Massage Laws - Are they really necessary?
It is important for people interested in massage to understand the politics underlying various state and national massage laws. Many countries and areas have not introduced massage laws, but in some countries such as the US and Canada there are many ...Massage Laws - Are they really necessary?
It is important for people interested in massage to understand the politics underlying various state and national massage laws. Many countries and areas have not introduced massage laws, but in some countries such as the US and Canada there are many states and provinces that have introduced massage laws. For a complete list see the bottom of this article.

Massage laws only started coming into effect in the last 20 or so years and have been pushed, in most cases, by bodies that represent big, established massage schools. These massage schools have a lot to gain form restricting competition and forcing students to undertake many hours of training, even if that training is largely irrelevant to the practice of massage.

For example, while only a small selection of massage students will work in the actual medical profession, most of these schools force students to sit through 300 to 700 hours or anatomy and physiology classes, rote learning Latin names for parts of the body they are never going to discuss with any of their clients. These anatomy and physiology classes are huge moneymakers for these schools because it is relatively inexpensive for them to hire anatomy and physiology teachers, yet the school can increase the cost of tuition that students pay by several thousand dollars.

In mine and many other massage practitioners' experience, you never end up using the Latin terms that you are forced to learn to pass your exam, and because you never use them they are soon forgotten.

This is just one example of how many massage schools and large associations are tying to go the way of Western medicine. They promote the doctor-patient relationship in a way that is reminiscent of the old status of priests in the Catholic Church, and use Latin as a way of being above their patient. This is termed "ivory tower" syndrome in natural therapies because the practitioner does not "connect" with the patient. In contrast, natural medicine follows the "partnership" model of health care, where we work with our clients to help them. This involves communicating in a language clients understand.

For more descriptions of our massage courses see the following links

People who come in for a massage treatment may say they have a sore back, are stressed out, or get headaches, and they want you to help them get better. They don't want a sermon in Latin about their flexor digitorum longus and gastrocnemius. This technical jargon just serves to disempower the client from involvement in the healing process.

Instead, the natural therapies model of practitioner-client relationship that we advocate is to express, in simple English (or the language spoken by the client), such thoughts as: "You are very tight here, and this connects to this, so let's loosen this up and this will help this" or "this tension in the muscle here in your neck is probably causing your headache."

An argument often put forward by proponents of massage laws is that massage laws help protect the public from injury by untrained therapist. Most evidence has shown that massage is one of the safest healing arts and that injuries resulting from massage are almost unheard of. For this reason some provinces of Canada like Quebec, as well as countries like Australia, New Zealand and the UK have refused to regulate massage therapy because they have seen no need to restrict an activity that has caused no real harm to the community. Massage is actually an art form that has been practiced since the origins of humanity in many different cultures of the world. Never before has a government tried to regulate it.

Traditionally, a good massage therapist is someone who has a good sense of touch and can therefore feel subtleties within the human body. For example, shiatsu, a Japanese form of massage, was traditionally practiced by blind people. They had the best sense of touch because they were used to "tuning in" to their intuition in order to feel the subtle imbalances in the flow of life force (chi) within the body.

Regulations that mandate 500 or more hours of massage training, followed by having to pass a very theoretical exam, will not guarantee a person a good sense of touch or intuition. In fact, regulating an art form such as massage in this way is like regulating those studying music or painting to a certain number of hours of training before they are allowed to practice as a musician or a painter. The world is full of talented artists who don't know music theory or painting theory well enough to pass a test. Forcing them to undergo such standardization would undoubtedly stifle artistic creativity and ingenuity.

This is the real effect of massage laws in the US. They stifle ingenuity, creativity, and business competition. Why should someone have to sit through 500 or 1000 (or 3000 as some Canadian provinces have introduced) boring hours of training, most of which they will never use, when they could learn more from a massage school that provides better quality massage training in a shorter period of time, by emphasizing the practical aspects of becoming an outstanding massage therapist?

We believe the free market should operate in the massage industry as well as in the massage training industry.

