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Scope of Practice

The Massage Therapists Regulation sets the scope of practice for registered massage therapists in BC.

“Scope of practice” refers to the activities that RMTs are educated and authorized to perform, which is established through the legislated definition of “massage therapy” in section 1 of the Massage Therapists Regulation:

“massage therapy” means the health profession in which a person provides, for the purposes of developing, maintaining, rehabilitating or augmenting physical function, or relieving pain or promoting health, the services of

a. assessment of soft tissue and joints of the body, and

b. treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction, injury, pain and disorders of soft tissue and joints of the body by manipulation, mobilization and other manual methods.

The Massage Therapists Regulation also sets out a specific list of services that RMTs are not allowed to perform. RMTs may not:

  1. prescribe or administer drugs or anaesthetics,
  2. treat a recent fracture of a bone,
  3. apply any form of medical electricity, or
  4. move a joint of the spine beyond the limits the body can voluntarily achieve using a high velocity, low amplitude thrust.

The College issues Notices to the Profession about scope of practice. It is important for all registrants to be aware of and comply with Notices to the Profession.

The following activities are not within the scope of practice for RMTs:

  • Shockwave therapy
  • Induction of labour
  • Internal pelvic floor work
  • Group exercise
  • Forms of light therapy, including low level laser therapy or low intensity laser therapy
  • Psychological counselling or talk therapy
  • Reiki
  • Energy-based modalities
  • Cupping
  • Ashiatsu, Thai-Mashiatsu/Mashing, Ki-Hara, and other techniques or modalities that involve the use of the practitioner’s feet to apply pressure to a patient’s body
  • Treatment of animals
  • Use of cannabis, cannabis oil, and CBD in treatment
  • Aromatherapy
  • Acupuncture and dry needling
  • Use of an “activator”
  • Nutritional advice (including supplements)
  • Essential oils

This is not an exhaustive list of activities that are outside the scope of practice for RMTs. These examples are provided to help guide RMTs and the public.

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