Legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada: how does it affect massage therapy?

Since 2001, Canadians have been able to use marijuana for medical purposes with a prescription.

This summer, possibly as early as July 1, 2018 and probably by September, 2018, Canadians will also be able legally to buy marijuana for recreational (non-medical) use.

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What does this change for massage therapists, or massage clients?

Under current regulations, an RTM should not treat a client who can’t give true informed consent because of their use of medication or any type of substance.

Once marijuana is legal for recreational use, the same standards will apply, for the client’s protection.

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What is informed consent?

Already, the Standards of Practice for massage therapists in Ontario require RMTs to get informed consent to treatment from a client at each visit.

And according to the Health Care Consent Act, 1996, a client can only give informed consent if they have the mental capacity to do so. Some drugs (including prescription drugs) or substances may affect the client’s ability to give consent.

  • If the client seems unable to understand the possible risks and benefits of treatment or of not having treatment, or isn’t able to respond appropriately to questions, then for the client’s safety the massage therapist must assume that the client cannot give informed consent at this time and the therapist should not go ahead with the treatment.

A drug or substance can also impair the client’s ability to perceive pain and pressure levels accurately, or to tolerate and recover from treatment.

  • If the RMT believes that is the case, they should adjust their application of  assessment and treatment to protect the client.

For example, if you’ve taken a muscle relaxant or a pain medication an hour or two before your massage, you may not be able fully to feel the sensations in the area being treated, so your RMT will want to use a lighter touch and not work as deeply, to protect you from injury. Marijuana may affect a person in a similar way, so RMTs will exercise professional caution in treatment.

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Can I get a massage if I’ve taken a prescription or recreational substance?

Ontario massage therapy regulations say that an RMT should not treat a client who can’t give true informed consent because of the use of medication or any type of substance.

Also, the therapist should modify both assessment and treatment if the client’s awareness of pressure or pain may be diminished.

Once marijuana is legal for recreational use, the same standards will apply.

So it’s best to schedule your massage for a time when your pain perception and ability to give full consent to the treatment are at their most accurate.

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If you have questions, feel free to chat with your RMT at your next visit!

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Take a hike, low back pain!

Quadratus lumborum, a deep abdominal muscle that moves and stabilizes the torso, can contribute to low back pain.

Body Poets Massage Therapy

Muscle of the Month: Quadratus Lumborum – the hip hiker

Low back pain: we’ve all experienced it at least once in our lives. That nagging stiffness, inability to move, and dull ache can put the best of us in a bad mood, or worse, at home in bed. Low back pain can be cause by MANY factors. Muscle, joint, and fascial imbalances all tend to play a large role; one major muscle that can cause low back pain is the quadratus lumborum.

QL - Ottawa massage blogNo, it’s not a Harry Potter magic spell. The quadratus lumborum, or QL, is one of your low back muscles that is tucked very neatly between your hip and the last rib. With one on each side of the spine, the QL, especially when tight, can affect many areas of the body.

Actions: When one QL contracts: laterally flex torso, elevate hip (hip hike).  When both…

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Top Choice Awards 2018: Please vote for us!

We’ve been nominated by you, our clients, for the third year in a row as top massage clinic in Ottawa!

Many of you threw your support behind us two years ago and we were thrilled to be voted Ottawa’s Top Massage Therapist in 2016.

Vote Now

Voting has opened for the 2018 Top Choice Awards, and we hope we might have your vote as top massage clinic again this year!

Top Choice Award Nominee 2018

Thank you as always for your continued support and patronage,

The Body Poets Massage Therapy team

Gut Feelings – The benefits of abdominal massage

Overall fitness includes abdominal muscle and digestive health. Sarah Million, RMT explains why.

Body Poets Massage Therapy

By: Sarah Million, RMT

Sarah is a believer in whole body health. She treats everything from bellowing bellies, maddened muscles, and nervy nervous systems to help attain a body-wide wellness.


Would you let a stranger rub your belly?

What about a trained professional? In my role as a registered massage therapist I can ease muscle pain, mobilize joints, assist fluid flow, mobilise connective tissue, and yes, I am trained and qualified to provide abdominal massage.

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The Gluteals – a pain in the ……

The buttock muscles are powerhouses of movement in the body. Surprisingly, they can get painful from just sitting around, as well as from overwork. Three major buttock muscles, the gluteals, will benefit from massage care, stretching, and strengthening.

Body Poets Massage Therapy

Muscle of the month: The Gluteals

Gluteals, glutes, buttock, rear-end, hiney; these muscles have been given many names over the years, and I’m sure you can think of a few more!  But (pun intended), did you know you have three gluteal muscles on each side? The gluteals consist of the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. Each has its own specific actions and pain pattern, which helps your massage therapist differentiate which glute is the dysfunctional one.

Gluteus Maximus: The big Kahuna

Gluteus maximus - ottawa massage blog Gluteus maximus (cut) lies over top of all hip muscles

Actions – Extends, laterally rotates, abducts and adducts the hip (moves leg away from or toward the body)

Common pain culprit – Sitting for an extended period of time (underwork), or conversely, excessive hill or stair climbing (overwork)

The gluteus maximus is the largest of the glute muscles, as you can tell by its…

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Vote for us in the 2017 Top Choice Awards

Many of you threw your support behind us in 2016, and we were thrilled to be voted Ottawa’s Top Massage Therapist in 2016.

Voting has opened for the 2017 Top Choice Awards, and we hope we might have your vote as top massage clinic again this year!

Top Choice Award Nominee 2016

Thank you for your continued support and patronage,

The Body Poets Massage Therapy team