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Massage Therapy Referrals

In order to access massage therapy services at this time during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Alberta is requiring patients to have a referral from a medical doctor or another regulated health professional.

College registrants are reminded that, as with any referral they make, a referral to a massage therapist must be made within your scope of practice and in compliance with the CRDHA Code of Ethics and Practice Standards. This means that the referral should be related to clinical assessments you have performed and should be associated with a dental hygiene diagnosis and treatment plan. The referral should also be clearly documented in clinical notes.

Examples of questions to consider before writing a referral:

  • Do you, as a dental hygienist, have the appropriate level of training and competencies to provide assessment, diagnosis, and referral for the concern (e.g., occupational related back pain)?
  • Is there a more appropriate regulated health professional that may provide the assessment and diagnosis of the concern (e.g., physiotherapist, chiropractor, medical doctor)?
  • Is there an alternate differential diagnosis for which massage therapy would not be the most appropriate course of action (e.g., a referral for muscle/back pain that is actually caused by arthritis)?

If you made a referral and were called by a client’s family physician, are you comfortable justifying your knowledge, training and competence to make that referral?

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