AMTA-MA’s Position on Two Filed Legislative Matters Directly Impacting the Massage Therapy Law
As the Massachusetts Legislature has begun the 2011-2012 legislative session, the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association has reviewed the over 5,800 filed legislative matters. Of these matters, there are a variety of measures that, if enacted, would impact our industry, generally, and our roles as massage therapists, specifically. Some of the measures, such as the Governor’s proposed health care cost containment legislation, would have widespread implications across the health care spectrum. Other filed matters may only impact the massage therapy industry alone.
That said, a review of the filed matters has revealed a filing to increase the educational hours necessary for becoming a massage therapist. Senate Bill 90, An Act Relative to Massage Therapist Licensure, was filed Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz by request of a constituent. The filed matter would require prospective massage therapists to demonstrate 900 hours of classroom education in massage therapy. In addition, the proposed legislation would require existing massage therapists to demonstrate either (1) the completion of 150 hours of continuing education as prescribed by the board; (2) passage of the nation certification board for therapeutic massage and bodywork (NCBTMB) certification examination; or (3) show proof of having been in active continuous practice of massage therapy for at least five years immediately preceding the effective date of this section.
While supportive of standards that ensure the quality of our profession and protect the public, the AMTA-MA does not support SB90. As proposed, SB90 will neither ensure the quality of our profession nor provide any greater protections for the general public. We have already expressed our opposition to key legislators and will continue to be vocal in our opposition to this matter throughout the legislative process.
At the same time, the AMTA-MA will support House Bill 2688, An Act Relative to Licensing Massage Therapists. This legislation, filed by Representative Antonio Cabral, seeks to address four technical issues that have become apparent since the enactment of this legislation in 2006. These clarifications further assist massage therapists by either explicitly permitting activities many massage therapists are trained in (i.e. kinesio taping), defining when an out-of-state licensed massage therapist may practice under the supervision of a Massachusetts licensed massage therapist at multi-day charitable or sporting events and, finally, by strengthening the advertising law to expressly cover electronic media.
The Massachusetts Legislature operates on a two-year legislative cycle. The AMTA-MA recognizes that this is a long process and will keep you notified throughout. To that end, we ask that you remain prepared to contact your legislators if needed. Until then, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about these or other pieces of legislation.