MLN Vol. 15, No.4

Massage Law Newsletter

Vol. 15, No. 4                      ISSN 1073-5461                        October 2000

 ARIZONA DOES NOT NEED TO REGULATE

MASSAGE THERAPISTS TO PROTECT

THE PUBLIC FROM HARM

Contents

Greetings and salutations.

What are we talking about?

Why should Arizona regulate allegedly poorly trained massage therapists?

Questions about allegedly poorly trained massage therapists.

Questions about their allegedly poor training.

Questions about the alleged need for state regulation.

Arizona legislators require well-documented evidence of harm

A brief lesson on harm.

Massage therapy does not harm people.

What harm has actually occurred?

Food for thought

Massage is an art.

The money game

Why do we have both COMTA and national certification?

More food for thought..7

Epilogue

References

Addendum - Correspondence

"It's not having been in the dark house,

but having left it, that counts."

Theodore Roosevelt

 

Greetings and salutations

To: Susan Pomfret. Chair, Arizona Coalition for Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers

From: Albert Schatz, Editor

I believe people who are for and against state regulation should justify their positions with well-documented evidence. I would therefore appreciate it if you would please provide the information I request, and give me permission to publish your reply in the Massage Law Newsletter on <www.healingandlaw.com>. In turn, I will answer questions you ask me, and give you permission to publish my reply anywhere, provided you publish it in its entirety. 

In your Guest Editorial "Intuition and Massage" in Massage Magazine (January/February 2000), you wrote, "With low licensing requirements in some areas, poorly trained therapists flood the market. They contribute to the flaky reputation massage often suffers.

What are we talking about?

When we talk about training and state regulation, it is important to know that a majority of practitioners do not provide treatment in a medical sense and receive few if any medical referrals. An estimated fewer than 25% of all practitioners do any medically oriented massage that involves treating clinically diagnosed conditions. The three most cited reasons for receiving massage are relaxation (27%), relief of muscle soreness (13%), and stress reduction (10%). This information was presented at the May 19-20, 1999, meeting of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.1

Why should Arizona regulate

allegedly poorly trained massage

therapists?

1. If they are flooding the market, they obviously have many clients who are satisfied with the quality of the services they provide, and are not concerned about what training they had.

2, They are therefore successfully competing (in the free market economy) with therapists whom you would consider adequately trained.

3. They are operating lawful businesses

4. They are earning an honest living, and paying taxes.

5. There is no evidence that they have  harmed anybody. They therefore  pose no threat to the safety, health, and welfare of the public.

Why are you concerned with whatever training those allegedly poorly trained therapists originally had, rather than with the hands-on competence they presently have, the quality of the services they presently provide, and how satisfied their present clients are with what they are getting for their money?

The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) surveys of people who have been massaged, in the U.S., include some who were treated by unregulated massage therapists.2 But the AMTA has not broken the data down to provide this information.

In the Canadian Province of Ontario, 60% of the residents are unaware of the training and certification requirements for an individual to call herself a Registered Massage Therapist. In Canada, "whether or not a province is regulated does not appear to impact utilization."2 Why should this be any different in the United States?

Questions about allegedly poorly

trained massage therapists

1. Approximately how many allegedly poorly trained massage therapists are flooding the market?

2. What training did those allegedly poorly trained massage therapists have, and why do you consider them poorly trained?

3. If you do not know what training those allegedly poorly trained massage therapists had, how do you  know they are poorly trained?

4. Specifically what is the "flaky reputation" to which you refer? How many of those allegedly poorly trained massage therapists have been responsible, and in what ways, for that "flaky reputation"?

5. How often and how seriously does "massage suffer" as a result of that "flaky reputation"? You wrote that that suffering "often occurs."

Questions about their allegedly

 poor training

1. What well-documented evidence do you have that those allegedly poorly trained massage therapists, who "flood the market", are less  competent in their hands-on work, provide treatments that are of lesser quality, and have clients who are less satisfied than graduates from the 760-hour training in the Phoenix Therapeutic Massage College in Scottsdale, Arizona, where you work? 

2. What is your definition of an adequately trained therapist?

3. Texas  requires only 250 hours of training and a 50-hour internship. Do you consider massage therapists in Texas poorly trained? If so, why?

4. If you do not consider massage therapists in Texas poorly trained, why do massage therapists in Arizona need more training than massage therapists receive in Texas?

5. What well-documented evidence do you have that massage therapists in Texas are less  competent in their hands-on work, provide treatments that are of lesser quality, and have clients who are less satisfied than graduates from the 760-hour Therapeutic Massage Program at the Phoenix Therapeutic Massage College where you work? 

6. Are massage therapists in Texas harming people? If so, how many people have they harmed,  what is the nature of the injuries, and how serious were they?

7. What well-documented evidence do you have that there is a direct relationship between hours of training and (a) competence in hands-on work, (b) quality of treatment, and (c) client satisfaction? 

8. If there is no such direct relationship, on what basis will the Arizona Coalition for Massage and Bodywork decide how many hours of training should be required?

Questions about the alleged

need for state regulation3

You say, in your Guest Editorial, "Schools in areas without state licensing need to develop high internal standards until outside regulation can be put in place." By "outside regulation," I assume you mean state regulation. If so, how do you justify your alleged need for state regulation in Arizona?

1. What consumer protection agencies in Arizona are concerned about people being harmed by allegedly poorly trained therapists, and how have they expressed their concern?

2. What well-documented evidence do you have that state regulation has protected the public from harm caused by allegedly poorly trained massage  therapists in any state?

3. What well-documented evidence do you have that the incidence of harm, associated with massage therapists, is greater in states which do not regulate massage therapists than in states which do?

4. What well-documented evidence do you have that massage therapists are more competent in their hands-on work, provide treatments of higher quality, have clients who are more satisfied, and harm fewer clients in states which regulate massage therapists than in states which do not?

5. What well-documented evidence do you have that massage therapists who graduate from schools that are accredited by COMTA (Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation) are more competent in hands-on work, provide treatments of higher quality, have clients who are more satisfied, and harm fewer clients than massage therapists who graduate from schools that are not accredited by COMTA?4

6. What well-documented evidence do you have that massage therapists who pass the national certification examination are more competent than those who fail?  Do you know that there is no well-documented evidence that the national certification examination measures the competence which it alleges it does?5,6

7. What well-documented evidence do you have that state regulation, COMTA, and national certification have been responsible for the increasing popularity of massage?  What well-documented evidence do you have that massage is more popular in states which regulate massage therapists than in states which do not?

8. Will the Arizona Coalition seriously consider the self-regulation, which precludes monopoly control,7 in the Canadian Province of Ontario.? If not, why not?

Arizona legislators require

well-documented \evidence of harm

Arizona's Sunrise  Statute § 32-3103 reads as follows:

"A. Regulation shall not be imposed on any unregulated health profession except for the exclusive purpose of protecting the public interest. All proposed legislation to regulate a health profession for the first time shall be reviewed according to the following criteria. A health profession shall be regulated by the state only if:

"1. Unregulated practice can clearly harm or endanger the public health, safety or welfare and the potential for harm is easily recognizable and not remote or dependent on tenuous argument.

"2. The public needs and can reasonably be expected to benefit from the assurance of initial and continuing professional ability.

"3. The public cannot be effectively protected by other means in a more cost beneficial manner."

A brief lesson on harm

The "potential for harm" in Arizona's Sunrise Statute § 32-3103  refers to the risk of harm. This risk is defined by how much well-documented harm has actually occurred in Arizona and how serious that harm has been. It is necessary to distinguish between the potentiality for harm (which may or may not occur) and harm which has actually occurred.7 Moreover, the risk of harm should be expressed in terms of how many cases of serious harm have occurred in, let us say, 10,000 or 100,000 massages for a given period of time. The Coalition should therefore provide state legislators with the following information:

(a) the estimated number of massages given in Arizona during the past five years. 

(b) the number of cases of serious harm per 10,000 or 100,000 massages, and the nature and seriousness of the harm which has actually occurred?

(c) the number of cases of serious harm associated with each contraindication.

(d) the hours of training and the years of experience of the massage therapists who caused the serious harm.

