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This article was published 27/2/2015 (2350 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Unregulated massage therapy is a touchy subject but the Massage Therapy Association of Manitoba (MTAM) has issued a caution that such a course is being sold in Manitoba’s Westman area.
A 50-hour program set for Portage la Prairie in March and May in Brandon is does not meet Manitoba standards and is being run by a woman from B.C. who is not registered in either province to provide such services.
"We get members of the public who take courses like these and then realize they can’t write an insurance receipt (because they can’t be registered in Manitoba)," said Sheila Molloy, the MTAM executive director.
"It’s a matter of information so they know what they’re getting themselves into if they do a course like this and they shouldn’t expect they should be massage therapists after this."
She said the program is a concern to MTAM because the advertising includes misleading claims that participants in the course could "change careers" and "start your own business (tax benefits) and be your own boss."
"A 50-hour course is not even close to enough to make massage therapy a career," Molloy said, noting that certified massage therapists in Canada require a minumum 2,200-hour education program from a recognized educational institute regardless of whether they work in a spa, clinic, hospital or private home business.
In Manitoba, certified massage therapists have completed one of Manitoba’s four recognized massage therapy diploma programs. Those programs, which take two years to complete, include the Massage Therapy College of Manitoba, Robertson College, Wellington College of Remedial Massage Therapies Inc. and Hua Xia Acupuncture and Herb College.
Worse, Molloy said, is that MTAM receives an average of 10 complaints per year from people who have suffered injuries from being treated by people who are not certified MTAM members.
"We (MTAM) can’t do anything about this, unfortunately. All we can do is send them to consumer protection," Molloy said. "Right now, we don’t have any recourse, except to put out advisories and make sure the public is aware that there might be people practicing that don’t have full education."
Clients of unregistered massage therapists trying to make claims under their insurance providers have the claims denied. Third party insurers such as Blue Cross, Great West Life and Manulife will only accept claims for services from massage therapists with the required standard of education.
Molloy said there’s been "a couple of different organizations" who have operated unrecognized courses in Manitoba in the past.
In B.C., executive director Brenda Locke said the woman running the Westman courses is not one of the 3,300 members of the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of British Columbia. Though the woman operates a business in Vancouver offering massage therapy services, Locke said she is classified as a "body worker" and could not bill for insurance purposes.
"This is very proactive of the Massage Therapy Association of Manitoba to issue this caution," Locke said in a telephone interview.
In Manitoba, Molloy said MTAM has 920 registered massage therapists who can be found by going to http://www.mtam.mb.ca/find-a-massage-therapist.asp.