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Personal Health History: What it's for, Why it's needed

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

Recently, a client asked me, why do I need to fill out a health history form? Is it necessary? Great questions! Ones to which I think the answers are worth sharing. There are a few reasons we have health history forms as RMTs. The First is technical; it’s a requirement by the college of massage therapists of Ontario (our regulatory body) that we have some record of information pertaining to the health of all clients when we first treat them. This legal aspect is important for the protection of clients. It ensures that we, as Therapists, are accountable for providing the correct and best possible treatment to a client based on their current health situation. Massage Therapy is a regulated health profession in Ontario, and having a health history is one of our regulations. Again this is so that we as Therapists can be accountable to clients, and so that clients are protected. An example of how a health history form leads to the best possible treatment would be, for example, if a client had a heart condition and was taking a medication, (for instance warfarin) that thins the blood. That person would be more likely to bruise with deep pressure during a massage treatment, and it’s important that the Therapist be aware of that. Another example might be if a client has had a C-section and is having postpartum treatment. For comfort levels and based on the stage of recovery, having that information ahead of time allows the Therapist to make sure that the client is in the most comfortable position before beginning. There are many varied examples of this, but the point is that without the health history, I, as an RMT, just wouldn’t be able to give an informed, appropriate and essentially safe treatment. The other good and helpful reason to have a health history is that it allows us, as Therapists, to monitor your progress through the treatment process. Maybe someone has had a knee injury- we treat the injury several times, and we can see how far that person’s healing has come since the first treatment. Maybe you’ve heard the song; “we started from the bottom, now we’re here” :)) One other piece of information to cover is how Massage Therapists keep and protect the privacy of a client’s health history and any record of treatment. It is extremely important that your information be collected responsibly and that it only be disclosed to other individuals under appropriate circumstances. Your health information is protected by privacy legislation, PHIP, PIPEDA both when written, and electronically. It’s also the Massage Therapist’s legal responsibility to follow this legislation. Therapists are required to retain personal information for some time to ensure that we can answer any question you may have about the services provided and for our own accountability to the College of Massage Therapists (CMTO). We retain client files for 10 years, as required by the CMTO. Perhaps this is information you have always been curious about, and perhaps not, but hopefully it covers all the bases! If you have any further question please don’t hesitate to contact me at A Touch Of Magick Rahel Kay RMT, CR, CYI



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