Massage Therapy Demand Outweighs Supply
With COVID wreaking havoc on everyone’s mental health, it’s no wonder we are seeing a huge spike in stress-related pain conditions. Headaches, TMJ pain, neck and shoulder tightness, IBS, low back and hip pain…the list goes on. With everyone feeling the effects of extended health clinic closures and dealing with a demand that outweighs supply, it’s no wonder RMT waitlists are in the 3-6 month range. When you’re in chronic pain, these waitlists feel unacceptable. But how does it feel to our therapists who are helping you manage?
The COVID Toll
COVID has effected everyone and we are still feeling the aftermath of mandated clinic closures. Because massage therapy was not considered an “essential service” (ahem, why not?), RMT’s across the province were forced to shut down for 13-16 weeks on average. Most RMT’s are independent contractors and work for themselves. They aren’t considered employees and don’t usually pay out payroll and thus they didn’t qualify for most government benefits. If they were able to qualify for CERB it barely made a dent in their operating costs let alone their cost-of-living. Not only that, after having a job that allows you to talk to people every day and connect with them on a meaningful level, you’re forced into isolation which you abide by so that you can assure safety to your patients the second you’re given the green light to go back to work. Rest assured your friendly neighborhood RMT’s were feeling the COVID stress just the same as you. Though eager to get back to work, many were grateful for the opportunity to reassess their work-life balance.
When demand greatly outweighs supply, most healthcare providers start to experience guilt that they can’t possibly see enough patients in a day. They increase their schedule until little by little they are working an extra two hours a day or they throw in an extra day of the week, come in on weekends, just to deal with the back-log of people in pain who desperately need their help. The guilt, the over-working, the social isolation – eventually caregivers burnout and have to reduce their hours or take days off to cope.
It’s all about perspective. So we are choosing to look at the positives of the situation. One of those is the influx of RMT’s choosing to relocate to Powell River from cities across Canada. We were lucky enough to have a massage therapist join us from Toronto recently. When asked why he decided to venture to Powell River he indicated that working like a dog in the city just to make ends meet was hard enough, once the world shut down and the entertainment in the city was cancelled, the glitz and glam of city life faded and the beauty and appeal of an outdoor lifestyle began to call. We take this for granted, especially those of us lucky enough to be born and raised here. So let us take a moment to appreciate what we’ve got – trails, countless lakes and beaches, camping, mountain hiking, mountain biking, and hills galore. In addition, we have some pretty amazing massage therapists in this town who are doing their best to take care of you and take care of themselves.
Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Be kind. And any time you meet a health care provider that is new to town, Thank Them. Thank them for unburdening our small town system and easing the wait times, easing the caregiver burnout, and for taking a risk on us, on our town.
We thank you for your continued patronage.
Sincerely, your Suncoast RMT’s