Complementary Modalities that Registered Massage Therapists May Use

Massage Therapy Treatment with Complementary Modalities

 What are “Complementary Modalities”?

Complementary modalities are other treatment methods, such as aromatherapy, Reiki, and meditation, which may work well with or enhance the massage therapy treatment plan.

Can Registered Massage Therapists in Ontario Use Complementary Modalities?

Yes, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) has implemented a policy allowing registered massage therapists to integrate complementary modalities into massage therapy treatment plans.

 List of Complementary Modalities for Massage Therapy:

Below are the complementary modalities that the CMTO considers to be outside the scope of practice for the profession, but which may be used as part of the treatment plan. Many of these complementary modalities are taught as part of the curriculum in accredited massage therapy programs at educational institutions in Ontario. Others may be offered as part of continuing education programs for the massage therapy profession, or separate programs for other professions.

  1. Alexander Technique
  2. Aromatherapy
  3. Feldenkrais
  4. Electrical therapy techniques including:
    1. IFC  
    2. TENS
    3. Therapeutic Ultrasound  
    4. Pulsed High Frequency
    5. Low Intensity Laser Therapy
  5. Guided Imagery
  6. Inhalation Therapy
  7. Kinesiology
  8. Meditation
  9. Pilates
  10. Reiki – First Degree Reiki only (which involves touching the client);

                  Note: Second Degree Reiki is delivered at a distance and is outside the scope of practice for Massage Therapists

  1. Therapeutic Touch
  2. Touch for Health
  3. Trager
  4. Yoga

How RMTs Should Use Complementary Modalities

In the course of providing massage therapy, a Registered Massage Therapist may incorporate a complementary modality into the treatment plan. Registered Massage Therapists can describe, and bill for, sessions as “massage therapy” when they include a complementary modality.

Any massage therapist in Ontario who does use a complementary modality as part of the massage therapy treatment plan for a patient/client, must still:

  1. Follow the Code of Ethics, the Standards of Practice, and the Regulations.
  2. Determine the appropriateness of the complementary modality;
  3. Ensure they have the knowledge, skill, and judgment to competently perform the modality;
  4. Perform an assessment of the client before providing the treatment;
  5. Explain to the client the anticipated effects, the potential benefits, and the potential risks of the proposed modality so the client can make an informed choice;
  6. Obtain valid consent before beginning treatment and the complementary modality; and
  7. Evaluate the ongoing status of the client and the effects of the complementary modality on the client’s condition and overall health.

 Complementary Modality Should Not be Offered as Stand-Alone Service

If you provide only the complementary modality without providing massage therapy, that is not the practice of massage therapy as defined by law. You are not allowed to describe, or bill for, these services as “registered massage therapy.” 

Complementary Modality Coverage by Client’s Medical Insurance

As stated above, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario has implemented a policy allowing RMT s to incorporate complementary modalities into massage therapy treatment plans.

Complementary modalities alone often are not covered by clients’ medical insurance plans. Clients will often have to pay out-of-pocket for complementary modalities when these are offered as a stand-alone service.

The clients’ medical massage therapy insurance will cover the treatment, only if the complimentary modalities listed above (such as Reiki level 1, Aromatherapy, Electrical Therapy techniques etc.) are used as part of the massage therapy treatment plan.

Professional Liability Insurance

If Registered Massage Therapists integrate any complementary modality into their massage therapy treatments, the RMTs need to protect themselves and their clients by making certain they have the right professional liability insurance. Complementary modalities may not be covered by a massage therapist’s professional liability insurance and it may be necessary to make arrangements for separate insurance coverage for these activities.