What is the Massage Therapy Association?
In 1989 the Massage Therapy Association of South Africa (MTA) was founded to work toward professional recognition of Therapeutic Massage Therapy. MTA is a formally constituted non-profit professional association acting on behalf of registered Therapeutic Massage Therapists (TMT’s). The statutory council under which the profession is registered with is the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA).
What is the function of the Massage Therapy Association?
The association ensures the competency and quality of care provided by TMTs through a Code of Ethics, Code of Practice and a Code of Conduct. These parameters are established to enhance the status and standing of the profession being accepted as a health profession by the health community and the public.
The MTA represents the interests of the registered Therapeutic Massage Therapist as a profession and indirectly protects the public through actively setting and maintaining the standard of practice (*AHPCSA protects the public by setting guidelines, MTA is the voice of the profession and the Therapists). MTA educates both the therapists and the public about the status and standing of the registered therapist in providing safe and effective treatment within the bounds of the scope of practice that regulates the Therapeutic Massage Therapy profession.
MTA provides professional support to practising therapists, through continued professional development (CPD) as well as professional advice. MTA formally liaises with the AHPCSA to ensure that its members receive fair representation. MTA engages regularly with other health professions to strengthen inter-disciplinary collaboration and referral ties by promoting the roles of Therapeutic Massage Therapy as a health profession within the broader health community.
MTA is actively involved in establishing the requirements for education and training for Therapeutic Massage Therapists. MTA monitors and continually engages in discussion relating to the minimum requirements for registration with the AHPCSA to ensure that South Africa sets the standard for best practice in the profession, as the first country to bestow statutory recognition status on the profession!
What is Therapeutic Massage Therapy (TMT)?
Therapeutic Massage Therapy is defined as the mobilisation of soft tissue (such as muscle, fascia, circulation and lymphatics) to restore normal systemic, biomechanical and functional use. It can be used to assist in the treatment of most musculo-skeletal and associated problems, and regular Therapeutic Massage Therapy results in improved circulatory, lymphatic and neurological functioning.
Therapeutic Massage can be stimulating or soothing depending on the technique, depth and speed. Carried out by a Registered Therapist, Therapeutic Massage Therapy is both safe and effective and helps to create balance and harmony from within. The other meaning of a therapeutic massage is that both the patient and practitioner have a shared goal of achieving structural changes within the body, generally through a series of regular massages. Using the label of therapeutic massage is a way to indicate that the purpose of the massage is meant to offer health benefits. Given the high levels of stress under which many people live, Therapeutic Massage Therapy is not only a highly beneficial therapy, but also one of the healthiest options for improving one’s quality of life.
What are the health benefits of Therapeutic Massage Therapy?
The benefits of Therapeutic Massage Therapy are profound and are becoming more appealing and recognised as the world around us becomes more stressed, aggressive and anxiety ridden. Many companies in South Africa are beginning to adopt Therapeutic Massage Therapy in their own organisations and are actively encouraging their employees to have ongoing treatments.
Therapeutic Massage Therapy could be a relevant choice of health care in the following areas:
- Health maintenance and/or health promotion: Promotes general tissue health and encourages lifestyle and general health awareness
- Stress management: Helps relieve associated muscular tension and encourages general relaxation
- Post-operative care: Helps reduce recovery period and speeds up elimination of anaesthetic, as well as reducing pain and stiffness associated with bedrest
- Emotional and/or psychological disorders: Releases endorphins that help to uplift and reduce depression
- Terminal illness: Helps reduce pain and discomfort associated with long-term bedrest as well as providing support and reducing the effects of emotional stress for the patient as well as the family
- Chronic pain: Helps break the ‘pain spasm’ cycle whilst reducing associated muscle tightness
- Care of the disabled: Provides emotional support as well as assisting in the maintenance of general tissue health
- Pre and/or post-event sports participation: Improves performance and recovery and reduces the likelihood of serious injury
- Pre and/ or post-pregnancy: Alleviates physical discomfort associated with the changes the mother is experiencing in her muscular skeletal system that may be producing pain and improving lymphatic flow to prevent or treat excessive fluid retention.
Did you know that there is Medical Aid reimbursement for TMT?
As of January 2017, Discovery Health Medical Aid has approved therapeutic massage therapy for reimbursement and will be paid out of theirMedical Savings Account.
MTA is constantly working on adding more medical aid schemes to this list. This will aid in making therapeutic massage therapy accessible to patients who will benefit from regular treatments.
Choosing a Therapeutic Massage Therapist
It is vitally important that the Therapeutic Massage Therapist that you choose to see is registered with the AHPCSA. This will ensure that they are properly trained and fully qualified to carry out a therapeutic treatment.
Why Choose a Registered Massage Therapist?
Using a Registered Therapeutic Massage Therapist, is in your best interest! You can be assured that a Therapist registered with the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPCSA) is:
- Fully qualified, with a two-year diploma programmeat an AHPCSA accredited school.
- Can adapt treatments to individual patient’s needs and circumstances to facilitate the best healing strategy possible.
- Must participate in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to keep up-to-date with changes within health care and/ or profession and to improve skills.
- Is accountable to theAHPCSA through the complaints and discipline processes, in the event that the services they provide do not meet the standards of practice.
- Has a practice number which allows patients to claim from medical aids reimbursing for Therapeutic Massage Therapy.
- A recognised health profession allowing TMTs to work with and refer to AHPCSA and HPCSA professionals, e.g. Chiropractor or Homeopath.
- Patients can claim from Discovery Health and be reimbursed for treatments.