AMBP News

Upcoming Michgan Massage License Deadline

If you have already obtained your Michigan massage therapy license, you can disregard this reminder.

All massage therapists in Michigan are required to have a Michigan massage therapy license by November 29, 2014 in order to practice. If you do not have your license by November 29, 2014, you cannot practice massage in Michigan until you get your license. This is not the application deadline; it is the deadline to have your license in hand. The processing time for applications can be several months. Therefore, you should apply for your license now in order to be sure that you will have your license by the November 29 deadline. Don’t delay!

Click here for the license application and instructions.

You can apply by grandfathering prior to November 29, 2014. There is no “automatic” grandfathering – you must apply to be grandfathered in.

You can apply by grandfathering if:

(1) you were a member of ABMP for at least one full year prior to January 9, 2009, or
(2) you took and passed the MBLEx exam or an NCBTMB exam, or
(3) you have practiced massage therapy for an average of at least 10 hours per week for the past 5 years, or
(4) you have practiced massage therapy for an average of at least 10 hours per week for the past 3 years and you completed at least 300 hours of massage therapy coursework at an approved school, or
(5) you completed 500 hours of a Board-approved supervised curriculum in massage therapy.

 

After November 29, 2014, in order to qualify for a license you must have:

(1) completed 500 hours of a Board-approved supervised curriculum in massage therapy,

AND

(2) taken and passed the MBLEx exam or an NCBTMB exam.

Different requirements apply if you hold a current massage license issued by another state. Also, if your practice is limited to one or more of the following modalities, you are not required to obtain a Michigan massage therapy license:

  • The Feldenkrais method
  • The Trager approach
  • Polarity or polarity therapy
  • Asian bodywork therapy
  • Reiki.
  • Shiatsu.
  • Reflexology, or
  • Structural integration.

If you submitted your application more than 3 months ago but have not yet received your license, you should check the status of your application at http://www2.dleg.state.mi.us/appstatus/, or contact the Michigan Board of Massage directly at (517) 335-0918 or bhpinfo@michigan.gov.

Renewals: All Michigan massage licenses will expire on October 31, 2014, no matter when the license was issued. The Board will mail renewal information to your address on file three months before the expiration date. If you’ve recently moved, make sure the Board has your current mailing address. You must renew your license within 60 days after the expiration date, or your license will lapse. Your renewed license will be valid for three years. You will not need to complete any continuing education (CE) to renew in 2014, but there will be a CE requirement for subsequent renewals. The Board has not yet determined how many CE hours will be required.

Please contact nancy@abmp.com, or the Michigan Massage Board at (517) 335-0918 or bhpinfo@michigan.gov, with any questions.

AL Bill Would Clarify Exemptions to Massage License Requirement

Alabama House Bill 119 is currently pending in the Alabama State Senate. If passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor, the bill would make a number of changes to the Alabama Massage Therapy Licensure Act. Some of the most important changes would include:

  • Increasing the number of hours of massage education required for licensure from 500 to 650 (the Board increased the entry-level requirements to 650 hours by rule several years ago so this would simply update the statute).
  • Specifying that practitioners of accupressure, deep tissue therapy, neuromuscular therapy, and reflexology must obtain massage therapy licenses.
  • Exempting from the massage licensure requirement those people who practice only directed movement therapy including, but not limited to, the Feldenkrais method of somatic education, the Trager approach to movement education, the Rosen method, and body-mind centering; and energy field work including, but not limited to, Polarity Therapy, Reiki, Reflexology, Touch for Health, or Jin Shin Do, provided these services are not designated or implied to be massage or massage therapy.
  • Deleting the existing provision for temporary massage therapy permits. Temporary practice permits would no longer be available if HB 119 becomes law.

We will continue to keep you posted on the status of the bill.

Utah – Reflexology and Ortho-Bionomy Are Now Exempt from State Licensure

On April 1, 2014, Governor Herbert signed into law two bills which create new exemptions from the massage licensing law.

House Bill 207 provides that practitioners whose practices are limited to the manipulation of the soft tissues of the hands, feet, and outer ears, including practitioners of reflexology and foot zone therapy, are not be required to have a state massage therapy license, as long as:

(1) the practitioner is certified by and in good standing with an industry-recognized organization that represents a profession with established standards and ethics, and

(2) the client remains fully clothed from the shoulders to the knees.

