To: The President, College of Massage
Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC)
From:Albert Schatz, Ph.D., Editor
This is a follow-up of my previous letter about CMTBC's July 6, 2000, Submission.1 I hope you will reply to my questions about this Submission, and give me permission to publish your reply in the Massage Law Newsletter
The title of this Submission is, "Further Commentary on the Risk of Harm Associated with the Practice of Massage Therapy. A Supplemental Response to the Health Professions Council's February 1999 Preliminary Report on the Massage Therapists Scope of Practice." Note that the title of this refers specifically to "...the Risk of Harm Associated with the Practice of Massage Therapy."
Rolfing is NOT Massage Therapy
Reference 26 in CMTBC's Submission is: Kerr, H.D. Ureteral stent displacementassociated with deep massage. WMJ (Wisconsin Medical Journal) 96:57-58. 1997.
The title of Kerr's article is misleading because the harm was not associated with massage, which the title implies. The article clearly states that the patient was treated by a certified Rolfer, not by a Massage Therapist. The title should therefore have been "Ureteral stent displacement associated with Rolfing."
Kerr's article refers to "Rolfing" thrice. It also refers to "Rolfing theory," and to the practitioner (who allegedly caused the harm) as "a certified Rolfer." It lists "massage" and "rolfing" (with a small "r") as "Key terms." This is equivalent to writing "feldenkrais and tragerwork.
Despite these references to Rolfing, Kerr states that the injury occurred "in conjunction with a therapeutic massage."It is therefore clear that he considers Rolfing "a therapeutic massage." Perhaps because Kerr is a physician, he does not know that Rolfing is not Massage Therapy.
Wisconsin does NOT regulate Rolfers
Kerr is associated with the Emergency Department, Columbia Hospital, Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We therefore assume the harm which he reported occurred in Wisconsin.
Although Kerr's report of harm was associated with Rolfing in Wisconsin, this state does not have a practice act which regulates Rolfers. Instead, it has a title protection act which restricts the use of the two titles "Massage Therapist" and "Bodyworker". Rolfers are therefore not subject to regulation in Wisconsin unless they use the restricted titles.
Why should British Columbia regulate Rolfers when Wisconsin does NOT?
Are health care professions concerned in British Columbia about Rolfers?
Does the British Columbia Medical Association consider Rolfing a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare?
Does the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia consider Rolfing a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare?
Does the British Columbia College of Chiropractors consider Rolfing a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare?
Does the College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia consider Rolfing a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare?
Has anybody at CMTBC
read Kerr's article?
If so, has CMTBC notified the Health Professions Council that Kerr's report refers to Rolfing, not to Massage Therapy? If not, why not?
Why did CMTBC include a report on harm, indisputably associated with Rolfing, in its Submission which is a "Further Commentary on the Risk of Harm Associated with the Practice of Massage Therapy?" The paragraph, in CMTBC's July 6, 2000, Submission, which has the reference to Kerr's report on harm (associated with Rolfing) refers to massage, not Rolfing.
CMTBC's Submission includes references to two other articles on harm allegedly associated with massage. Has anybody at CMTBC read these articles? Does CMTBC know whether these articles on harm involved Massage Therapists? If so, were they certified, registered, or licensed in the states where they worked? And how many years of experience did they have? Has CMTBC submitted this information to the Health Professions Council? If not, why not?
Questions about Rolfing
1. "BC [British Columbia} is one of the few places in the world where society members of those trained in Rolfing cannot apply for massage therapy certification."2 Please expalin why.
2. Do Certified Rolfers in British Columbia consider that what they do is Massage Therapy? Do they consider themselves Massage Therapists?
3. Does CMTBC include Rolfing in its definition of Massage Therapy? If so, why?
4. How much training for Rolfing in included in the training which CMTBC requires for Massage Therapy?
5. How many Registered Massage Therapists in British Columbia do Rolfing?
6. Are Registered Massage Therapists in British Columbia more qualified to do Rolfing than Certified Rolfers are?
7. What is the epidemiological incidence of the harm that was caused by Rolfers in British Columbia in 1999? In other words, how many people have been harmed per 1,000 or 10,000 Rolfings in 1999? I pointed out the importance of presenting this kind of epidemiological evidence of harm in my previous report1 about CMTBC's July 6, 2000. Submission.
To determine the epidemiological incidence of harm caused by Rolfers, and how significant that is, one needs to answer these questions:
1 . How many certified Rolfers were practicing in British Columbia in 1999?
2. Approximately how many people did they Rolf in British Columbia in 1999?
3. What was the total estimated number of Rolfings they did in British Columbia in 1999?
4. How many cases of well-documented harm hwere caused by Rolfers in British Columbia in 1999?
5. What was the nature of those injuries, and how serious were they?
6. How serious a threat do Rolfers pose to the public health, safety, and welfare in British Columbia ?
7. How would requiring all Rolfers in British Columbia to become Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) benefit the public in British Columbia?
$$$$ $$$$ $$$$
How would requiring all Rolfers in British Columbia to become Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) benefit accredited massage schools and Registered Massage Therapists?
1. If all Rolfers in British Columbia become Registered Massage Therapists, how much money would massage schools in British Columbia make?
2. If all Rolfers in British Columbia are prohibited from doing Rolfing and do not become RMTs, how financially advantageous would that be for RMTs in British Columbia?
1, Schatz, A. The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC) has not provided acceptable evidence that non-registered practitioners are any more of a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare in British Columbia than massage therapists are in the U.S. Massage Law Newsletter. 14(3):1-2. 2000.
2. Walsch, Kelle. British Columbia's battle of the Bodyworkers. Animosity grows toward BC Massage College as legislative changes to massage regulation are proposed.. Massage Magazine. pages 117-124. November/December 1998
cc: Lincoln Lau
Mary McCrea, David MAcAulay, Irvine Epstein at the Health Professions Council