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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesMASSAGE THERAPISTS SHOULD BE LICENSED

MASSAGE THERAPISTS SHOULD BE LICENSED

Over the years, various occupations have sprung up in our relatively small community which have been licensed by government fiat. Some, such as medical practices, have been relegated to boards controlled by the various occupation being licensed. Others, due to their rarity or seemingly lack of danger to the community, have been given a rather general license more like a government surcharge for doing business.
The question currently revolves around massage therapists and whether or not an apparently illegal business practice should be grand fathered into a legal business; notwithstanding the practitioners lack of formal training, and inability or fear of attempting to meet a growing national standard of practice.
In the medical professions, there are ten boards: physician, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, veterinary, chiropractor, psychologist, podiatrist, physical therapist, and optometrist. Given our very small community, it is both extremely expensive and logically impractical to provide these boards with the support provided by a state. Furthermore, according to the Pew Foundation, medical boards are primarily exclusionary, operating to keep practitioners from coming into a region and challenging existing providers economically and technically.
Ancillary to the medical professions and running the risk of impacting the community's health, are a gaggle of occupations as varied as x-ray technologist and laboratory technician, to tattoo artist and masseur/ masseuse. While many of these ancillary or allied health occupations are well recognized as necessary to the practice of medicine, others gain and lose popularity depending upon public opinion at the time.
Commissioner Andy Rutnik is said to be considering another board to regulate massage therapists. His decision may be made a lot easier considering that there already exists a board within the Department of Health charged by law to regulate massage therapy. According to V.I. Code no. 27VIC165: "'Physical Therapy' means treatment of a human being by the use of exercise, massage, . . . for the purpose of correcting or alleviating any physical or mental condition or preventing the development of any physical or mental disability, or the performance of tests as an aid to the diagnosis or treatment of any human condition . . . " Furthermore, "(1) In order to become a physical therapist and practice physical therapy one must obtain "60 academic credits or equivalent from a recognized college including courses in biological and physical sciences, or a diploma from an accredited school of professional nursing, and (2) completion of accredited course in physical therapy education which meets the standards of the board (Physical Therapy Board 27VIC165c)"
The national requirement of 700 hours or an infinate number of hours of doing something does not mean the person understands all the ramifications of their actions, nor does it guarantee they are doing the procedure correctly.
A college freshman studies at least 500 contact hours before moving onto their sophomore year. "Profession" and "Professional" mean extended education by definition. Medical professionals have a minimum of eight years of extended education. Nursing professionals have a minimum of four years of extended education and teaching professionals have from four to six years of extended education. Nurses and teachers begin working at about $20 per hour. Masseurs, masseuse, bodyworkers, etc. appear to charge around $60 per hour.
There is a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, which requires a minimum of 500 class hours from an accredited school. (www.ncbtmb.com/handbook/handbk1.htm# Who is Eligible) Those who have been working at the occupation without this minimum education may apply for Portfolio Review where their experience will be evaluated.
When the applicant has completed the didactic portion of their training, they must pass the National Certification Examination in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. In order to maintain certification, the practitioner must engage in continuing education and active practice.
The use of a national standard for practice is economically feasible, is not exclusionary, leaves the economic marketplace to decided who prospers and who fails, and insures all Virgin Islanders of a minimal level of practitioner training and experience.
This approach should be used with all applicable occupations as opposed to the practice of developing local rules and regulations to guarantee employment of special interest groups and politically astute individuals regardless of their understanding and skill in their craft. The mission of licensing and occupation regulation should be that of protecting the public and insuring an optimal standard level of practice.

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Over the years, various occupations have sprung up in our relatively small community which have been licensed by government fiat. Some, such as medical practices, have been relegated to boards controlled by the various occupation being licensed. Others, due to their rarity or seemingly lack of danger to the community, have been given a rather general license more like a government surcharge for doing business.
The question currently revolves around massage therapists and whether or not an apparently illegal business practice should be grand fathered into a legal business; notwithstanding the practitioners lack of formal training, and inability or fear of attempting to meet a growing national standard of practice.
In the medical professions, there are ten boards: physician, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, veterinary, chiropractor, psychologist, podiatrist, physical therapist, and optometrist. Given our very small community, it is both extremely expensive and logically impractical to provide these boards with the support provided by a state. Furthermore, according to the Pew Foundation, medical boards are primarily exclusionary, operating to keep practitioners from coming into a region and challenging existing providers economically and technically.
Ancillary to the medical professions and running the risk of impacting the community's health, are a gaggle of occupations as varied as x-ray technologist and laboratory technician, to tattoo artist and masseur/ masseuse. While many of these ancillary or allied health occupations are well recognized as necessary to the practice of medicine, others gain and lose popularity depending upon public opinion at the time.
Commissioner Andy Rutnik is said to be considering another board to regulate massage therapists. His decision may be made a lot easier considering that there already exists a board within the Department of Health charged by law to regulate massage therapy. According to V.I. Code no. 27VIC165: "'Physical Therapy' means treatment of a human being by the use of exercise, massage, . . . for the purpose of correcting or alleviating any physical or mental condition or preventing the development of any physical or mental disability, or the performance of tests as an aid to the diagnosis or treatment of any human condition . . . " Furthermore, "(1) In order to become a physical therapist and practice physical therapy one must obtain "60 academic credits or equivalent from a recognized college including courses in biological and physical sciences, or a diploma from an accredited school of professional nursing, and (2) completion of accredited course in physical therapy education which meets the standards of the board (Physical Therapy Board 27VIC165c)"
The national requirement of 700 hours or an infinate number of hours of doing something does not mean the person understands all the ramifications of their actions, nor does it guarantee they are doing the procedure correctly.
A college freshman studies at least 500 contact hours before moving onto their sophomore year. "Profession" and "Professional" mean extended education by definition. Medical professionals have a minimum of eight years of extended education. Nursing professionals have a minimum of four years of extended education and teaching professionals have from four to six years of extended education. Nurses and teachers begin working at about $20 per hour. Masseurs, masseuse, bodyworkers, etc. appear to charge around $60 per hour.
There is a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, which requires a minimum of 500 class hours from an accredited school. (www.ncbtmb.com/handbook/handbk1.htm# Who is Eligible) Those who have been working at the occupation without this minimum education may apply for Portfolio Review where their experience will be evaluated.
When the applicant has completed the didactic portion of their training, they must pass the National Certification Examination in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. In order to maintain certification, the practitioner must engage in continuing education and active practice.
The use of a national standard for practice is economically feasible, is not exclusionary, leaves the economic marketplace to decided who prospers and who fails, and insures all Virgin Islanders of a minimal level of practitioner training and experience.
This approach should be used with all applicable occupations as opposed to the practice of developing local rules and regulations to guarantee employment of special interest groups and politically astute individuals regardless of their understanding and skill in their craft. The mission of licensing and occupation regulation should be that of protecting the public and insuring an optimal standard level of practice.