For example, it should be the consumer who decides which massage practitioner they feel more comfortable going to, not the state. In the end, a practitioner who doesn't keep his clients happy won't survive in business, especially in a small town, where a good massage business is built on referrals and repeat clients. This is true even in a large city. Because it usually costs a lot of money in advertising or renting a high profile premises in order to get new clients in, if you don't convert new clients into happy regular clients, then your costs will soon exceed your income and you will go out of business.

Having, said all this, our main opposition to massage laws is the required number of training hours. We believe this is some of the major massage school's attempt to monopolize the industry. However, we do support measures to protect clients from sleazy practitioners. There is a need for standard codes of professional conduct that practitioners must follow to prevent them from misusing their position or sexually exploit their clients. This could be easily achieved by having laws defining the professional boundaries in a massage treatment, such as not massaging really close to the groin or breasts, and so on. Practitioners who are clearly proven to repeatedly cross those boundaries could be prosecuted and not allowed to practice massage anymore.

It is important to note that these professional codes of conduct we are speaking about do not require very many training hours. Students either understand the simple premise "Don't be sleazy" and are sensitive to not making their patients uncomfortable, or not. In my experience of teaching thousands of students (and failing several sleazy ones, including two doctors and a chiropractor), most people who are sleazy will remain sleazy no matter how many hours of training they have. In fact, as I just mentioned, the huge percentage of sleaziest students I have had in classes have already undergone thousands of hours of professional health care training and are still sleazy.

For more descriptions of our massage courses see the following link

The following places have no massage laws and lets try and help keep it that way

Australia - all states are not regulated by the government

Canada - most provinces aren't regulated although Ontario, British Columbia and Newfoundland have a form of regulating the term massage therapist but not the actual practice of massage.

New Zealand is not regulated

England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland aren't regulated.

Germany, Spain and many European countries are not regulated

South Africa has a very loose form of regulation that doesn't seem to be enforced

States of the United States that haven't become regulated are Alaska, California ( although some counties are regulated in California), Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, , Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Vermont and Wyoming. People can practice Raynor massage in New Jersey as long as they don't use the terms "massage therapist" or "massage practitioner.

Many other places are also unregulated worldwide. Please let us know if you have more information.

The following states of the US have introduced massage laws-

Alabama requires 650 hours education and U.S. citizenship.

Arizona requires 500 hours

Arkansas requires 500 hours education.

Connecticut requires 500 hours at a COMTA* or U.S. Dept. of Ed.approved school.

Delaware requires 500 hours or 300 hours plus 2 years experience for massage therapist, or 100 hours for massage technician.

District of Columbia requires 500 hours education.

Florida requires 500 hours education.


Hawaii requires 570 hours education or 150 hours plus 420-hour apprenticeship.


Iowa requires 500 hours education. http:://

Kentucky requires 500 hours, increasing to 600 hours in 2005. Law enacted 2003

Louisiana requires 500 hours education.

Maine requires 500 hours and NCE or attendance at a state-approved school.

Maryland requires 60 accredited college hours of education.

Mississippi requires 600 hours education

Missouri requires 500 hours education.

Nebraska requires 1000 hours education.

New Hampshire requires 750 hours education

New Jersey requires 500 hours or the NCE for use of term "Massage Therapist" or "Massage Practitioner"

New Mexico requires 650 hours education or 300 hours plus experience.

New York requires 1,000 hours education.

North Carolina requires 500 hours (exam to be determined)

North Dakota requires 750 hours education at a COMTA* or other approved school.

Ohio requires 600 hours education over at least 12 month period.

Oregon requires 500 hours education.

Rhode Island requires 500 hours education at a COMTA* or other approved school or 1000 hours.

South Carolina requires 500 hours education.

South Dakota

Tennessee requires 500 hours education or the NCE.

Texas requires 300 hours education.

Utah requires 600 hours education at a COMTA* or other approved school or 1000 hour apprenticeship.

Virginia requires 500 hours education.

Washington requires 500 hours education.

West Virginia requires 500 hours of attendance at a state-approved school.

Wisconsin requires 600 hours from approved school and proof of $1,000,000 liability insurance

For more descriptions of our massage courses see the following links

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