Fascinating article that examines massage therapy and professional status and interprofessional collaboration. Written by Cathy Fournier (Department of Health Studies, University of Toronto,
, Canada; Department of Psychiatry, Wilson Centre for Research in Medical Education, University of Toronto,
, Canada), Scott Reeves ( Director, Center for Innovation in Interprofessional Healthcare Education,University of California, San Francisco).
Massage therapy is one of the fastest growing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities in North America. Massage therapy has been regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) in Ontario, Canada since 1994. The RHPA governs physicians, nurses and midwives, among other health care professionals. There
is a growing body of evidence for the efficacy of massage therapy for a number of conditions considered a burden for patients and the health care system, such as musculoskeletal
pain, discomforts of cancer treatment, depression and anxiety (Moyer, Rounds, & Hannum, 2004; Sturgeon, Wetta-Hall, Hart, Good, & Dakhil, 2009). Patient/public demand has contributed to CAM modalities, including massage therapy, being made available to patients on a fee for service basis within hospital and other medical settings (e.g. Soklaridis, Kelner, Love, & Cassidy, 2009). Despite the developing evidence for the role of massage therapy in health care and patient/public demand for this service, it remains on the periphery of mainstream health care. The peripheral role of massage therapy is apparent by questions about its legitimacy, and its absence in discussions of interprofessional collaboration, in health care. While regulation is commonly associated with a move towards professionalization and improvements in the status of health care professionals (Finch, 2009), these issues in relation to massage therapy continue to be a challenge. A small number of studies have recently examined CAM in relation to interprofessional collaboration, yet massage therapy was not the main focus (Gaboury, Bujold, Boon, & Moher, 2009; Soklaridis et al., 2009). The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of the professionalization
and status of massage therapists, and the implications for interprofessional collaboration.
For more information, please see the Journal of Interprofessional Care January 2012, Vol. 26, No. 1 , Pages 71-72.