What is Happening?

  Everywhere you turn today, people are getting fed up and speaking up (or doing more), whether they’re in the Wisconsin state capitol or the Middle East. Unrest has even reached the shores of our happy village of MassageLand. There is a bill awaiting the governor’s signature in Utah that removes the word “therapeutic” from the description of massage in the state’s massage therapy law. Oh well—that’s not an important word, is it? The edit traces back to the state’s need for more teeth to catch prostitutes. The Department of Professional Licensure, the Massage Therapy Board, and the Utah Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association all agreed to the proposal. In Nevada, the board proposed changes to its regulations that would require facilities to designate a “managing therapist,” despite the fact that the massage board has no statutory authority to regulate massage establishments. In New Hampshire, there is a proposal to abolish the state massage therapy licensing law, as part of a larger anti-regulation, cost-cutting effort. I never have and never will be one who believes regulation is automatically good, or automatically bad. Each state and each circumstance deserve consideration. Perhaps massage therapy licensing in New Hampshire is useless; however, I have a hard time believing a thorough analysis has been conducted, if the approach is to clear-cut professional regulation across the board. And cutting out a critical element of Utah’s existing law in order to solve a problem older than massage (and Utah, for that matter) seems shortsighted and clumsy. Now none of this stuff compares to the challenges facing the people of Libya, or Egypt, or Bahrain. But we should treat our professional standing with thought and care, and seek collaborative solutions. Of the three states mentioned, there are different sources of the issue: professional regulators, legislators, and—to some extent—our own profession. ABMP’s job as an organization is to stay current and active in these environments; our Government Relations Director, Jean Robinson, does that and much more. But she can’t be in 50 places at once, and can’t do much to change the decisions made in a vacuum, like the one in Utah. So keep your eyes and ears open, and if given the chance, please help us help you. And to those out there shaking our regulatory snow globe, please handle with care. Follow Les Sweeney at twitter.com/abmp_les.
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