Massage therapy does not harm people

At meetings of the Arizona Coalition, some individuals have referred  to  Arizona  Statute  § 32-3103 as  a "LITMUS TEST" and a "NIGHTMARE." "Public protection" was considered one of the biggest problems because it is difficult to prove that regulation is needed to protect the public "BECAUSE WE DON'T GENERALLY HURT PEOPLE". And state regulation cannot be achieved for any other reason.

If the amount of serious harm that has  occurred does not justify the need for state regulation to protect the public from that harm, there's no need for state regulation of massage therapists to protect the public from that harm.  If there is no need for state regulation to protect the public from harm, there is no justification for the Coalition's existence.

Without sufficient, serious harm that has actually occurred, there is no need for the Arizona Coalition to spend time defining competence, and deciding what modalities will be regulated, what standards (i.e., educational requirements) are needed, how many hours of training should be required, whether the national certification examination should be included, what practitioners should be grandfathered in, or anything else, All these are non-issues if there is insufficient harm to justify the need for state regulation.

What harm has actually

 occurred?

1. Ron Precht, spokesman for the AMERICAN MASSAGE THERAPY ASSOCIATION said that "adverse reactions to massage 'are rarely seen" ...   [and] "the number of claims against massage therapists in the United States  each year is 'minuscule.'"8

The number of personal injury claims may be greater than the number of people actually harmed by massage therapists because insurance companies often choose to pay some claims (of "nuisance value") rather than litigate, even though they may be confident of winning in court. They pay because it is considerably less expensive to pay the claimants than attorneys.

2. I have analyzed information about  the personal injury claims against AMTA members (reported in 1997), and the relatively small amounts paid to the claimants. 14% of the claims against massage therapists were for "sexual harassment". An average of one "major or grave" injury may occur  once every 77 years, and an average of 1.1 soft tissue injuries per state may occur annually.9

If the incidence of harm caused by non-regulated practitioners is 100% greater than the incidence of harm caused by AMTA members, one "major or grave" injury may occur once every 39 years, and there may be an average of 2.2 soft tissue injuries per state annually.

Does the Arizona Coalition seriously believe it is necessary for Arizona to regulate all massage therapists to protect the public from so little harm?

3. Will Green, President of the IMG Group that provides personal liability insurance for massage therapists and other bodyworkers, provides the following information.10

 "Over the past five years, with 30,040 members to date, we average about one claim per month. Most claims are covered by general liability as they are claims caused by poor housekeeping, like tripping or falling."

"The cost of our malpractice coverage has been reduced by 50% over the past five years due to the lack of claims. We cover over 5,000 members with 100 hours of training in California, the largest state in the union.

"The purpose of most trade regulation legislation is to exclude others from practice and control a market unless there is a real need to protect the public. In this case we know of no real need to protect the public at this time unless you can send us validation of such claims. There is always potential for harm even as one sits in a meeting hall. How do we know the ceiling will not fall? We do not. Therefore we all protect our interests with insurance. To protect the public we suggest that every responsible business person carry liability insurance as our members do."

If the Arizona Coalition is really interested in protecting the public, why doesn't it lobby legislators to enact a law requiring all massage therapists  in Arizona to have a business license and  carry professional liability insurance? Why not let insurance companies set standards for those whom they insure because they are the ones who pay for personal injury claims?

4. In Minnesota, about 655,200 massages were given during the past five years.11 But, the Minnesota AMTA Chapter was unable to provide evidence of enough well-documented harm (that had actually occurred) to convince legislators that massage therapists needed to be regulated to protect the public from harm.

5, In Georgia and the surrounding states, there was one report of possible harm in an estimated 19,240,000 massages.12

6. When the Georgia AMTA Chapter promoted licensure, it pointed out the potential harm, but did not present any well-documented evidence of harm that had actually occurred, The senators disregarded all oral descriptions of harm which allegedly had occurred, and did their own research to find out how much harm had actually occurred.

In October, 1997, the Georgia Occupational Regulation Review Council issued its Review of Senate Bill 300 Which Proposes to Regulate Massage Therapists. This Review reported the research, which the senators had done and their following conclusions:

"There is no documented danger of actual harm to the public."

"The potential for harm to the public appears to be remote and would not be alleviated by licensing."

