Category — California State Massage Therapy Certification
by Tiahna Skye
Regulating massage therapy in Petaluma is rife with questions and issues, and demands the serious attention it has been given… and more.
What should we be regulating? What are the possible unintended results? Will legitimate massage therapists be adversely impacted while attempting to restrict prostitution? And how do we oversee the healthy growth of massage therapy as the next advancement in collaborative health care?
I am concerned that the goal of establishing quality controls, educational requirements, and best practice standards is getting lost in a “power struggle” while the dialogue between law enforcement, the community, and massage therapists deteriorates.
Many currently practicing massage therapists want a more lenient local regulation that would create a “grandfather clause”, separate from the new State permit requirements set forth by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC). A clause of this nature would allow these working massage therapists to continue practicing in town without the need for additional education. The argument has been made that those with less than 100 hours of massage specific education have historically provided good care, and should not be subject to additional burdensome requirements.
CAMTC was founded by massage therapists to regulate our own field. The requirements set forth were agreed upon by a large and diverse group of massage, law enforcement, and other health care professionals seeking to define standards of expertise in the interest of public health and safety. Additionally, the hope was that these efforts would further the recognition of massage therapy as a legitimate and valuable health service.
The reality is that even if Petaluma chooses to adopt CAMTC requirements, California still has one of the lowest requirements of any state in the country. Massage therapy has become part of the medical field, and as such, there needs to be definition of the training, practices and ethics of the field. The public has a right to know that the therapy they seek for pain relief or injury rehabilitation is going to be performed by a skilled therapist with in-depth knowledge of applicable techniques, benefits and contraindications.
While I appreciate the City of Petaluma is striving to support the ongoing success of local businesses, I think it is important to also consider the profession in terms of emerging national standards and changing regulatory landscape.
No one opinion or constituency comes out the sole “winner” in this current version of the ordinance. I do believe however, that it addresses the issues well. For example, dictating a specific, professional dress code is unnecessary for lawful massage therapy businesses. Having been a massage therapist for 35 years, I have seen the field change and gain public recognition as a legitimate health service. It is a bit disheartening that we still must deal with any misperceptions as being entangled with the adult entertainment industry.
Nevertheless, I think it is important to remember, as we consider this ordinance, that the city and law enforcement are responding to valid issues of prostitution, and did not create this unfortunate circumstance. While I personally find denigrating the need for a dress code stipulating such things as opaque clothing, I recognize the need to take such measures is a result of the fact that illegal businesses use massage as a front for prostitution.
There are some who feel burdened by the need to meet the hourly educational requirements of the CAMTC certification. I know without a doubt that there are many current massage therapists who do perform a wonderful massage with only 100 or 150 hours of training. I was able to start my own career with 120 hours of training. That said, it is also a fact that at this time the public has no means of distinguishing between those who provide massage designed purely for relaxation, from those who practice therapeutic, issue-related massage techniques.
Regardless of training and experience, we all fall under one heading, Massage Therapist. Because of that I feel strongly that it is important to establish minimum education requirements that ensure public health and safety. As an educator in the field, I am committed to elevating the standing of our profession. To that end, National Holistic Institute offers support in the provision of free continuing education courses to help local practicing massage therapists achieve their permitting requirements, and hopefully alleviate some of the sense of burden they might feel.
I wish that I could say that as a community we had reached consensus about this ordinance. Unfortunately we did not arrive at that destination. My hope is that despite our differing views, we can rise above our individual wants and agree to the steps necessary to further our profession and support our local law enforcement in having the tools they need to ensure the safety of our entire community.
In the end, I think we all want the same things.
We would like to offer legitimate massage therapy services that provide support for the health and well being of those we serve. We would like to live and work in a community that is safe and free from crime. We would like to stand as professionals in the field of massage therapy and be recognized as legitimate and respectable. We would like the freedom to earn a livelihood through the means of our talents and skills. And, we would like to have a sense of belonging and meaningful contribution in the community in which we live and work. I think the city’s proposed ordinance meets those goals and I am in favor of approving it.
~ written by Tiahna Skye, Petaluma campus manager of the National Holistic Institute, a massage therapy school with locations in Emeryville, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose and Southern California. For more information about NHI, visit us at www.nhi.edu
What are your thoughts on the topic? Let us know in the comments below!
February 14, 2013 No Comments
NHI Graduate Frankie Menzel won the 2012 NHI/Biofreeze AMTA Convention Scholarship. Read about his achievement here in Massage Magazine. Below is Frankie’s take on what the award meant to him.
This is the second year that NHI and Biofreeze have teamed up to offer the Melissa Wheeler Scholarship, which sends a student or graduate from NHI to the AMTA National Convention. The scholarship was created last year when the AMTA was recognizing our very own Melissa Wheeler as Teacher of the Year! The scholarship is open to any student or grad from any of the seven NHI campuses, where only one is chosen. I had to apply.
My name is Frankie, and I recently graduated from the Advanced Program in July from the Emeryville campus. My experience with attending NHI has been full, and I have loved every minute of it. I found myself in an atmosphere that was so conducive to learning, with an amazing support system. The campus, staff and students alike, radiated such positive energy, that it propelled me forward day after day, giving me a feeling of accomplishment. I craved more.
NHI has been so supportive in and out of the classroom. I am very grateful that I have been given many opportunities, and I made sure that I was not going to limit myself. I took every one that was put in my path.
This was the second year that I applied for the scholarship. I obviously did not receive it last year, but the way I saw it, I had nothing to lose. I applied again this year, again throwing my chances up into the universe to see what would manifest. Little did I know the feelings and emotions that I would soon be experiencing.
I was in a parking lot when my cell phone rang. Melissa Wheeler was on the other end. “Frankie…..” she said. I could tell from the tone of her voice that the news was good. I was excited beyond belief, and in total shock. I have NO idea what the next 20 minutes of our conversation included, all I remember is that my face hurt from the smile that was smeared on my face from one ear to the next….I felt as though I had won the lottery. I was going to the AMTA National Convention!
December 20, 2012 No Comments
Growing up we always knew when Summertime was officially coming to an end. We could feel it in the weather, the change in the leaves, and when our parents would take us back-to-school shopping for clothes and supplies. None of us are the same, so we probably all reacted differently to going back to school. Some of us were excited to start a new school year, learn new things, meeting our teacher and classmates. Then there were those of us who didn’t feel that way, because going back to school meant going to bed early, waking up early, taking tests, reading and group projects, yikes. But at that time we were young and we had to go to school. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
Well, most of us aren’t in elementary school anymore, and as adults, if we choose to go back to school, we get to decide what we study. So find out what you’re passionate about, start looking into it, find the right school for you, and get educated. There is no better time than the present to take initiative and make an investment in your future.
As an admissions counselor at National Holistic Institute, a school of massage therapy, I have the pleasure of meeting people right from the beginning, while they are researching schools and finding out what kind of education they want. I enjoy listening to the different reasons why people are looking into massage therapy. Whether they have always enjoyed giving massage to family and friends, or simply know that they want to help heal people, they are going to be a part of a respected profession and a growing industry.
Speaking of the industry, let’s take a look at the facts, because whether we are good at math or not, we all like to see numbers when it comes to the job outlook. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment for massage therapists is expected to grow by 20% from 2010-2020. This is faster than the average for all occupations! And it’s only going to increase as more and more people become aware the of many health benefits of massage therapy.
So whether you are eighteen and looking to take the next step in your adult life, thirty something searching for a new, exciting career, or someone seeking the opportunity to learn a highly in demand skill, then massage therapy may just be your thing! Just know that you are not alone in this journey, we will be there to support you from the moment you take your first tour, massage your first client, pass your final exams, and even as a graduate. We’re just awesome like that because we know you’re important and making a difference in the world.
So what will your next endeavor be as the new season approaches? What are your goals, your aspirations? Do you want a rewarding career helping people? If so, pick up the phone and give us a call. We’ll be more than happy to show you how you can have work you will love for the rest of your life.
National Holistic Institute
October 3, 2012 1 Comment
Love massages? Love holidays? How awesome would a massage holiday be?
The State Assembly has declared January 12, 2012, “California Massage Therapy Awareness Day!”
Just over two years ago, state-recognized certification began through the California Massage Therapy Council. With over 27,000 CAMTC-certified massage professionals to date, the California State Assembly is recognizing the strength of the massage therapy profession by naming a whole day in our honor.
California Assemblyman Bill Berryhill, Vice Chairman of the Assembly Business & Professions Committee, is arranging the resolution (Assemblymembers Hayashi, Ma and Butler signed/co-authored). He will present a framed copy of the resolution to Melissa Colburn, California Chapter President of the American Massage Therapy Association, and Patricia Rusert Gillette, AMTA-CA Greater Sacramento Area Unit President, on the Floor of the Assembly on Thursday, January 12th, during Assembly Session.
Professional members of the AMTA-CA chapter from the area who are CAMTC-certified will be providing complimentary chair massages to the public. John Lambert, an NHI teacher and graduate, will be among them.
National Holistic Institute is proud to take part and see our profession officially honored by the State of California!
January 12, 2012 No Comments
It’s Time to Get Re-Certified | The California Massage Therapy Council’s Massage Therapy Certification
The California Massage Therapy Council has existed for just 2 short years. Within that time over 20,000 massage therapists have reaped the benefits the CAMTC certification has offered. The best benefit in my opinion is the flexibility to work in more than one city or county and not have to get multiple permits to do so.
At one time I would have had to get 3 permits to work in 3 cities that were 5 minutes from my door step. The cost would have been in the thousands, and would cut into my profit margin severely. Since I’ve been CAMTC certified I have gladly only paid for my certification and business license and been perfectly happy spending the extra money on myself!
So why am I writing about this now? It’s time to recertify! I just received my notice in the mail. In the 2 years since I received my certification over 30,000 therapists have applied for CAMTC certification.
Another reason is that Assembly Bill 619 just passed and was signed into law by the Governor of California. There are several changes implemented with this bill, but one of most importance to CAMTC certified therapists is that you are now required to use the name on your certificate and your certification number on any and all advertisements you use. You must also display your name and certification number at your place of business.
For more information on AB 619 go to www.amta-ca.org and click on the State Legislation tab. If you are interested in recertification or want to get more information on being CAMTC certified; go to www.camtc.org . Now I’m off to fill out my application and continue to utilize the benefits of my CAMTC certification!
John Lambert, CAMTC #278
August 9, 2011 No Comments
Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Program (ANMT) at the National Holistic Institute (NHI) Massage Therapy School ‘Wows’ Students and Employers
Our 400 hour Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Program has been growing rapidly since Cynthia Ribeiro (AMTA President-Elect) formulated the curriculum with NHI from her own popular Advanced Neuromuscular courses. The program builds on the skills and knowledge that students who completed a comprehensive massage therapy program have already aquired. This extra education puts graduates ahead of the competition and prepares them to be confident and knowledgeable in massage positions that require a deeper understanding of the science and anatomy behind massage therapy.
Hear from our graduates and instructors as they give you their personal perspective on how the program can open doors
Graduates of the Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Program will be able to evaluate and differentiate between myofascial pain or dysfunction, as opposed to injury, and to employ effective techniques to address these issues with significant client results. They will be able to work as Massage Therapists in Pain Management settings such as Hospitals, Doctors’ offices, Physical Therapists’ offices, Rehabilitation Centers, in high-end spas and resorts, with sports teams and Sports Medicine settings, and as private practitioners with independent or referral-based clients.
