Massage Therapists are educated and trained to accurately assess and provide treatment with techniques that include massage, manual therapy, joint mobilization, hydrotherapy and rehabilitative exercises (which may include stretching and strengthening, and patient education).
Education involves comprehensive studies in health sciences, including Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology, Pathology, Ethics, Physical Assessment, and Treatments . A combination of theoretical and practical education enables the Massage Therapist to provide an optimum treatment without compromising underlying conditions (such as diabetes, pregnancy or high blood pressure).
Upon completion of a 2200-3000 hour program, students must then pass a licensing (competency) exam in order to become a massage therapist recognized by the member associations of the national body, the regulatory Colleges of Massage Therapy, the WSCC, the RCMP, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Post-graduate education is mandatory for massage therapists to maintain their territorial or provincial license to practice.
Outside of regulated provinces (Ontario, British Columbia, and Newfoundland), these exams are not mandatory and the term "Massage Therapist" is not protected. This means that your only assurance that a massage therapist is qualified to the national standard is their membership in an association affiliated with the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance (including the NWTMTA) or their registration with a regulatory college.