If this is the situation in Georgia, why should it be any different in Arizona?

7. The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia in Canada" has provided no literature or scientific studies to show objective evidence of a significant risk of harm" by unregulated massage therapists.13

8. There's no harm in the Canadian Province of Quebec.7 Thomas J. Mulcair, President of the government Office des professions of the Province of Quebec, wrote me, on June 13, 1993,  to explain why that Province  did not regulate massage. His letter reads as follows:

"We are in receipt of your letter dated May 10th, l993, concerning massage therapy.

"I would like to inform you that  in the Province of Quebec, the title and the activities of massage therapists are not regulated.

"The Office des professions conducted, in l990 and l99l, an extensive research project on the need to regulate alternative professions in Quebec. A part of the study covered manual therapies and massage.

"A research report and the position of the Office des professions to the Minister Responsible for the Application of Professional Laws, which are enclosed, were released in April 1992.

"One of the main recommendations is that it is not necessary to regulate alternative therapies, including massage therapy, because they do not represent any serious risk of harm to the public.

"This recommendation is based on the fact that none of  the 38 groups that we consulted specifically on manual therapies was able to demonstrate or document any prejudice or damage caused by incompetent massage therapists."

9. The Taskforce of the Pew Health Professions Commission considered massage therapy "not especially risky to consumers."7

10. Additional information about the safety of massage is in the report "Massage should be deregulated because it does not cause harm"7 and  in other reports in the Massage Law Newsletter. All of these are available on our web site <www.healingandlaw.com>.

11. The California Coalition on Somatic Practices refused to falsify data about harm in order to comply with the requirements of the California Sunrise Process. Their report comments as follows, "The good news is that we injure very few clients. As a result ...we will have difficulty meeting the Sunrise criteria without manipulation of the data."14

12. During all the years I have been looking for harm caused by massage, I have found only a few well-documented cases. Trotter reported a hepatic hematoma that occurred after a deep massage.15 His Letter to the Editor has references to the following complications associated with massage: displacement of a uretral stent, renal-artery embolization, posterior interosseous syndrome, and popliteal-artery pseudoaneurism.

However, the report about the uretral stent displacement erroneously considered  Rolfing as therapeutic massage. The popliteal-artery pseudoaneurism resulted from a traditional Chinese medical massage, which may be quite different from massage therapy in the U.S.

Do the remaining three cases of harm (which are associated with massage therapy and which did not occur in Arizona) justify regulating all massage therapists to protect the public safety, health, and welfare in Arizona?

When serious harm occurs, it may be a serious problem for those who experience that harm  But if that serious harm rarely occurs, it is not an important problem for society at large, unless it is a contagious disease

Food for thought

"That exquisitely human contact we know as massage is in essence a universal birthright of our kind."  Raphael Tuburan

"At its core, health care is a ministry, not an industry. If we lose sight of this essential characteristic, the worthy goal of affordable quality [health care] for all will once again get  trampled in the melee over money." Joseph Califano,  Secretary of Welfare during the Carter Administration.

Massage is an art

"Every massage is comparable to an original, creative work of art. This is why you can no more certify a massage professional than you can certify an artist" for competence in hands-on work.16

"Massage as an art can be, and is, practiced by anyone without training."17

"There is no standard for what constitutes a 'good' massage.... Each client will have his own opinion on the subject, depending on his own tastes and physical condition.... Massage is an  art. There is no one right way of doing it." It is a "misconception" to assume "that there is one definition of what constitutes a 'good' massage and a 'bad' massage.... Students and new graduates often ... think the way they were taught to massage in school is the 'right' way to do massage, and that massaging any other way is 'wrong'.... What you learn in school is a good basis from which to develop your own style."18

"Massage, like music, is what Aldus Huxley called "a psycho-physical skill."  '...did Back know how his muscles worked? No. But he played the organ very well and was a magnificent teacher. If proficiency in any psychophysical skill depended on correct knowledge of physiology, there would have been no good singers, dancers, pianists, runners and so forth until the middle of the twentieth century.'"19

The following comment is from  Steve Capellini and Michel Van Welden's book Massage for Dummies. "Massage is about cultivating the right attitude - the giver's attitude  - not just applying mechanical maneuvers which any massage text can teach you. But don't worry. In this part of the book, you're going to discover how to actually give a massage, too. And, you'll see, it's not that difficult. Just follow the instructions, and in no time you'll be reproducing the very same techniques you see being performed by the highly trained models in the photographs. No problem. That's right. You can become one of these great people about whom everyone else exclaims, "What great hands you've got.' Just remember to focus on your 'giver's attitude' as much as your manual skills, and you'll do just fine."

