Does OHIP Cover Massage Therapy for Seniors?

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is the government-funded health insurance program for residents of Ontario. It covers a wide range of medical services and procedures, but currently does not include coverage for massage therapy. 

OHIP currently does not cover massage therapy for seniors. This is due to massage therapy being classified as an elective, supplemental treatment and the perceived lack of tangible medical necessity or therapeutic value. Seniors in Ontario seeking massage therapy would need to cover the costs through private insurance or out-of-pocket payments.

Massage therapy is considered an alternative treatment and is not covered under the standard OHIP plan. While therapies like physiotherapy and chiropractic care are covered if prescribed by a doctor, massage therapy requires an additional private insurance plan or out-of-pocket payment.

The main reasons massage therapy is not covered by OHIP are:

  • It is viewed as an elective, supplemental treatment rather than an essential medical service.
  • There is a lack of sufficient evidence about its medical necessity and therapeutic value.
  • Covering massage therapy would represent a major expense for the Ontario government.

What Are the Benefits of Massage Therapy for Seniors?

Massage therapy offers numerous potential benefits that can support the health and wellbeing of seniors specifically:

Pain reliefMassage can help relieve pain from chronic conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and injuries.
Reduced stress and anxietyMassage promotes relaxation, releasing muscle tension and reducing stress hormone levels.
Improved sleepMassage encourages deeper and more restful sleep.
Enhanced mobilityMassage increases flexibility and range of motion in joints and muscles.
Improved circulationMassage helps stimulate blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
Boosted immunityReduced stress from massage can strengthen the immune system.

Additional benefits of massage therapy include improved mood, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, increased energy levels, and an enhanced overall sense of wellbeing. For seniors managing various age-related health issues, massage can be an effective supplement to standard medical treatments.

How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost in Ontario?

The cost of massage therapy in Ontario can vary depending on factors like:

  • Location – Major cities like Toronto tend to have higher rates than smaller towns.
  • Type of massage – Therapeutic/medical massage costs more than relaxation massage.
  • Duration – Longer 60-90 minute massages are more expensive than shorter 30 minute sessions.
  • Service provider – Spas, dedicated clinics, and independent therapists have different rates.

On average, massage therapy costs $60-150 per hour in Ontario. Here’s a comparison with other standard healthcare services:

Massage therapy$60-150 per hour
Physiotherapy$80-150 per hour
Chiropractic$60-125 per visit
Acupuncture$40-120 per visit
Osteopathy$90-150 per hour

What Are My Options for Getting Massage Therapy if I Don’t Have OHIP Coverage?

If you want to access the benefits of massage therapy without OHIP coverage, there are a few options to explore:

  • Purchase private supplemental health insurance – Many insurance providers offer plans that include massage therapy coverage up to a certain limit per year. This can significantly offset the cost.
  • Ask therapists about payment plans or sliding scale fees – Some therapists provide flexible payment options for clients paying out-of-pocket without insurance. This includes payment plans to break up the cost into installments.
  • Look into services offered by seniors’ community organizations – Local senior centers or healthcare organizations sometimes offer massage at low cost or sponsored rates for members.

What Are the Risks of Massage Therapy?

Like any healthcare treatment, massage therapy comes with some potential risks and side effects, such as:

  • Temporary pain or discomfort during or after massage sessions
  • Bruising from deep tissue techniques
  • Aggravation of existing injuries if not properly treated
  • Allergic reaction to oils, lotions or creams used

It is important to choose an experienced massage therapist who is properly qualified and registered with a professional association. An unqualified therapist could potentially cause injuries.

How Do I Find a Qualified Massage Therapist in Ontario?

Here are some tips for finding a reputable massage therapist that’s right for you:

  • Ask your doctor or physiotherapist for a referral to massage therapists they trust. Having a professional recommendation is ideal.
  • Search online directories for therapists registered with the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario (RMTAO). This ensures proper licensing and qualifications.
  • Ask friends, family, or neighbors if they have any recommendations for massage therapists they’ve used successfully. Word-of-mouth references can be very helpful.
  • When contacting potential therapists, ask about their specific training, modalities, experience treating seniors, and costs. Make sure you feel comfortable with their approach.

Taking the time to find an appropriate, experienced massage therapist will help ensure you have a safe and effective treatment experience. While not covered by OHIP, massage can be an accessible option using private insurance, payment plans, or community services.

Similar Posts