National Association Welcomes Mississippi as Thirtieth State to Regulate Massage Therapy

    EVANSTON, Ill., April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Massage Therapy
 Association(R) (AMTA(R)) welcomes final approval on Friday, March 30, of the
 Mississippi Professional Massage Therapy Act by the State Senate, making it
 the thirtieth state to pass legislation regulating massage therapy.  The
 governor is expected to sign the law within the next two weeks.
     "Our association is pleased to see that thirty states have taken measures
 to ensure the safety of consumers and the protection of our profession," said
 Steven Olson, President of AMTA.  "AMTA supports efforts by massage
 therapists, to clearly define through legislation what constitutes
 professional massage therapy in their state," said Olson.  "Demand for quality
 massage therapy is growing rapidly and the public deserves to know that there
 are standards by which they can determine who is qualified to provide a
 massage."
     There is a national trend among state governments to recognize the field
 of massage therapy and to regulate who may refer to themselves as massage
 therapists.  At least five other state legislatures also are considering
 massage therapy legislation.
     Mississippi joins its neighboring states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana,
 and Tennessee in licensing massage therapists and defining what level of
 education and/or national testing they need to practice.  The Mississippi Act
 defines the scope of practice of a massage therapist in the state and
 differentiates it from other healthcare professions.  Like many other states
 which have passed similar legislation in the past decade, the Mississippi law
 requires massage therapists to complete at least 600 hours of classroom
 instruction in massage therapy or be Nationally Certified in Therapeutic
 Massage and Bodywork.
     "Where a state does not regulate massage, any regulation of the profession
 or description of consumer protection is left to local municipalities or
 counties," Olson explains.  "This has led to some strange situations for
 massage therapists who may find themselves practicing under laws intended to
 control adult entertainment or other behavior.  Ours is the only field of
 health care and wellness that finds itself in such a position.  AMTA
 encourages other states to develop fair legislation to protect our profession
 and the public."
     The American Massage Therapy Association is the largest organization
 representing the massage profession.  Founded in 1943, it has more than 45,000
 members.  The association has a Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice, and an
 active law and legislation program.  It promotes the development and
 advancement of the art, science and practice of massage therapy in a caring,
 professional and ethical manner.  AMTA also offers a free Find a Massage
 Therapist(SM) national locator service to help consumers find qualified
 massage therapists throughout the U.S. - a service of greatest importance in
 states that do not regulate the profession.
 
 

SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association

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