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CMTBC issues Notice to the Profession: Cupping is not within RMTs’ scope of practice

CMTBC has issued a Notice to the Profession advising registrants that the use of cupping in any of its forms does not fall within RMTs’ scope of practice for massage therapy.

As outlined in the notice, effective immediately, registrants who currently provide and bill for cupping as part of the provision of massage therapy services are advised to stop doing so.

CMTBC also advises registrants to amend their advertising materials and marketing activities if they contravene Part F.1 of the Bylaws. The College acknowledges that it is not possible to correct all advertising and marketing activities instantaneously. For this reason, Part F.1 of the Bylaws will be enforced in relation to cupping from February 1, 2021 onward. Any cases of registrants found to be contravening Part F.1 of the Bylaws in relation to cupping will be forwarded to the Inquiry Committee, which may initiate an investigation into a registrant’s contravention of the Bylaws.

Why has CMTBC issued a Notice to the Profession on cupping?

Cupping has always been outside of RMTs’ scope of practice in BC as outlined in the Massage Therapists Regulation, which defines what constitutes massage therapy.

CMTBC has been aware of RMTs introducing cupping to their practice, and including the service in their advertising and marketing activities. The College is issuing the Notice to the Profession to definitively state and clarify that cupping is not within the scope of practice of massage therapy. 

The Notice also informs RMTs who have transferred their practice from other regulated provinces – Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island – that health profession legislation in BC, such as the Massage Therapists Regulation, is different from legislation in other regulated jurisdictions. BC legislation does not include cupping in RMTs’ scope of practice.

How do RMTs find out which activities are outside the scope of practice for BC RMTs?

Is there a way to still provide cupping services in BC?

Registrants may still provide services – such as cupping – that fall outside the scope of practice of an RMT if they do so in a way that does not identify them as RMTs or suggests that they are relying on their RMT status. Also, RMTs are not permitted to bill for services that fall outside of RMTs’ scope of practice as massage therapy. For more information, see the Notice to the Profession on cupping.

If you have any questions, please contact CMTBC’s Practice Advisor at 604.736.3404 (ext. 301) or at [email protected].

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