House Bill 324 provides that practitioners whose practices are limited to the scope of practice of ortho-bionomy are not be required to have a state massage therapy license, as long as:

(1) the practitioner is certified to practice ortho-bionomy by, and is in good standing with, an industry-recognized organization that is approved by the Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing, in collaboration with the Board of Massage, and

(2) the client remains fully clothed from the shoulders to the knees.

These exemptions are now part of Utah’s Massage Therapy Practice Act, and are the law in Utah.  If you have questions, please contact Nancy Potter at nancy@abmp.com

A Minor Legislative Change is Adopted in Indiana

<p>Two bills, Senate Bill 348 and House Bill 1293, failed to pass the state legislature this year. The bills would have changed the current state certification (title protection) program, to a mandatory licensing (practice act) program. The bill would have also expanded the authority of the State Board of Massage Therapy by authorizing it to establish standards for the competent practice of massage therapy, approve massage therapy school curricula consistent with accepted national standards, and establish continuing education requirements. We expect a new bill to be introduced next year. </p>
<p><a href=”/downloads/SB0421-07-ENRS.pdf” target=”_blank”>Senate Bill 421</a> was signed into law by Governor Pence on March 25, 2014. The bill addresses several professional licensing matters, including one related to massage therapy (found on page 18 of SB 421). The bill removes the requirement that state certified massage therapists list the “State of Indiana” as an additional insured on their professional liability insurance. </p>
<p>Effective July 1,2014, Indiana CMT’s will still have to provide proof that they currently possess professional liability insurance but you will no longer have to list the “State of Indiana” as an additional insured.</p>

Con Artist Back to Targeting Massage Therapists, Making Advances

After Incarceration, Man Calling with Sham Job Offers and Stalking Practitioners Again

Update, March 31, 2014: ABMP has received reports from members in the Maryland/D.C. area that this man is back at it again. Using the same names—Steven Min, Steven Poe, Steven Sung, and Steven Yamamoto—he has begun soliciting individual massage therapists and their places of business again. He draws therapists in by offering a significant amount of money to work with “high rollers,” this time at the Rocky Gap Casino in Flintstone.

An alert was sent to therapists in April of 2011 as a notification that these happenings had occurred, and they could potentially happen again. We remind therapists to use caution and contact the authorities immediately if there is suspicious activity.

Update, April 27, 2011: Steven Min, also known as Steven Sung and Steven Yamamoto, is out of prison and harassing massage therapists again.

Last October, ABMP reported that Min had been arrested for impersonating a public servant. Min had posted a Craigslist ad soliciting massage therapists to work on high-profile guests at the Sands Casino and make a significant amount of money for every massage session. Under the guise of an interview, Min would invite massage therapists to a hotel room late at night to test their skills.

Several massage therapists reported very uncomfortable experiences, including sexual advances, and the job opportunities never came to fruition. After reporting the incident to police, one massage therapist said Min harassed her over the phone and online afterwards.

Ultimately, Min was incarcerated because he identified himself as a Pennsylvania Gaming Board member and an employee of the Sands Casino, and the impersonation was grounds for arrest. Many people in the massage profession expressed relief, as his tactics and actions were becoming more aggressive, and there was concern someone would eventually be hurt. However, it’s relevant to note he was not actually arrested for harassing massage therapists.

On April 25, 2011, ABMP received a report that Steven Min is back to his old tricks, at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Min has reportedly pulled this scam on massage therapists in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Nevada. ABMP cautions massage therapists to please be aware of such scams, protect themselves appropriately, and immediately report any misconduct to the local authorities.

Massage therapists in several states, including New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Nevada breathed a sigh of relief. Many massage therapists have corroborated
contacting massage therapists under the guise of alluring job offers. We received information that he’d been doing this for more than eight years.

This time he calls therapists and offers work in his spas and says that he would like a late-night meeting. It has also been reported that he is in New Jersey and has tracked down a therapist that he met the last time he was preying on our profession. The phone calls come late at night and early in the morning and are repetitive. The therapist who first reported this to me contacted the police who in response called him and told him to stop. This seems to have set off a rampage of web postings suggesting that the therapist has investigations against her and worse.

Update April 26, 2011: While Steven Min was arrested last September, it appears he’s out and back to his old tricks again, in Las Vegas. Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to see Barbara Potter’s latest report. He has typically targeted massage therapists in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Las Vegas. MTs, please be aware!

Update, March 27, 2010: We have received reports that this man has also pulled the same con on massage therapists in the South Florida area.

ABMP received the following letter from Meg Darnell, LMT , Director of Alumni Services, Swedish Institute. In the past, some ABMP members have been harassed by this individual. We take this warning very seriously and ask that you please pass on the information to other therapists.

March 2010
I am once again sending this to alert you of someone who has tried to prey on massage therapists in the past.

I am sorry to have to report that the man named Steven Sung, also known as Steven Min and Steven Yamamoto, who has been soliciting massage therapists with dubious get-rich schemes for the last eight years, is back on the scene.

This time he calls therapists and offers work in his spas and says that he would like a late-night meeting. It has also been reported that he is in New Jersey and has tracked down a therapist that he met the last time he was preying on our profession. The phone calls come late at night and early in the morning and are repetitive. The therapist who first reported this to me contacted the police who in response called him and told him to stop. This seems to have set off a rampage of web postings suggesting that the therapist has investigations against her and worse.

I am sending this email to as many therapists as I can reach, as well as to the New York State Board and the New Jersey Board of Massage Therapy, with the hope of reaching all massage therapists in our area. I am reaching out to a lawyer and an investigator who were both helpful the last time this man was contacting therapists. I am not sure what, if anything, can be done to stop this man.

While it may seem obvious to some, I am strongly suggesting that everyone ignore his phone calls. Do not engage, do not suggest that we know what he’s up to or try to stop him, as I believe it will cause more phone calls and harassment. Just ignore him. Originally he had just one phone number, but now it seems there are many and they are from New Jersey. These job offers are not legitimate and you may be at risk by responding to them. At one time I believed this man was harmless but have come to believe that he may be dangerous.

Many therapists from our school, as well as the schools in our surrounding area, have contacted me because they have seen or heard about the school’s warnings and did not respond to his solicitations. Some, unfortunately, have not heeded the warnings and have met with him–only to find that his offer amounts to nothing.

He is contacting therapists in the entire tri-state area. I implore you to ignore these solicitations and to pass this warning on to your colleagues.

As always, graduates, please remember to trust your instincts. If something feels funny or strange, listen to your wisdom. As a general rule, if something sounds too good to be true, it very well may be.

Meg Darnell, LMT
Director of Alumni Services, Swedish Institute
New York, NY

Minnesota Voluntary Credentialing Bill Fails

House File 1925 and Senate File 1792, the bills currently under consideration in the state legislature has had considerable legislative support but did not pass certain committees by deadline so the 2014 effort has failed. It is very likely that a new bill will be introduced next year. If passed, the bill would:

  • Create a voluntary credential – practitioners voluntarily choosing to register would be allowed to the use the very specific title:  Registered Massage and Bodywork Therapist, or RMBT.
  • RMBTs would be exempted from multiple mandatory city licenses for individual therapists, which has become such a burden for so many in our field. There are well over 5,000 massage therapists in Minnesota and most practice in multiple cities and too often go through a lengthy, time-consuming and costly process in every city they wish to work in.

While the bill had tremendous support from lawmakers of all political stripes in both the House and Senate, the chair of the first House committee refused to grant HF 1925 a hearing.

ABMP recently asked our MN members to contact their state legislators to voice their support for a voluntary state massage therapist credential (Senate File 1792 and House File 1925) and to please consider adding their name as a co-author. This legislative effort is dependent on legislators hearing from their constituents.

If you would like to read the bills in question, you can find them on the state website LINKED HERE. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at nancy@abmp.com or Jean Robinson at jean@abmp.com.

Kansas Bill to Require State Licensing of Massage Therapists Fails Again

Despite significant support from individual legislators, HB 2187 again failed to pass the Kansas Legislature. As in previous years, the bill would have set minimum training requirements, defined a scope of practice, provided an avenue for consumer complaints, and pre-empted local regulations. If passed, the bill would have required massage therapists to become licensed by the state under the Kansas State Board of Nursing, and would have established a Massage Therapy Advisory Committee to advise the Board in carrying out the provisions of the Act.

It is likely there will be a new bill in 2015; we will keep members informed.

Deadline is July 1, 2014 for License by Grandfathering in Idaho

If you have already obtained your Idaho Massage Therapist license, you can disregard this reminder.

All massage therapists in the state of Idaho must now have a State-issued massage license in order to practice.  The deadline to apply for your license by grandfathering is July 1, 2014.  There is no “automatic” grandfathering – you must apply to be grandfathered in.

Click here for the license application and instructions.

You can apply by grandfathering if:

(1) you are a current member of ABMP and have been a member for at least one year, or

(2) you took and passed the MBLEx exam or an NCBTMB exam, or

(3) you completed 500 hours of massage education at a registered school, or

(4) you have practiced massage therapy for an average of at least 5 hours per week for the past 3 years and you have 300 hours of formal training in massage, or

(5) you have practiced massage therapy for an average of at least 5 hours per week for the past 5 years and you have 200 hours of formal training in massage.

After July 1, 2014, in order to qualify for a license you must have:

(1) completed 500 hours of massage education at a registered school,

AND

(2) taken and passed the MBLEx exam, the NCETMB exam, or the NCETM exam. 

Different requirements apply if you hold a current massage license issued by another state.

Don’t delay!  Apply for your license now.  Please contact nancy@abmp.com, or the Idaho Massage Board at (208) 334-3233, with any questions.

CAMTC Sunset Hearing Report – March 11, 2014

A sunset review is a periodic assessment of state regulatory programs to determine whether or not they should be continued by the legislature. In 2008 the state legislature provided for the creation of a private, nonprofit corporation to issue voluntary certifications to qualified massage therapists. The California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) was established in February 2009. It is often compared to state regulatory agencies but it is not actually part of government. When the law was established, the legislature inserted a Sunset date with the purpose of re-evaluating the effectiveness of the certification program, just as they do with state regulatory programs. Without legislative action, CAMTC and its voluntary certification program will Sunset on December 31, 2014.

The first step in the evaluation process is a Sunset Hearing. CAMTC’s Sunset Hearing was held on March 10, 2014. Bob Benson, Chairman of ABMP, and Jean Robinson, Government Relations Director, attended the hearing and testified. Legislative staff prepared in advance of the hearing a background report for legislators based on information provided by CAMTC and other stakeholders. ABMP also provided a pre-hearing letter to the Sunset Committee. Read ABMP’s submission here.

ABMP’s view of the evaluation

There have always been pros and cons to having a private nonprofit organization fulfill a role traditionally reserved for state agencies. Political realities in 2008 drove the process toward this model; no other massage therapy regulatory approach was likely then to gain state approval. ABMP has been deeply invested and involved in CAMTC since its inception by providing (along with other organizations) a loan for start-up costs and appointing engaged, informed, and active individuals to serve on the CAMTC Board of Directors.

ABMP feels that CAMTC has been a success overall. Consumers are served by being able to distinguish therapists who have been vetted against meaningful education and behavioral standards. Educated, law abiding massage therapists gain appropriate recognition. Profession standards are clearly being raised as required under the founding law. Add it all up; it’s a highly constructive step forward for California therapists and consumers.

That acknowledged, the private, voluntary regulatory model was initially regarded as a stopgap approach. In addition, CAMTC management has gotten too comfortable with some interim organizational approaches and has been resisting management improvements appropriate for an organization gearing up for a long run. Consistent with the findings in the Committee report, we think it’s now time for California to join with 43 other states and create a state entity to oversee the mandatory licensing of all massage professionals. While the voluntary model has generally been successful, because it is not mandatory there are still two sets of rules for practitioners (those certified and those not) and two sets of rules for businesses (those using all certified practitioners and those that don’t). That’s confusing both for the public and for local government officials. Regulation is more effective when it’s required, more helpful for both those audiences. Mandatory regulation should be overseen by a state board or state agency, a Board of Massage Therapists, to provide direction.

