Last Wednesday morning, I was finalizing a “sample letter” for you (those who have benefited from massage therapy) to send to the Vermont House Operations Committee regarding H644, the proposed bill to license massage therapy. And then this Rutland Herald article, Panel Rejects New Massage Regulations, landed in my inbox.
As you know, a bill, H644, was introduced in the Vermont House to license massage therapy. The bill was designed to regulate a healthcare profession in order to curb human trafficking and prostitution. These are two separate issues and should be dealt as such. (Thus the “sample letter” for you to send.) You can read more about this bill here.
In short, here is what happened. After being in contact with the legislative assistant for the Government Operations Committee, we were told that it would be several weeks before the bill was considered by the committee. That time span shorted to a few days.
On February 18th, H644 was introduced to the committee. “A majority of the House Government Operations Committee members said they did not favor taking up the bill this year.” So for now the effort to regulate massage therapy in Vermont is once again shelved.
Representative Tim Jerman, one of the legislator who sponsored H644 is from Essex Junction. The Junction is where one of the “massage parlors” that was fronting human trafficking last fall was located. “Essex Junction is considering instituting a local ordinance to prevent illicit activity in spas, Jerman said. However, that may not be the right approach, he said, for a problem that has sprouted up in several locations across the state.” I will keep you appraised of any developments on this local call for regulation of massage therapy.
So what should you do in the mean time to protect your self?
- Ask your massage therapist if s/he is licensed in another state or certified nationally through NCBTMB.
- Ask your massage therapist if s/he belongs to a professional association for massage therapy.
- Ask your massage therapist if s/he takes continuing education class for massage therapy, ethics, and business practices.
- Ask your massage therapist if s/he has liability insurance.
All of these questions will help you gauge the training, experience, and professionalism of the person you are allowing to touch your body.
And last but not least, GET MASSAGE. Touch is everything!