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Massage Therapists Benefit From California Legislation

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

February 9, 2009

A new California law is expected to bring much-needed regulation to the massage therapy profession, allowing the state to better protect the public.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the new law creates the Massage Therapy Organization, which by fall will grant state certification to massage therapists who have had at least 250 hours of training and pass a test on ethics, anatomy, and methods. The law is expected to crack down on prostitution rings masquerading as massage parlors, thereby granting legitimacy to reputable massage therapists.

"The law lets those who want to receive the services of a massage therapist know with certainty that the massage therapist has met certain training criteria to become certified," California Sen. Jenny Oropeza, who authored the law, told the LA Times.

The law has been hailed by law enforcement agencies as well as massage therapists. Prior to the law, regulations varied widely among cities so that consumers could never be sure of a massage therapist's background, credentials, or license. The new state law will supersede all city laws, effectively granting a state seal of approval for all legitimate massage businesses.

The California law comes just one month after Michigan became the 42nd state to regulate massage therapy. The Michigan law created an 11-member State Board of Massage Therapy to establish education and examination standards for new practitioners and provisions for licensing existing practitioners.

In a related story, the Grand Junction Sentinel [from an article originally located at http://www.gjsentinel.com/hp/content/news/stories/2009/02/04/020509_1a_massage_parlors.html] reports that massage parlors in Grand Junction, Colorado, will require annual licensing and inspection, the result of an ordinance approved by the City Council. The regulation comes less than three months following the arrest of a local massage parlor owner accused of running a place of prostitution.

But some reputable massage therapists in the area note that the state already requires licensing for massage therapy, and that additional legislation is not necessary. Deborah Rosenbaum, the owner of Nirvana Massage, told the Sentinel that it would make more sense for the city to simply focus on enforcing state regulations.

Others disagree, saying that the additional legislation will make it easier to monitor massage parlors, keeping legitimate ones in business. KJCT8 News reports that massage therapists will now be required to submit to a background check and fingerprinting.

The LA Times quoted Lucy Wojskowicz, owner of Laguna Canyon Spa in Laguna Beach, who welcomed the California legislation, and looked forward to being able to practice her profession without being associated with the adult entertainment industry.

"Although a few people give our bad practice a bad name," she noted, "the wonderful part of what I do is that I get to help people and relieve their pain, if even for just a little while."

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