Since the Ontario Board of Regents began regulating massage therapy in 1919, our profession has grown considerably. As we continue to define our place within the healthcare system, the need for credible massage therapy research also grows. Research is a powerful tool that can drive our profession forward through further exploration of the effects of massage therapy, ensuring both its safety and effectiveness and by helping to open a dialogue with other healthcare professionals. Research is supported by our regulatory College through the Massage Therapy Research Fund which seeks to “fund high quality research in the field of massage therapy to support evidence-based practice of massage therapy.” (www.cmto.com) With the need for more research also comes an increasing need for Massage Therapists to become research literate. It is important that we be able to locate information, understand it, properly evaluate it to determine its credibility and then apply this information to clinical practice.
Research literacy is one of the core competencies for Massage Therapists registered and practicing in the province of Ontario.
“Research literacy, the ability to critically evaluate research evidence for application in professional practice, is considered a core competency of Massage Therapists practicing in Ontario. Registrants of the College are strongly encouraged to develop their research literacy by staying informed about the latest research information related to the profession.
Some Massage Therapists in Ontario and across Canada are themselves actively engaged in high caliber Massage Therapy research, working as part of multidisciplinary teams in a variety of settings, including academic institutions.” (www.cmto.com)
The College has recently added multiple research pages to their website. (http://www.cmto.com/for-the-public/about-the-profession/research/introduction/) These pages provide both the public and registrants information about the Massage Therapy Research Fund, answer the question “what is evidence based practice?” and provide links to multiple sources of credible massage therapy research.
Massage Therapy Canada’s Summer Issue (2014) contains an excellent article written by Jennifer Bloch, RMT entitled Separating Fact from Fiction. In her article she discusses the importance of research literacy for Massage Therapists.
The following is an excerpt from Jennifer’s article:
“Many massage therapists push research literacy to the bottom of their list of selected continuing education units (CEUs) due to its complexity or a preference to pursue courses that enhance practical techniques or skills to drive in more business, such as marketing. Research literacy, at the very least, is an important part of upholding therapists’ commitment to ethics and professionalism. Great strides have been made in the last few years with respect to evidence-based practice in massage therapy and, more recently, research literacy has become a mandatory part of curricula for RMTs.
No one is expecting massage therapists to wear lab coats and evaluate the statistical significance of the results of their practice. The expectation for the research literacy of massage therapists is simply to: know where to find it, how to read it, who to engage, and how to ask the right questions to determine the study’s credibility. Another important expectation of massage therapists is to responsibly educate clients about the results the research identifies.”
Jennifer continues to discuss how being able to find, understand and apply research may help grow your practice, make a difference in the profession, and how professional ethics in research lead to responsible communication with our clients.
Please following the link for Jennifer’s entire article: