Massage Today
Massage Today dotted line
dotted line

dotted line
Share |
  Forward PDF Version  
Massage Today
April, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 04

Oklahoma Introduces Massage Bill

By Kathryn Feather, Senior Associate Editor

On Feb. 4, Republican Rep. Denney Lee introduced to the Oklahoma legislature House Bill 3199, the Massage Therapy Practice Act, which provides licensure for the state's therapists and massage schools. Revised after some controversial language was removed, the bill will go into effect Oct. 1, 2008, if passed.

Under the original version of the bill, nonresident members of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) - and only the AMTA - would have been exempt from state oversight. This prompted the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) to express its concerns and objections over this word choice to AMTA Oklahoma chapter Government Relations Chair Scott Rayburn. ABMP also issued a statement to its members which read, in part, "[T]he language also exempting a practitioner described 'as a member of a nonprofit organization which is tax exempt under 26 United States Codes Annotated, Sec. 501(c) (Internal Revenue Code)' takes it a step too far. Because of the AMTA's technical tax status as tax exempt, AMTA members from out of state would be able to practice without a license in Oklahoma while other out-of-state practitioners could not. This is unacceptable and discriminatory." According to Rayburn and the AMTA, "We've modified the language in the bill to accommodate them. We struck that whole sentence regarding the tax-exempt status."

If passed in October, the bill establishes the creation of a seven-member Oklahoma Massage Therapy Advisory Committee under the authority of the Oklahoma State Board of Health. According to the bill, these seven members will be appointed as follows:

"Two members who shall be licensed massage therapists with at least three (3) years of massage therapy practice and who are actively engaged in the practice of massage therapy during the members' tenure shall be appointed by the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives for terms of four (4) years. ... Two members who shall be licensed massage therapists with at least three (3) years of massage therapy practice and who are actively engaged in the practice of massage therapy during the members' tenure shall be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the State Senate for terms of four (4) years. ... Three members shall be appointed by the Governor for terms of four (4) years as follows: a. one member shall be a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy with no financial interest, direct or indirect, in the profession of massage therapy ... b. one member shall be a licensed massage therapy school instructor ... c. one member shall be a member of the public who has not been licensed and has no financial interest, direct or indirect, in the profession of massage therapy."

Also according to the bill, the committee will serve to advise the board about "scope and standards of practice; licensure requirements, examination requirements, exceptions thereto, renewal requirements, temporary licensure and endorsement or reciprocity requirements; methods and requirements for ensuring the continued competence of licensed persons; grounds for probation, revocation or suspension of license and reinstatement provisions; fees; and other matters which may pertain to the practice of massage."

The bill also states that, "Individuals practicing massage under this act shall not perform any of the following: diagnosis of illness or disease; high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust; electrical stimulation; application of ultrasound; use of any technique that interrupts or breaks the skin; or prescribing medicines."

A woman enjoys a massage. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Emergency response is an increasingly important facet of the massage profession. The bill addresses the possibility that practitioners from other states could be present and offer massage services during an emergency. "Any nonresident person holding a current license, registration or certification in massage therapy from another state or recognized national certification system determined as acceptable by the Board when temporarily present in this state for the purpose of providing massage therapy services as part of an emergency response team working in conjunction with disaster relief officials or at special events such as conventions, sporting events, educational field trips, conferences, traveling shows or exhibitions."

The bill also stipulates certain bodywork practices that are exempted from the law including Asian bodywork, acupressure, jin shin do, qigong, reiki, shiatsu, tuina, polarity therapy, Rolfing, Hellerwork, soma neuromuscular integration, Feldenkrais, Rolf movement integration, Trager work and body-mind centering.

For more information or to view the revised text of the bill, visit www.okcoalition.org. Contact the AMTA at www.amtamassage.org and the ABMP at www.abmp.com.

 

Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreement
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.
comments powered by Disqus
dotted line