What is ‘Essential’ Care?

Apr 20, 2021

As Regulated Health Care Providers, Registered Massage Therapists (and other RHCP’s) have been asked throughout this pandemic (and reminded more recently with our 3rd wave), to continue to risk assess our clients and consider whether or not their needs for massage therapy are ‘essential’ and if they should be coming in for their appointment. This means that the benefit of the proposed treatment needs to outweigh the risks for the client coming in for their appointment.

Let’s unpack this a little… we believe that defining ‘essential’ is not as simple as one might think!

Consider the client who is struggling with major anxiety or the client who lives alone and hasn’t had any physical contact or connection in a prolonged period of time.

Consider the client who sits all day at a makeshift desk and now at home finds they’re online more than ever. No major ‘physical’ issues but feels like they are living through this pandemic in a fog.

Consider the client who is a parent navigating working online (or not) and managing children in online schooling (or hoping they are safe in school) and this is their only time for self care.

Consider the increase in uncertainty limiting a clients comfort in finding a safe space for movement and is therefore feeling stiffness creep into their joints.

There are so many reasons for massage therapy to be essential for an individual. We need to expand our “what is considered essential” perspective to include mental and emotional wellness as well as physical. While we are not mental health practitioners, the effect of massage therapy for many individuals can be a tool to help manage the ongoing mental and emotional impact not only of this pandemic, but in our otherwise often overwhelming lives. A treatment room is a safe space where a client can simply have the room and care to take time for themselves.

There are many physical reasons for treatment now, with those at home office set ups wreaking havoc on our bodies (more to come on simple ways to stretch and move to help mitigate the issues that may develop from this). Forward head posture, forward rounded shoulders, tension at hips and back of legs, low back ache, compression through forearms and wrists and increased headaches to name a few. These are more identifiable, obvious reasons for massage therapy but aren’t any more essential than the other more invisible reasons.

It’s important to remember that our treatment room is a safe space. A connected but confidential space. A vault. We are here for you and your needs. You know if you need this kind of care. This is not a spa, you are not coming here for a body wrap or sugar rub, this is a therapeutic way for you to take care of your needs and we recognize that the mental and emotional experiences and your ability to navigate these will have an impact on your body. We are here for you. We are all resilient but we all need to be cared for to maintain and continue to build that resiliency.

Please remember we can offer you connections for mental health practitioners and we work with a variety of other health care professionals in our area who may also assist you in meeting your personal needs and goals for wellness.

While coming in to see us because you have benefits to use, is not an essential reason for treatment, and in this situation we may very well reschedule your care, we recognize that many of you are able to make the best decision about when/why you need care. If you are choosing to put your wellness in our hands in the midst of a pandemic (recognizing that we are doing everything we can to ensure you a safe environment to do so), we will endeavour to continue to meet your needs. If you just aren’t feeling it yet, and just don’t have that comfort level coming in or feel like you are managing well on your own, that’s all good! Please know you can continue to connect with us if you have any questions or concerns or need some help navigating a stretch or aren’t sure if we can help you with your needs, reach out! We are here for your whole wellness 🙂