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Massage Today
November, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 11

The Ugly Quilt Grows

By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB

Another patch has been added to the ugly patchwork quilt of massage regulation. This time the great state of New York has passed an amendment to their massage law restricting free trade and interstate commerce in continuing education.

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork did the right thing by opposing it. American Massage Therapy Association lobbied in favor of it.

I hope all you New York therapists feel you get your money's worth out of the new mandatory continuing education fee of $45 at each renewal. (SB 5431, Section 6)

Further, to become a sponsor of continuing education in New York, one will have to pay a fee of $900. It will depend on how the administrative rules are drawn up if each presenter has to pay $900 or if one sponsor can host multiple presenters. Either way, but especially if the former, the fee along with the administrative expenses of the inevitable paperwork will all be priced into the cost of seminars in New York. Why would you do this to yourselves?

I loved New York. They had the guts to have a higher entry-level standard and to administer their own licensing exam. Plus, they required no continuing education for renewal. This is the way it should be. Therapists should take continuing education because they want to learn more skills to help more people, not because they are coerced to. The public is not being harmed because therapists do not take continuing education. The public is just being underserved. While this is causing a backlash against our profession and among other things keeps us from reaching our potential, the problem is really at the entry-level which is way too low and for the most part poorly executed. Treating the symptoms by legislating continuing education at a mere 12 hours a year is an allopathic approach and will be about as effective at elevating our profession as allopathic health care is at achieving wellness in the general population.

I still love you New York and all my colleagues there. The real point is: When is our profession going to stop punishing itself with poorly written, dysfunctional, punitive laws? The only hope I see is the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards development of a model massage law. This is a huge project and will take more time than it should because of the egos of this profession and the tyranny of the minorities, but it will be worth the wait. Until then, except for administrative necessity, the massage profession should stop adding to the patchwork quilt of lousy laws. When we have a well-written, model law that actually benefits our profession, while of course protecting the public, we can then go forward with a united effort, as most other alternative professions have done, and achieve beneficial regulation with portability and consistent standards.

Stop Politics as Usual

He who robs Peter to pay Paul will always have Paul's support. However, our society cannot go on indefinitely under the faulty assumption that everyone can live at the expense of his or her neighbors. This can only lead to an eventual catastrophic financial collapse - and that is well under way now. How's your business and family budget? The ruling class creates the current economic malaise, deliberately. If we keep sending them back to Washington they will continue to do the same thing - consolidate power and wealth for themselves and their major campaign contributors at our expense.

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.

Alexis de Tocqueville

It is believed that Professor Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor in the 1700s wrote: "The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependency back into bondage."

Where do you think we are on this scale now? Many believe we are on the next to the bottom rung, or near the "apathy to dependence" phase of the professor's theory with over 30 percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.

The only hope to turn this around is to get rid of the ruling class. The only peaceful way to do that is to vote out every incumbent at every election until we have working citizens instead of party hacks of the ruling class running our country. It will be painful, but not nearly as painful as the eventual alternative - tyranny.

What does this have to do with massage? The reality is that your patient's freedom of choice in health care, their freedom to chose to come to you, can only exist in a free society. Tyrants want control of your health care because the government that controls the health of its people controls its people. The existence of massage as therapy, delivered by independent first-door providers depends on preserving freedom of choice in health care. That freedom is in great jeopardy at this moment. Do your part to preserve it. Throw out the ruling class - vote against every incumbent, forever.

As of November 2, the election season is over. I promise not to beat this drum again for two years.

Happy Holidaze

On a much happier note, the Holidaze will soon be upon us. As the Beatles sang - "Every year it's Christmas at the end of every year." Every major faith has a holiday during the 7 Sacred weeks. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all celebrate this time with respect, tolerance, love, and peace? My wish is that we can all be reading this column next year in a more healthy, prosperous, peaceful world. My sincere thanks to all of you who read this column. Happy shopping and may you sell lots of gift certificates - but remember, it's about something bigger than that.

Click here for more information about Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB.


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