ABMP Statement on BuzzFeed Report

We at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) are closely monitoring the fallout after the recent BuzzFeed investigative story “Hands Off” about sexual assault at Massage Envy franchise locations. We are deeply disturbed by the reported cases and in how Massage Envy reportedly handled them. The massage and bodywork treatment room should be safe space—a place for healing—and ABMP unequivocally denounces any violation of that space. Any time this happens in our profession is too frequent; repeated occurrences are unacceptable. We have contacted Massage Envy to better understand what happened, their plan for responding, and what changes they intend to make going forward.

In the weeks preceding the story’s release, we were contacted by BuzzFeed for a statement about the general concept of the article, and we provided a no-tolerance policy statement on behalf of our members. We also shared our September/October 2017 Massage & Bodywork magazine content talking about sexual misconduct in the massage profession (“Massage Therapy and Sexual Misconduct: Protecting Our Clients, Ourselves, and Our Profession”).1 Our intent was to educate BuzzFeed about our approach to eradicating the issue of sexual assault in the context of massage therapy.

Our organization is committed to helping educate employers about standards in the profession. It’s essential that massage employers have specific policies and procedures in place to support victims of inappropriate touch—whether client or therapist—and that they live up to those standards. It’s also important that staff members—especially in the more than 2,000 franchise massage businesses established in the past decade—are well-educated about how to respond to such claims. Anything less than a no-tolerance policy—in any massage setting—is insulting to legitimate massage therapists who work for these organizations and elsewhere. We are committed to helping businesses and individuals maintain a safe, professional therapeutic environment—for both clients and therapists.

To quote from the foreword to our Massage & Bodywork article, “We believe one of the best ways to curb sexual abuse in massage therapy is to sear the problem with bright light and constructive conversation throughout our community.” The BuzzFeed reporting provides a bright light, and a necessary reminder that protecting our clients, our profession, and ourselves is paramount.

As you may be aware, ABMP’s motto is expectmore, which is both an invitation and a challenge. We invite our members and prospective members to expect more than the status quo from any other association or insurance provider, and we challenge ourselves to deliver on that promise. We also expect more from others in this profession; we believe Massage Envy can, will, and must do better going forward. Each and every one of us must be part of the solution and accountable to each other.

Les Sweeney
President
ABMP

 
Category: 

News

Minnesota Introduces Licensing Bills for Massage and Asian Bodywork Therapies

Serve the best interest of your profession and the public while ensuring ongoing competence and high standards of practice. How? Support licensing efforts in Minnesota! Write a letter to your elected officials, sharing why licensure is an important and necessary step to advance the massage therapy industry.

ABMP Advocates to Protect the Autonomy of the Arizona Massage Board

ABMP submitted written commentary to the Arizona legislature regarding House BIll 2169, which would merge the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy with the Arizona Barbering and Cosmetology Board. We are opposed to this legislation and invite you to read our comments and write to your elected officials.

Blog

ABMP CE Summit: Headaches

 Headaches.

Join us online Tuesday, April 30, 2024, for the ABMP CE Summit: Headaches, which take learners on a journey from understanding headaches to working with clients with headache pain using multiple modalities and techniques.

New CE Course: Stretching the Hip

Dr. Joe Muscolino displays a massage therapy technique.

The new ABMP CE course, “Stretching the Hip,” is available in the ABMP Education Center to view and earn 1.5 CE hours.

Benefits

Podcast: Gainful Employment (and the 100% Rule)

Les Sweeney, president and CEO of ABMP, and Lance Hostetter, ABMP director of government relations, explain the 100% rule, the flaws within the rule, and the Interstate Massage Compact.

Please note: We have recently updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Learn more...