To learn more about the program or contact an Admissions Representative,
Call (800) 315-3552
August 3, 2011 No Comments
NHI Leads the Conversation on Career Placement, Massage Certification and Best Practices for Massage Therapy Education at the AMTA Schools Summit
What makes a massage school successful? National Holistic Institute panelists shared many secrets for success at last week’s American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) School Summit. San Jose Campus Manager Beth McNeil moderated a spirited discussion among audience members and Vice-President of Education Linda Rikli, Petaluma Campus Manager Tiahna Skye, Vice-President of Admissions Jennifer Jhanda, Admissions Manager Raquel Rodriguez, and Dean of Students Ron Peat. NHI President Tim Veitzer cheered on from the audience. Hot topics included student retention methods, admissions policies for special circumstances, faculty training, and maintaining consistency across multiple campuses.
Several audience members expressed difficulties trying to place graduates while dealing with often slow state licensing processes. NHI representative and California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) Board Member Joe Bob Smith explained how this wasn’t a problem in California since [Read more →]
February 24, 2011 1 Comment
A couple of recent headlines show the growing strength of the massage therapy profession.
First, Massage Today reports the breaking news that Governor Schwarzenegger has vetoed AB1822. Sponsored by the California Police Chiefs Association, this bill originally would have eliminated state-recognized certification. In its diluted final draft, it would have added two law enforcement officials to the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) Board, an unprecedented act for a professional board in the state of California. The bill will need 2/3 vote to pass now, a bar it’s unlikely to achieve. The governor’s veto recognizes the size, voice and respectability of the massage therapy profession. Click Here for the full article.
Also in the news, the Los Angeles Times ran a story about how a single massage can boost the immune system. This story appeared in several media outlets and highlighted research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Click Here for the full article.
Thanks to the many individuals and organizations whose support of research and lobbying help make better working conditions for all massage therapists.
October 5, 2010 No Comments
AB 1822, a bill currently before the California Senate, would considerably weaken and potentially jeopardize state certification for massage therapy.
A vote could come any day, so we must ACT NOW!
- An email can be sent to all Senators through this link – http://www.massagetoday.com/bill1822/stop_ab1822.php
- Here is the latest news story about what’s going on – http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14280
In writing to the Senators, please highlight the following points:
- Vote NO on AB 1822!
- Legitimate massage therapists have a right to work without being looked upon as criminals.
- State certification protects the public better than the previous patchwork of local ordinances.
Everyone, please write in; tell a hundred of your closest friends to write in; and let’s keep state certification alive and strong!!
August 18, 2010 No Comments
On September 1, 2009, California joined 42 other states in providing state-wide regulations for the massage therapy profession. National Holistic Institute celebrated this tremendous achievement by hosting a series of Grad Nights at all of our campuses. The purpose of these events was to help our graduates understand and apply for the new California State Certification. Over 230 grads attended – and we’re only 1 month into State Certification!
Thanks to Placement Manager Allison McLeod Budlong and her amazing Placement Team, attendees were able to [Read more →]
October 12, 2009 No Comments
Last Thursday, the National Holistic Institute campus in Encino opened its doors to the California Massage Therapy Council – the organization charged with creating the voluntary statewide massage certification for California. The board meeting covered such topics as credentialing and the proposed application process. As the September 1 start approaches, refer to this blog for breaking news.
May 20, 2009 No Comments
Mason Myers, co-owner of the National Holistic Institute, hopes his new role on the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) will help cut through the governmental red tape that has plagued professional massage therapists in California.
Appointed by the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS) to voice massage education issues, Mr. Myers was elected treasurer during the Council’s inaugural meeting on February 19, 2009. He will work alongside appointees from the California chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association, (AMTA-CA); Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP); California counties, cities, colleges, and Department of Consumer Affairs; as well as other affiliated parties.
“State certification will provide California massage therapists a more practical and affordable solution than the current patchwork of local licensing. Ensuring the same standards for all therapists across the state will further elevate the reputation of the massage profession and improve consumer confidence,” declares Mr. Myers.
The California Massage Therapy Council is a non-profit organization ordained by the State of California to oversee the issuance of state-wide massage therapist certifications. State certifications will begin being issued sometime after September 1, 2009. Stay tuned to this blog for more information as that time approaches.
