MLN Vol.14, No.1

Massage Law Newsletter

Vol. 14, No.1                                    ISSN 1073-5461                                      January 2000

THE PUBLIC SPENDS $2 TO $4 BILLON DOLLARS

 FOR MASSAGE ANNUALLY

CAUCASIAN MASSAGE THERAPISTS GET ABOUT 92 TIMES

 MORE OF THIS MONEY THAN AFRO-AMERICANS GET:

WHO WILL HELP MINORITY RACIAL AND ETHNIC GROUPS GET

 A MORE EQUITABLE SHARE OF ALL THAT MONEY? 

Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

The American Massage Therapy Association®  reports that people "spend between $2 and $4 billion dollars a year on visits to massage therapists." Another report, published in 1997, reveals the proportion of ethnic and racial massage therapists and bodyworkers who get the $2 to $4 billion dollars.

Table 3 in the 1997 report1 provides data on 1903 practitioners who responded to a survey. 1796 of the respondents indicated their racial/ethnic status on the questionnaire. Calculations of the racial/ethnic data reveal that

92.8% (1666 of the 1976 respondents) were Caucasian.

0.9% (17 of the 1976 respondents) were African-American


6.29%
(113 of the 1796 respondents) were classified as Asian or Asian-American, Hispanic or Latin-American, Native American or Indian, and Multiracial.

Table 5 in the report reveals that 79.6% (470 out of 1847 respondents) were women; 20.4% (377 of  the 1847 respondents) were men.

Adverse socio-economic effects of

state regulation, COMTA, and national

certification

In 1997, the year the Job Analysis was done, African-Americans made up 12.7% and Caucasians made up 82.7% of the U.S. population. Compare these percentages with the 0.9% Afro-Americans and 92.8% Caucasians who do massage and other kinds of bodywork

Caucasian massage therapists may therefore get approximately 92% or more of the $2 to $4 billion dollars that the public pays for massage annually. Afro-Americans may get less than 1.0%. Calculations for the other racial/ethnic groups give comparable information.

As more states regulate massage and bodywork and as regulatory requirements increase, it becomes increasingly costly in time and money for people to comply with all the regulatory requirements.  As  a result, fewer and fewer people, mostly women with limited financial resources, will be able to pay for massage and bodyworker training. Middle class Caucasians will get more and more of the money that the public spends  for massage and bodywork. Afro-Americans and members of other minority groups will get less and less.

In this report, I assume that all 1903 respondents did massage. Although this is not accurate, the inaccuracy is not of a magnitude that significantly changes the wide gap in the extent to which Caucasians versus Afro-Americans and other members of racial/ethnic groups benefit from the $2 to $4 billion dollars that the public spends for massage annually.

The 1997 report tells us that, "The top bodywork approach is Swedish Massage (practiced by 47.9% of respondents)." 901 respondents did Swedish Massage. 853 respondents did other kinds of massage. 14 did animal massage. Some kinds of massage, such as Lomi Lomi, were not designated as massage. I do not know how much money people spend annually for "table" Swedish Massage, for other kinds of massage, and for different bodywork modalities. But the fact remains that Caucasian women get most of that money. Members of other racial/ethnic groups get considerably less.

1. Job Analysis of Touch Therapists Practitioners. Technical Report. Conducted for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Prepared by Larry Newman, Ph.D., and Sridevi Nair, M.S. Assessment Systems, Inc. Bala Cynwyd, PA. 1997.

A LETTER  TO CLAUDE J. GAGNON. PRESIDENT,

AMTA COUNCIL OF SCHOOLS

Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

I have read the "COS Mission" and "COS Goals" in the brochure "Your Invitation to Join  The American Massage Therapy Association®  COUNCIL OF SCHOOLS." The COS Goals include the following: "To support excellence and innovation in massage therapy education and inspire new educational methods, models and programs." The following questions request evidence about whether COS is achieving its stated goals.

How does COS define "'excellence' in massage education," and how does COS evaluate that "excellence"? What "innovation in massage therapy education" has COS introduced? What "new educational methods, models and programs" has COS introduced?

What criteria has COS used to evaluate the "innovation in massage therapy education" which COS  has introduced? What criteria has COS used to evaluate the "new educational methods, models and programs" which COS has introduced?  In other words, how has COS determined the extent to which the "innovation in massage therapy education" and "new methods, models and programs," which COS introduced, have achieved their stated objectives?

What well-documented evidence does COS have that graduates of COS member schools, which have programs of 500 or more in-class hours, are more competent, do better quality massage, and have clients who are more satisfied than graduates of schools which are not members of COS but have programs of 500 or more in-class hours?

What well-documented evidence does COS have that the public is better served by graduates from COS member schools than by graduates from schools, with programs of 500 or more in-class hours, that are not members of COS?

What well-documented evidence does COS have that the public is better served by graduates from COS member schools than by massage therapists who are in states which do not regulate massage therapists, who have not graduated from COMTA-accredited schools, and who have not passed the national certification examination?

The COS Goals also include the following: "To encourage and advance research in the theory and application of massage therapy." Specifically, what such "research in the theory and application of massage therapy" has COS "encouraged and advanced"? What are the results of that research? How have those results been evaluated? What did the evaluations report?

COS's Value Statement reads as follows. "COS values the dignity and worth of all persons regardless of age, race, ethnicity, culture, creed, sexual orientation, gender, ableness and/or health status."

In view of COS's Value Statement, which refers specifically to race and ethnicity, what is COS doing to enable more Afro-Americans and members of other racial and ethnic groups to become massage therapists so they can earn an equitable share of the $2 to $4 billion dollars that the public is paying annually for massage?

Please give me permission to publish your reply in the Massage Law Newsletter on the internet <www/healingandlaw.com>. Thank you.

There are many laws in the United States that discriminate against the employment and advancement  of people who are outsiders, latecomers, and poor in resources. It is important to point out that these laws or rules  discriminate against certain people irrespective of race. However, because of their history in the U.S., blacks are disproportionately represented in the class of people described as outsiders, latecomers, and resourceless. - Walter Williams

A LETTER TO ROBERT JANTSCH. PRESIDENT,

PENNSYLVANIA CHAPTER OF AMTA

Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

The "AMTA Mission," stated in the 2000 Member Registry, "is ... to develop and advance the art, science and practice of massage therapy in a caring, professional and ethical manner in order to promote the health and welfare of humanity."

I would therefore appreciate your informing me about what the Pennsylvania Chapter of AMTA is doing to enable more Afro-Americans and members of other racial and ethnic groups to become massage therapists so they can earn an equitable share of the $2 to $4 billion dollars that the public is paying annually for massage? Statistics on this issue are presented below.

Please give me permission to publish your reply or sections of your reply in the Massage Law Newsletter on the internet <www/healingandlaw.com>.

Thank you.

A LETTER TO MAUREEN A. MOOR,

PRESIDENT OF AMTA

Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

The "AMTA Mission," stated in the 2000 Member Registry, "is ... to develop and advance the art, science and practice of massage therapy in a caring, professional and ethical manner in order to promote the health and welfare of humanity."

I would therefore appreciate your informing me about what is AMTA doing to enable more Afro-Americans and members of other racial and ethnic groups to become massage therapists so they can earn an equitable share of the $2 to $4 billion dollars that the public is paying annually for massage? Information about this problem is enclosed.

Please give me permission to publish your reply or  sections of your reply in the Massage Law Newsletter on the internet <www/healingandlaw.com>. Thank you.

SOME INTERESTING COMMENTS

The written examination excludes workers on the basis of characteristics that...are unrelated to ability as evaluated by the practical examination... Written licensing examinations...appear to be biased against the less educated, apprentices, blacks, [blind people] and non-natives. The implication is that the losses suffered by rejected applicants ...will be concentrated among these groups. - Dorsey

In an advanced society, important inequalities of knowledge and technical understanding multiply. Every citizen is incompetent in many areas... It does not follow that rule by experts is an intelligent response to the new inequalities. It is still wise to trust the ordinary wisdom of plain human beings on juries, in the voting booth, in the development of public dialogue, and in the ordinary decencies of daily living. So also, it would seem, a wise society trusts individuals to spend their hard-earned dollars as they judge best. - Miscall Nova

The usual arguments for licensure, and in particular the paternalistic arguments for licensure, are satisfied almost completely by certification alone. If the argument is that we are too ignorant to judge good practitioners, all that is needed is to make the relevant information available. If, in full knowledge, we still want to go to someone who is not certified, that is our business. - Milton Freedman

Licensing arrangements ...can be characterized less as methods for protecting the public and for providing external social control in the interest of the consumer than as a means for protecting the occupation's market dominance. Indeed, licensing has the unique quality of making a violation of the professional monopoly a punishable crime. - Haug

The great truth is never spoken directly, but anybody in that field with two bourbons in them will tell you that  these boards work primarily to protect the practitioners and have little or nothing to do with protecting the public. - Former Virginia state official

A rigid requirement, one that completely ignores the qualitative aspects of the individual's experience, appears to be more concerned with excluding 'outsiders', no matter how qualified, than with assuring consumers that 1icensed individuals are safe and effective practitioners. - Shimberg

When the right to practice a trade or profession depends not on personal initiative but also on the approval of some agency, ...the industry has laid the foundation for the exercise of monopoly power. No longer may anyone perform legal, medical accounting architectural  or other tasks. The first condition for a competitive society - freedom of entry - is gone. - J. K. Lieberman

It seems that proponents of licensing are hopeful that a state license would mean more money, status, and power. - Jerry A. Green, Attorney  for the California Coalition on Somatic Practices.

 I think the move toward licensure is regrettable. I believe licensing creates state-sanctioned monopolies ... with the explicit goal of  'protecting the public,' but with the real effect of protecting those who hold the monopolies' respective entitlements, reducing information to the public, and restricting competition. - Don Schwartz

IS IT TRUE THAT "MOST PEOPLE DON'T

KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOOD

OR BAD MASSAGE"?

Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

To:  Rhonda I. Whitener, Secretary of the North         Carolina AMTA Chapter

In your Letter to the Editor of the Massage Therapy Journal (38:3:18.1999), you wrote, "Most people do not know the difference between a good or bad massage... It  frightens me that there are people out there calling themselves massage therapists who have not had one hour of training."

I would appreciate your providing me with the following information.

1. How do you define a "good massage" and a "bad  massage"?

2. How do you differentiate between a good massage and a bad massage?

3. How do you know that ""most people don't know the difference between a good or bad massage"?

4. Why do you think that "most people don't know the difference between a good massage and a  bad massage"?

5. Approximately what percent of people are "most people"?

6. Approximately how many people, who call themselves massage therapists, have not had one hour of training?

7. How do you know they have not had one hour of training?

8. Why do they frighten you? Have they harmed any of their clients? If so, how serious was that harm?

9. What percent of massages are good and what percent are bad in states which do and do not regulate massage therapists?

10. If most people don't know the difference between a good massage and  a bad massage, why do we need state regulation, school accreditation by COMTA, and national certification?

11. People are spending between $2 and $4 billion dollars a year on massage? Are most of these people in the category of those who do not know the difference between a good massage and a bad massage?

12. Why would people spend between $2 and $4 billion dollars a year on massage if most of them don't know the difference between a good massage and a bad massage?

13. For what  other products are consumers paying between $2 and $4 billion dollars a year without knowing whether the products they are paying for are  good products or a bad products?

Please give me permission to publish your reply or  sections of your reply in the Massage Law Newsletter at <www/healingandlaw.com>. Thank you.

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