The Post in which Eric Gets Investigated for Professional Misconduct?

I’m being investigated for professional misconduct or incompetence by our provincial regulatory body. Of course, they’ve neglected to tell me what regulation or standard I’m suspected of being in violation of. At least I can’t seen to find it in the massive 47 pages of documentation they sent to me. I gave a call to the CMTO and they are sending me some clarification on why I’m being investigated. They said they’d send another letter with that information. So I’ll know shortly and will let you know.

Apparently some therapist took offence to some of my observations on the profession and made a complaint to our regulatory College. In brief, on one of my websites I stated something to the effect that the focus of therapists training in our 2,200 hour programs in Ontario is rehab and that as a result when clients come into their offices the therapists tend to look for things to “fix”. As a result relaxation is not a focus and the quality of the client experience suffers.

[Update: I’ve looked at the source of this and it turns out that this particular quote comes from the website of a company that’s not mine, but I would probably say something like this anyway.]

It’s a scientifically recognized phenomenon: Give someone a hammer and everything starts looking like a nail. And that in my opinion is what happens when therapists focus so strongly on rehab massage.

I had my last massage several weeks ago and I specifically asked for a full body relaxation massage using Swedish massage techniques. I did this purposefully because a colleague said that therapists were incapable of doing full body Swedish massage, so I took up the challenge and decided to test this hypothesis when I went for my massage.

I didn’t get a full body Swedish relaxation massage. I got what could best be described as fascial release massage. She focused in particular on my upper back because I had “stuff in there”. Was her work horrible or intolerable? No, she had good hands. Was it a Swedish relaxation massage? If Swedish relaxation massage is defined as deep focused digging, then perhaps.

I’ll admit that sometimes I like poking the sleeping bear and stirring up some controversy. I think that’s okay. Complacency is a killer in any profession. We should always be looking at ways to improve our profession and meet the public’s needs in a better way. We shouldn’t be afraid to acknowledge our weaknesses and take a hard look at how we can turn those around. I also thought that under our constitution we have the “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.”

It appears as though someone at our regulatory board feels differently and thinks my characterization of the profession is too harsh and warrants investigation.

What do you think? Should massage therapists be able to question current practices in their profession? If we see issues in the industry should we be able to point them out in a public medium? Is this type of criticism “disgraceful, dishonorable or unprofessional”? Give me your thoughts in the comments section below. I’m very curious what you think.

(I’ll keep you updated as I get more info.)

Latest update with clarification from the CMTO is here


Eric Brown of BodyworkBiz (an online massage business resource) also owns Thermal Palms, Relax to the Max, World Massage Conference and Massage Therapy Radio. Sign up for the free BodyworkBiz massage marketing newsletter at


You can now find me on Twitter @ericupsidebrown
Erik Dalton Techniques at Indiana State University | Eric Brown, BodyworkBiz Blog - 1 year ago
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18 thoughts on “The Post in which Eric Gets Investigated for Professional Misconduct?

  1. I think that if any profession stops questioning itself that the methods being used at the time will never change or improve. Therefore, I firmly believe that massage therapists should indeed be able to question current practices in their profession including in a public forum.


  2. We absolutely should be able to express our opinion and feelings.
    I agree if you want a specific type of treatment then you should be able to get it and not something else

    Same things happened to me Eric. I wanted to relax one day and got hammered on even though I kept reminding the therapist. She kept telling me this is what her clients like. I reminded her I was a client too.

    And since when is relaxation not therapeutic?

    Question away —-
    As long as we are not abusing anyone or slandering them, I believe we have a right to express! Keep us posted Eric!


  3. Well, looks like you’ve made the big time, Eric! Your voice in the industry has become powerful enough such that regulatory bodies feel threatened. Congrats! Yes, I’m being tongue in cheek here, but only partially-we need powerful voices and opinions to keep growing. After all, complacency is never productive.


  4. I agree with the previous posts. I bought a package of massages from a reputable massage school and before each massage was asked what problems I had. I didn’t have any, just wanted a relaxing massage so with the first therapist, she insisted that I must have something that needed to be looked at. For the rest of my massages I just made stuff up.
    I didn’t like the fact that I was made to feel that I needed to have something “wrong” to get a table massage. I’ll stick with chair massage, I get more in less time.


