RMT Massage vs Body Treatments: Which is Right For You?

RMT Massage in process

Did you know there’s a difference between an RMT (Registered Massage Therapist) massage and receiving body treatments? These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are slightly different practices. 

In this article, we’ll define RMT massage and bodywork and help you determine which is right for you. 

What is an RMT massage?

An RMT massage is a regulated profession in BC which uses manual therapy, joint mobilization, hydrotherapy, and rehabilitative exercises to help you find relief from pain, stress, and other conditions. While massage is generally recommended for more general relaxation, it can also support physical healing, including improving circulation. 

The top 7 benefits of RMT massages include: 

  1. Pain relief
  2. Reduction of stress and anxiety
  3. Better sleep quality
  4. Boosted immunity
  5. Less frequent headaches
  6. Improved flexibility
  7. Reduced swelling

Massage for stress relief

An RMT massage can help you “reboot” your mind so you’re better equipped for higher performance in your daily life. Stress relief massages can include:

  • Hot stone massage: An ancient healing massage that eases muscle tension and increases blood circulation. Promotes a stronger, overall relaxation and rejuvenation of your body.  
  • Pain relief massage: pain-relieving massage that usually targets your back, shoulders or neck due to pain from sitting at a desk, lower back pain, or stiffness that prevents you from exercising and leading the active lifestyle you desire. 

Massage for prenatal support

When you are trying to conceive, are pregnant, postpartum, or suffer from menstrual pain, an RMT can help:

  • Fertility massage: Stress is a common cause of unexplained infertility. Fertility massage can help you calm your mind and relieve stress so you can more easily get pregnant. It can also help correct body misalignment that is contributing to conception difficulties. 
  • Prenatal massage: A massage while pregnant requires specialized knowledge to ensure you and your baby are safe. A prenatal massage RMT helps you feel great and reduces your insomnia while decreasing your risk of postpartum complications and depression.
  • Menstrual massage: An RMT can help lessen menstrual pain, bloating, and cramping during menstrual cycles. These massages target your symptoms by gently manipulating your neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips.

Massage for detox, rehab, and sports healing

An RMT massage can also help return your body to an optimal physical state:

  • Detox massage: An RMT massage can support your body’s detoxification by removing toxins, cellulite, and excess fluid from your body. Techniques used for detox massages include Lymphatic Drainage Massage, AromaTouch Therapy, and Dry Brushing. 
  • Rehab Massage: Supports faster healing from sports or physical injuries with an RMT massage. Rehab massages support optimal recovery by improving circulation to the injured area, strengthening your muscles/ligaments/joints to prevent injury, and supporting increased mobility after injury.
  • Sports Massage: If you enjoy a sporty, active lifestyle, regular RMT massages can help you avoid injury. These massages can help you prepare your physical and mental readiness for a race, sporting event, or other physical activity or sport. 

What is bodywork? 

Bodywork is performed by a bodyworker. It covers many techniques (including massage) to manipulate the soft tissues of your body. Bodywork combines multiple modalities to release tension in muscles and tissues to relieve pain, stress, and anxiety.

Bodywork techniques are sometimes similar to RMT techniques, and can also include: 

  • The Alexander technique supports the alignment of your head, neck, and trunk for postural purposes. 
  • The Feldenkrais method increases flexibility and coordination and makes you more aware of healthy body movement and patterns. 
  • The Trager approach helps you relearn proper movements and exercises through gentle, rhythmic motions (often described as being dance-like) and exercises. 
  • Deep tissue massage helps by massaging your deeper tissues to release long-term tension, relieve pain, and increase flexibility. 
  • Rolfing is a deep tissue massage that helps to realign your tissues over your muscles and body organs, bringing your body back into alignment to reduce pain and improve flexibility. 
  • Dance/movement therapy uses creative and expressive movements to increase circulation and achieve healing goals. 

In BC, Bodyworkers are non-registered or often massage students without full credentialing. As such, their services may not be covered under your healthcare insurance. Their services are also cheaper and may be more available than a registered massage therapist.

Do I need an RMT massage or bodyworker? 

Both types of practitioners can provide you with healing support. Here’s a quick matrix to help you understand the differences between them so you can choose the right one for you:


Registered Massage Therapist Bodyworker
Credentialing Regulated by the BC College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia. Must be registered to call themselves an RMT Usually, a student or non-credentialed massage therapist
Services Depends on specialization Depends on specialization (services may be supervised by an instructor or assessor). 
Billing Billable to your insurance Not billable to insurance (pay for out of pocket)
Availability Usually book-up faster Usually easier availability
When to use When you have health benefits for registered massage therapy.  You run out of extended health benefits or need to pay out of pocket for services


If looking for a massage therapist to help with your pain or rehabilitation, come to Oceana Massage. Our registered massage therapists and therapeutic bodyworkers provide massages to allow your body to feel free again.

Meet our team to find a specialist that meets your needs and book your massage today.