We need to respond.
First thing that you need to do is read this article from a leader in our industry as it was posted in the publication Massage Today - http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=15275
I believe that this article has great importance to massage therapists throughout the country where it talks about the "organizations" that are trying to "rule" massage therapy. And the state of PA is a prime example. I just spoke to a massage therapist trying to get a license in the state of NY who stated that he needed a certain number of hours of Eastern therapies to get his license there. Hmmmmmm, are these not the same therapies that the state of PA is trying to exclude from re-licensure?
Back a few months ago I drafted this letter -
An open letter to the Pennsylvania Massage Therapy Board
It is our belief that you are limiting the practice of massage and the profession of Massage Therapy in the state of Pennsylvania.
SO we are going to discriminate against Asian Modalities. Why? You are making it a restrictive environment to be a licensed, accredited Massage Therapist in the state of Pennsylvania
Will this stop Asian Massage establishments in the state of PA? Asian Modalities have a place in the practice of massage regardless of the Boards non-belief in the meridian system… a system which is based on ancient Chinese Medical practice. Will you also regulate Acupuncturists and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners out of the state?
You are creating a “black market” for Asian modalities in this state.
Limiting the public’s access to legitimate Asian Modalities adversely affects the public you are trying to protect. It negates all massage therapists training by limiting the study of Eastern traditions and modalities just because it doesn’t fit into your Western model. Chinese/Asian Massage “parlors” will not go away because of your regulating it out of the practice of Massage Therapy. Many of the same modalities that you are trying to negate within the practice of massage are already being accepted into our hospitals and medical wellness centers all through our country. Instead of trying to regulate Asian Modalities out of Massage why not make it illegal for landlords to rent to someone with signage that says Oriental/Chinese Massage without the associated License Number?
We are legislating a climate where people are becoming unlicensed rather than stay or become licensed. What you are trying to do is taking a giant step back for massage therapy in Pennsylvania. By creating laws we are leaving out the human element of massage. We are letting those who seem to know (or remember) nothing about the application of massage or for that matter any healing therapy to govern us. Where are the massage therapists on the board? Will you not stand up for the rest of us? Have you forgotten your training? Are we to be bullied by the Western/Allopathic medical industry to be part of mainstream Healthcare? Do we want out licensed numbers to continue to dwindle as we whittle away at what we are and are not allowed to do as massage therapists.
LMTs as a group need to come together in numbers to effectively communicate what we want to be able to do in our jobs and create a stronger massage community in PA. The AMTA, AMBP and others need to come together to represent us and not acquiesce to the Board. We need to change definitions within the rules to make a difference to the community.
How is the public being protected by beating us up and not allowing us to practice the healing art of massage as we were taught and certified by our respective educational facilities? Legislation is currently regulating us out of business because of all the costs and stipulations put on how we can make a living. And all CEs must be hands on? That is not part of the original licensure document!
And a note to CE Providers – If you think you are already certified in PA for CE because you have submitted your classes in the past and are therefore “grandfathered” in, think again. You will have to resubmit and be approved all over again.
This was my original rant. And for the most part I still stand by it. I think we all need to take a look at Ralph Stephens article and do our own research into what is really happening within our industry. We need to go through the proper channels - our legistlators - and see what we can do. Those of us who are currently licensed need to stay within the rules and regulations of the state we are licensed in and continue to move forward to make massage available to all people. I will continue to teach those classes that I have always taught, in the manner in which I have always taught them, to the best of my knowledge and ability. I also will take those classes that I feel will be of the greatest advantage to my clients regardless of the tradition from which it came. (Also, why are some excluded while others are not?)
Please join together and fight for the public as much as yourselves. All modalities should be available to our clients.
This post may not be my most eloquent but at least my feelings are now out there and it is up to you to make it known across the state and then to the proper places at the state level.
Read the article I included! It is very important to us all!