ABMP believes it is time for California to transition to a regulatory model that most professionals are familiar with, that facilitates national portability for practitioners, and that local jurisdictions are used to working with. CAMTC has given the state a great head start by currently certifying more than 45,000 massage professionals, each of whom has been rigorously screened.

As you can see from reading Bob Benson’s testimony at the Sunset Hearing, we believe it is time for CAMTC to take a victory lap but give way to a state Massage Therapy Board. ABMP was far from alone in expressing this view at the Sunset Hearing. The Legislative staff report concluded that “The Committee may wish to discuss the relative merits of continuing the non-profit model of regulation, deregulating the industry completely, or transitioning to a board or bureau overseen by DCA (the California Department of Consumer Affairs).” None of the principal organizations testifying argued for a return to complete deregulation at the state level, while several advocated for switching to a state board within DCA.

Going forward

ABMP’s support for a transition to state regulation is conditioned upon a transition process in which every individual with then currently valid CAMTC certification would automatically be granted a state license. We will work hard to ensure that this principle is ingrained in any reform approach.

This Sunset process will advance through multiple further steps during 2014. The end resolution is unclear. We will keep ABMP members informed throughout the process.

Sincerely,

Jean Robinson
Director of Government Relations

Bill Proposes New Licensing and Registration Requirements

Bill Proposes New Licensing and Registration Requirements

Maryland HB 1157 was introduced in the state legislature this month by Delegate James Hubbard. If passed, the bill would change Maryland’s massage practice law by:

  1. Requiring that all license and registration applicants submit to a criminal history records check as part of their application;
  2. Specifying that the additional 60 hours that must be obtained from an institution of higher education in order to be licensed (but not registered) must include at least 24 hours in one or more of eight specified content areas, or the license applicant must have obtained 24 additional hours of continuing education in at least one of those content areas; and
  3. Increasing the number of hours required from an approved massage school from 500 hours to 600 hours, for both licensure and registration.

These changes would affect new applicants only.

ABMP supports the addition of a criminal background check requirement for massage therapy applicants. However, we are opposed to the state adding new complexity to its already complicated two-tiered massage law. Instead, ABMP has suggested that the legislature take this opportunity to do away with the two-tiered system altogether, and replace it with a simpler system comprised of one credential only: licensed massage therapist. Doing so would remove the unnecessary distinction between therapists who do and do not work in “health care settings,” would provide one clear title for the public, and would streamline administrative procedures for the Board staff.

ABMP also believes that any increase in the entry-level hours requirement should be supported by actual research. To that end, we are advocating for a standard which would require new applicants to complete a 625 hour massage program, which is in line with the results of the Entry-Level Analysis Project’s (ELAP) extensive research into the educational hours needed to ensure safe, competent entry-level practice. To read the final ELAP report concerning entry level hours, click here.

Click here to read ABMP Director of Government Relations Jean Robinson’s recent letter to Delegate Hubbard regarding HB 1157.

We will continue keep you informed of developments on HB 1157.

 

 

 

Massage Coalition Releases Statement on Entry-Level Analysis Project

On February 3, 2014, the Coalition of National Massage Therapy Organizations (Coalition, members detailed below) shared this group statement supporting the Entry-Level Analysis Project (ELAP) in anticipation of the project’s publication later this month.

ELAP is a research project initiated by the Coalition in March 2012. The project goals were to use data to define knowledge and skill components of entry-level education and recommend the minimum number of hours schools should teach to prepare graduates for safe and competent practice in the massage profession. After work was completed in December 2013, the project work group submitted two documents to Coalition representatives—The Core: Entry-Level Analysis Project Report (the Final Report) and The Core: Entry-Level Massage Education Blueprint (the Blueprint). These documents describe ELAP work group data analysis processes, procedures, findings, and recommendations for core learning objectives, outcomes, and teaching hours.

The Core: Entry-Level Analysis Project Report and The Core: Entry-Level Massage Education Blueprint will be available to download from www.elapmassage.org on February 10, 2014. ABMP will be in touch again on that date.

Download the Coalition statement here

Coalition of National Massage Therapy Organizations includes:
Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE)
American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)
Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP)
Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)
Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)
Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF)
National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB)