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