a primary or essential health care service. This is an important consideration at this time, when resources are being repurposed and prepared for delivery of extended emergency services.
Whether the benefits of massage therapy treatment outweigh the current risks of providing that treatment is still a matter for the judgment of the individual RMT, informed by the overriding imperative to act in the best interests of your patients at all times. At the current time, CMTBC’s view is that in most cases the risks of providing or receiving treatment (for both the patient and for the therapist) will likely outweigh the benefits.
The College recognizes that decisions being made with respect to COVID-19 come with consequences: personal, financial and ethical. Our recommendation to suspend practice is not made lightly, and we recognize that it may create serious financial hardship for some. Our understanding, based on today’s announcements, is that both the provincial and federal governments are coordinating on numerous issues, including financial relief measures that may be of assistance. More news can be expected in the coming days.
CMTBC will continue to share updates and to make information available on our website’s dedicated COVID-19 Information page. We will also respond to communications from RMTs as best we can, though we appreciate your patience as the volume of those communications continues to increase.
Registrar and CEO, CMTBC