Massage therapy has a significant impact on a person’s health and well-being. The public has a right to expect that a massage therapist has the qualifications needed to practice effectively and safely.
Legal recognition of the practice of massage therapy and clearly-stated requirements to practice are essential to promote the profession and protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public.
Reasons for Massage Therapy Regulation
Legal recognition of massage therapy in the form of state licensing creates standards of minimum competency. Competency is measured and enforced through formal education, training, and examination requirements.
Legal recognition of massage therapy ensures that individuals have met the eligibility requirements needed to practice massage therapy and that they are qualified to represent themselves to the public as state licensed massage therapists.
By providing a legal definition of the scope of massage therapy practice, professional licensure helps consumers identify the responsibilities and services unique to a massage therapist. It allows consumers to select the most appropriate massage therapy professional for their needs and brings the benefit of open access to the selection process.
Legal recognition of massage therapy through licensure enables a state or jurisdiction to discipline a massage therapist. States do not have the ability to regulate a profession that is not formally recognized in statute. Professional licensing laws enhance public safety by enforcing disciplinary actions against non-compliant practitioners.
Legal recognition of massage therapy through licensing protects the public in other ways as well. It establishes a consistent standard of practice which is enforceable by a professional code of ethics. In addition, it establishes a formal grievance process for consumers that helps prevent unethical and/or non-compliant massage therapists from continuing to practice.