The concept of scope of practice is an important part of the current health legislation in both Canada and the US.
The provincial legislation for Massage Therapy in Ontario, defines the practice of Massage Therapy as “the assessment of soft tissue and joints of the body and the treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissue and joints by manipulation to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, or relieve pain.” (College of Massage Therapists of Ontario)
In a recently published article entitled, “Don’t Overstep Scope of Practice (Your Career Depends On It),” author and expert, Stephen A. Kreger, writes:
“Scope of practice could likely be the most important aspect of your career. Your clients might have no idea what you are fully trained to do, and what you are not trained in. This is why it is up to you to maintain the highest level of professionalism and work only within your legal scope of practice.”
He suggests that there is an almost immediate level of trust that most clients place in massage therapists, and a relinquishing of power that comes with that trust.
“I can’t count the number of times a client came in and one of the first things she asked was, ‘Can you crack my neck?’ Could I? Probably—but I always responded with the same answer: ‘I am not a chiropractor, and that’s not what I do,’” writes Kreger.
Although it’s within your boundaries as a massage therapist, you still need to take care in how you phrase what you say. You have to avoid presenting yourself as a medical authority. You must be mindful of what your scope of practice is at all times when practicing.
“If you ever need to remind yourself of your scope of practice, your first resource should be your state regulatory board for massage therapy,” writes Kreger.
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