Dani Faucher, an RMT from London, Ontario, wants to give her patients back some control over their health care and their lives. By helping her patients discover what they can do despite their pain, rather than what they can’t do, they are able to have a more active role in their recovery.
“Imagine seeing someone’s eyes light up when they realize that the activity they’ve been missing may well be possible again, albeit a little differently sometimes,” Dani said. “Seeing relief from pain and helping people learn to cope with living with pain is awesome - that renewal of hope that life can be good again.”
In her four years as an RMT, Dani has been able to help many people cope with pain and return to their regular activities.
One memorable patient was a pre-teen girl who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a toddler, uses a wheelchair and experiences one-sided spasticity. Dani has been having weekly in-home sessions with this patient over the past six months and has seen significant changes. The patient is now choosing to use her arm instead of avoiding it, has increased her range of motion and function, and is slowly allowing Dani and others to touch her back and legs.
Seeing significant physical change in her patients is not the only reason that Dani knows massage therapy is an important part of health care. She also emphasizes the importance of one of the more well-known benefits of massage therapy – the ability to manage stress and relieve tension.
“Providing relief from the physical impacts of stress is a huge benefit to not only the patient, but to productivity in the workplace, and helping alleviate reliance on the hospital system due to stress-related comorbidities,” Dani said.
Although Dani has seen the demand for massage therapy increase over the course of her career, many are unaware of the full range of what RMTs can do. Many are unaware that RMTs could work on most parts of the body; some didn’t know that RMTs prescribed remedial exercise and did mobilizations of the joints rather than just massaging passively. Dani is passionate about educating people about all that massage therapy can do to help relieve pain, and she hopes that all Canadians are able to access massage therapy services when they need them.
“People need a choice in their health care options,” Dani said. “Many people like massage therapy as one of those choices because, at the very base of it all, it feels good.”
People across Canada are increasingly making the choice to add massage therapy to their health care routines, and massage therapists are increasingly integrated as part of health teams.
“If we work together with the patient’s goals always first and foremost, the outcome will be very positive,” Dani said.
Unfortunately, many people can’t access massage therapy care when they need. Dani has found that a major barrier is cost and wants to remove as many barriers as possible to make massage therapy more affordable and accessible. Massage therapists are one of the only health professions in Canada required to charge and remit tax, and Dani believes that if massage therapy were to become tax exempt, those using extended health benefits for massage therapy would be able to spread their claims a little further.
Dani has been asked many times why she charges patients HST, while their other health professionals do not. She feels that as RMTs already work closely with other health professionals and as part of health care teams, that massage therapy should be treated equally to other health care professions by becoming tax exempt.
“Removing the HST (GST in applicable provinces) will bring us in line with most other health professionals,” Dani said. “It’s removing confusion on the part of the public and helping cement massage therapy as a health profession, not a service.”
Dani believes that removing the HST from RMT services will allow more Canadians to benefit from massage therapy so that they can have the best quality of life.