March 3, 2009 No Comments
On Monday, the Los Angeles Times Health section ran a cover story discussing the upcoming California state massage certification. The article also points out some of the medical benefits massage promotes. Click here to read the complete article.
February 11, 2009 No Comments
On Saturday, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 731 into law, at long last providing state certification for massage therapy here in California!
Don’t tear up your local permits just yet. Certifications will not be issued until at least September 1, 2009. Between now and then, a governing board must be created to develop policies and establish the necessary infrastructure. The law only defines the general terms; we must wait for this new Massage Therapy Organization (MTO) to flesh out the details.
This is a voluntary certification. So, if you’re happy with your current local status, then you don’t have to do it. However, those who do get a state certification can practice anywhere in the state without having to secure massage therapy licenses from individual cities or counties. But, considering 83% of respondents to a recent ABMP poll were in favor of the state law, it’s likely that many cities and counties eventually will stop issuing their own local licenses in favor of the state certification.
The ABMP’s Bob Benson says, “While highly imperfect, and some distance from the original legislative draft, SB 731 appears to solve a huge problem with the practice of massage within California. This law looks at bona fide massage therapists as professionals, not as suspect providers of illicit services. Those electing to become certified will be able to have their qualifications vetted by a knowledgeable massage organization rather than by local police departments. Discriminatory zoning rules singling out massage therapists could no longer be enforced against individuals certified by this new massage organization.”
The law defines a massage therapist as having 500 hours or more of training, but makes accommodations for those currently working who may have fewer hours of formal education than that. Some of your heads may be spinning with questions right now. I recommend holding off until we know more. As the MTO takes shape and more specifics fall into place, this blog will keep you informed.
Many people have worked years to make this happen. Among them, we’d like to thank the AMTA, ABMP, Massage Envy, the California Chiropractic Association and State Senator Jenny Oropeza who sponsored the bill.
September 29, 2008 No Comments
Curious about the California state massage certification bill? Having fully passed out of the legislature after many years, it is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. Unfortunately, he has vowed to sign no bills until the state budget has passed. We’re crossing our fingers that the budget and subsequently the massage bill are signed soon. Assuming that happens, we could have a state certification as soon as September 1, 2009.
While this bill does not solve all problems, it’s a good start. Of course, some opposition remains. Mainly, those opposed prefer little to no regulation and/or training hour requirements below 500 hours. Without debating the merits of those arguments, that doesn’t seem to be a realistic option.
Let’s look at a couple of examples to demonstrate my point. I could make a case that there are advantages to driving on the left-hand side of the road as they do in England. But, since the rest of our country drives on the right-hand side of the road, it would be costly, time-consuming, difficult, and dangerous to convert everyone to my line of thinking. Similarly, Betamax and VHS once fought it out to be the standard for videotapes. By all accounts, Betamax was the better technology. But for better or worse, the people went with VHS.
Thirty-nine states regulate massage, with more doing so each year. The national standard for training in those states is 500 hours, but that too is increasing. New York and Nebraska are already at 1,000 hours. Additionally, the federal government requires a minimum of 600 hours to receive federal student loans and even more training hours to be eligible for federal grants. So, regardless of whether you like the idea of regulating massage or agree with the 500-hour minimum, that’s where the tide is going.
Massage in California is already regulated, just not uniformly. Every city or county decides and enforces its own rules. This practice continues even as we look toward a future with state certification. Just this week I was interviewed on the subject by a reporter for the San Bernardino County Sun. He was researching an article about the city of Fontana recently upgrading their massage requirements to 600 hours. You can read about it below:
While state regulation may not solve all problems (and may even create a few new ones), the current regulation patchwork is a disaster for the vast majority of massage therapists across the state. Paying for multiple licenses, meeting different requirements, and increased competition from better trained therapists are just three of the many issues faced now by therapists. Let’s hope the state bill becomes effective soon for the benefit of all!
September 9, 2008 2 Comments