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History ** TO ADAPT AS PER NEW FRENCH VERSION**
A mission in constant progress
Founded in 1979 under the name Association provinciale des masseurs et massothérapeutes, the FQM was established at a time when the Montreal police force’s Morality Squad associated massage with prostitution and erotic massage parlours, and when most Quebec municipalities refused to the right to practice to properly trained massage therapists. Even in the years following its inception, the FQM had to prove to governments and professional associations that it was capable of supervising its members with a code of ethics that drew a sharp distinction between massage therapy and erotic massage.
The period from 1979 to 1989 was marked by a growing interest in massage therapy, with forerunners circling the globe for new techniques and approaches to be introduced in Quebec. Among these were Polarity, Esalen, Californian, TragerMD and shiatsu. This period also saw the proliferation of massage therapy schools that would soon play an important role in the development of alternative health approaches in Quebec, for it was here that massage therapy came into its own, evolving and integrating international currents.
About the year 1985, the FQM had successfully established credibility, which also benefited therapeutic massage, by imposing a mandatory 1,000-hour training profile for anyone intent on becoming a certified massage therapist. Over the years, the FQM would add fresh content to its training profile, including courses on anatomy, sexual ethics, professional ethics and helping relationships.
Starting in 1992, the FQM set out to promote massage therapy and help members further their careers. A great deal of energy was invested in publicly promoting massage therapy as practised by FQM-certified members, highlighting the guarantee of quality and safety that membership confers. It is in this spirit that the FQM sought to heighten its public profile by teaming up with major annual events such as Massage d'espoir (Massage of hope) in support of Leucan in 1992, 1993 and 1994. These benefit events succeeded in raising close to $250,000 in support of Leucan activities, including in-hospital massage therapy for children with cancer.
In 1996, the FQM launched the Semaine de la massothérapie FQM (FQM Massage Therapy Week), an annual promotional campaign for members. This innovative activity is intended to promote massage therapy to the general public, to consolidate the FQM’s reputation, and to develop the business market with in-company chair massage sessions.
In September 2005, the FQM introduced its new training profile in accredited schools. This new program is consistent with the movement toward competency-based training programs that prevail both in Canada and United States. Once again, the FQM showed leadership by spearheading this “reform” of the practice of massage therapy in Quebec. After consulting with its members, the FQM replacied the entrance exam with a competency certification coaching session intended to validate the competencies of future members.
Since early 2008, every FQM member is formally known under the exclusive designation of "massothérapeute agréé"®. With this innovation, the FQM sets a new benchmark as accreditation is widely seen by the general public as a byword for professionalism, quality and integrity. The FQM is also the only accreditation body for massage therapy schools in Quebec. The same year, the FQM worked jointly with massage theraoy schools to set up a major quality network composed of 17 FQM-accredited schools. To obtain accreditation, a school must make a commitment to comply with the agreement protocol; and to ensure program quality, an expert from the FQM analyzes the training programs and course outlines as well as the teaching credentials of the professors.
In 2009, the FQM marked its 30th anniversary on a high note. After all these years, the Fédération remains the most credible organization with official authorities and — above all — the largest professional association in Quebec representing only massage therapists.
In 2010, the FQM established the Fondation québécoise de la massothérapie. Its mission is to contribute to the health and quality of life of people living with cancer, including the elderly and their caregivers.
In February 2012, the FQM presented an important report to the Office des professions du Québec (OPQ) demonstrating the need to create a professional order of massage therapists to ensure public protection. The FQM is the only massage therapists association in Quebec that campaigns for the recognition of massage therapy in the healthcare sector. We strongly believe that massage therapy must be regulated and supervised by the professional system so as to control the quality of care and the competencies and integrity of practitioners. This means that we work relentlessly, making representations to different provincial bodies and departments - Justice, Education, Health, etc.
In February 2015, Mrs Stéphanie Vallée, Quebec's Minister of Justice, officially requested that the OPQ makes a recommendation regarding the regulation of massage therapy. At about the same time, the FQM's advocacy efforts received the support of the Collège des médecins du Québec (Quebec's College of Physicians), which "recognizes the need, from a public protection perspective, for supervision of massage therapists by the professional system". Then in January 2016, the FQM submitted a second report to the OPQ, demonstrating the risk of serious adverses events associated with unregulated massage therapy.
To this day, the FQM remains the massage therapists association that enjoys the highest level of credibility and trust in the eyes of official authorities in Quebec. It is also the largest body representing only qualified massage therapists.