Being a massage therapists in the medical care setting requires specific training in dealing with medical conditions. Your basic massage school training will usually give you an overview of pathology and various conditions that massage can help with. This will give you a great place to start, but this usually requires more training in specific areas such as assessment, pathology, anatomy/physiology along with how to use various techniques in each situation.
Massage Therapists in Medical Settings
Massage Therapy is used for rehabilitation and can help alleviate pain and it helps cut down recovery time for many health conditions such as carpal tunnel, muscle strains/sprains, and thoracic outlet syndrome and many more conditions. It helps reduce headache intensity and frequency. Massage can help in the recovery from surgery and it can also reduce the number of surgeries having to be done for such things as carpal tunnel and herniated discs.
Hospitals are hiring massage therapists to work in pain clinics, surgery recovery areas, labor and delivery, cancer care and many other areas.
The Veteran’s Administration now recognizes massage therapists and has a category for them so they can be hired by the VA. Some VA community health centers will also refer out to massage therapists and the VA health insurance is paying for some massage sessions that are medically necessary.
Health Insurance Coverage.
More and more health insurance plans are covering massage therapy. Some Medicare Advantage plans are covering massage therapy.
In WA State and Florida there are actually laws that make it so health insurance companies must cover massage. WA State has had this since 1993, when the insurance commissioner at the time created something called the “Every Category Law”.
“WAC 284-170-270 Every category of health care providers.
(1) Issuers must not exclude any category of providers licensed by the state of Washington who provide health care services or care within the scope of their practice for services covered as essential health benefits, as defined in WAC 284-43-5640 and 284-43-5642 and RCW 48.43.715, for individual and small group plans; and as covered by the basic health plan, as defined in RCW 48.43.005(4), for plans other than individual and small group.For individual and small group plans, the issuer must not exclude a category of provider who is licensed to provide services for a covered condition, and is acting within the scope of practice, unless such services would not meet the issuer’s standards pursuant to RCW 48.43.045 (1)(a).
The proposed 2022 CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids calls for the inclusion of massage therapy in healthcare.Open to comments.Read the documents and comment. https://www.regulations.gov/docket/CDC-2022-0024/document The draft states that “medications should ideally be combined with nonpharmacologic therapy to provide greater benefits to patients in improving pain and function” and that multimodal therapies and multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation-combining approaches can reduce long-term pain and disability.
For massage therapy to be covered by health insurance, the state must recognize massage therapists as Healthcare providers and license them in that category. Currently there are : AL, AK, AZ, CO, FL, GA, IL, MD, MI, MO, NM, NY, NC, OH, OR, TN, VA, WA, WI. (I am trying to keep a running list of states here.)
Getting Massage Covered by Health Insurance and Medicare
WA State massage therapists have been able to become providers with health insurance carriers since about 1999, when it became law after a long legal battle. Other states could be following in WA State massage therapists footsteps in making it a law. The law came about here in WA by just having an insurance commissioner who advocated for the massage profession and having a few leaders from AMTA-WA and the AMTA-WA Lobbyist who kept following the law to ensure it is kept as law.
There are many things you can do to make this happen in your state. Learn more about getting massage covered by health insurance.