  5. Freedom of speech and opinion.Seems as if you stepped on someones feelings and this is the way they chose to retaliate,some people just can not take constructive criticism.I worked on a lady the other day who was a LMT for many years but now does not practice.She told me how she wanted her head and back worked on,and said she hoped I wasnt NO means was i offended,afterall, its HER body being touched.I want people to come back.No worries Eric, after a thorough invest. i suspect they will be investigating THEM for making such a childish complaint and waisting their time.


  6. Eric,
    I would have to agree that we need room for challenging things so that we all grow. Public forums and social media have been huge game changers and it is time for new rules and regulations for conduct. Gone are the days of the stuffy white shirts and saying all the right things in public. Now there is the ability to let it all hang out for everyone to see forever.

    It is well documented that when a person is in a state of deep relaxation the body is better able to digest, and to do its own repair work. Would that not make it therapy?

    I often wonder what the threat is with “relaxation” work, why is that not considered therapeutic in its own right? Why does it seem like our profession is either spa (relaxation) or rehab as if there are no shade of grey or blending of the two ideals?

    I am blessed with having graduated back in the day when full body relaxation was therapy, and while you might work on something that you find along the way if the client did not want digging you did not dig.

    Then, I would also throw in my own person ‘beef’ that energy work is scoffed at and not recognized as if you could possibly treat any person and not affect the energy system. 😉

    I will stir the pot with you… with happy abandon. I love to challenge people’s perception.

    I would say that there is room for being aware of what is said in public spaces, but done right freedom of speech is still a freedom in this country. Can’t say as I have seen you say anything too out there IMHO. 🙂



  7. Questioning authority, or even procedures is how we evolve, and is your right to do so. Professional Misconduct would be running around slandering other professionals, throwing eggs at their cars, writing about how they suck at giving massage, etc…certainly not expressing your opinion that relaxation is a very different technique than the ‘fix it’ approach.

    Authority never likes to be questioned, but takes great delight in questioning those it supervises. If this is truly what you are being investigated for, they are wrong. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, even if the opinion is that a happy ending should be included in a massage (extreme example, but nonetheless, an opinion doesn’t mean the person is actually DOING it -no pun intended- and they are entitled to think that way). The moment authority says you can’t have an opinion, they think they have control over your mind.


  8. Typical. Instead of trying to have a discussion with you about their perception of “misconduct”, the complaintiff has taken the “issue” to the authorities. Debates help to clarify one’s thoughts. If everything ends up in court, I guess we would still be in a flat world?


  9. Really?! Dang Eric, you mean someone reported you for freedom of speech? Smh. They could have spent that time marketing or something more productive, to their benefit.


  10. I don’t find it surprising that someone got offended by what you said – it’s so easy to upset folks and for written comments to be taken harsher than they were meant since there is an absense of tone, inflection and corresponding body language. But I do find it odd that a regulatory board (or College as it is in CAN) could or would consider this a valid complaint, especially against you, someone who does more for to benefit and support the profession before breakfast than some do in an entire career.

    Keep up the great work, Eric, and keep us posted on how it turns out.


  11. Yes we should be questioning how we practice and how those around us are practicing! How we treat individually is how we treat as a whole and we need to keep helping each other improve. Not to mention respecting the needs of the client. I like being invited to a Trigger Point Party, but if the client requests full body massage, I am qualified to provide it, and I will do a fantastic job at both relaxing and rehabilitating.


  12. REALLY? My head is still spinning reading your post? I agree with all your other fellow LMP’s We must continue to question things, it keeps us all on our toes.. I also agree with the post.Since when is relaxation massage not therapeutic?
    Question away.. massage warrior..we all support you..


  13. Yes, of course you need to comment on any needed improvements in the massage industry. I find myself needing to stops myself from fixing when someone asks for a relaxation massage. It is important to give the client what they ask for unless it is contraindicated or in appropriate.


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