The money game

In California and other states in which massage therapists are not state-regulated, anybody with any training can do massage. The courts in those states are not flooded with personal injury claims. Consumer protection agencies are not lobbying state legislators to enact state regulation to protect the public from harm. California does not regulate massage therapists because there is not enough harm to meet the requirements of the California Sunrise law.

But it is not that straightforward for people who want to do massage in states that regulate massage therapists. They have to pay money to comply with standards established by those who run the money game.  These are massage schools, and agencies that set the  standards.

For example, to be eligible to take the national certification examination, an individual must have graduated from a state-accredited massage school with at least a 500-hour program. This 500-hour program does not cover any particular course content. It was originally established to match the minimum course length for which a program was eligible for federally guaranteed loans and grants. As this federal minimum requirement increased, schools relying on this assistance have increased the number of hours of their programs.

However, state regulation is not needed for schools to be eligible for federal aid programs. In Arizona, the Phoenix Therapeutic Massage College and the Desert Institute of the Healing Arts have federal aid programs for students. - without state regulation

Some school owners are motivated to promote practice acts (for state regulation) because these acts require massage therapists to graduate from accredited schools. Practice acts therefore put unaccredited schools out of business.. This is economically advantageous for accredited schools.

There is no well-documented evidence that a lot of training is necessary to protect the public from harm. Allegations to that effect may be quantitatively precise, but they are qualitatively  meaningless. Those who make such allegations are applying linear thinking to relationships that are not directly or inversely (reciprocally) linear. This is illogical in terms of common sense. But in the money game, it's the bottom line that counts.

The relationships are not linear because there is  no direct correlation between each of the three sacred cows (i.e., state regulation, school accreditation by COMTA and national certification) on the one hand, and (a) hands-on competence, (b) quality of work, and (c) client satisfaction on the other hand

In other words, there is no well-documented evidence that massage therapists, who have graduated from state- and COMTA-accredited schools and who have passed the national certification examination are more competent in their hands-on work, provide services of higher quality, harm fewer people, and have clients who are more satisfied that massage therapists in California and other states which do not regulate massage therapists. 

For example, Nebraska's 1,000-hour training is 100% more than a 500-hour training. But there is no well-documented evidence that massage therapists in Nebraska are more competent in hands-on work than massage therapists who had a 500-hour training, even in unaccredited schools.

What the 100% does tells us is that those who run the money game in Nebraska may make more money than their counterparts in states which require less training and in states which do not regulate massage therapists at all.

Why do we have both COMTA

and national certification?

Why should anybody be required to take the national certification examination since there is no well-documented evidence that it measures the competence which it alleges it does measure? How can people legally be denied the opportunity to earn a living by doing massage only because they have failed the national certification examination which does not measure the competence that it alleges it does? 

If massage therapists have graduated from a COMTA-accredited school, what well-documented evidence justifies requiring them to take the national certification examination.

If massage  therapists, who have not graduated from a COMTA-accredited school, can pass the national certification, what well-documented evidence justifies the alleged need for COMTA?

Do we have both COMTA and  national certification because it is financially more advantageous for those who run the money game to have both COMTA and national certification rather than one or the other?

More food for thought  

"It seems that proponents of licensing are hopeful that a state license would mean more money, status, and power."7 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."7 Don Schwartz. Director, Trager Institute

"Professional regulation is not about serving society. It is about power, control, and money for a self-selected group of providers trying to be part of a health-care system rife with corruption, greed, and life-damaging and life-ending errors  - all well-documented by the nightly network news."20  Don Schwartz. Director, Trager Institute

Epilogue

Here's freedom to him who would read.

Here's freedom to him who would write.

There's none ever feared

that the truth should be heard,

But they whom the truth would indite.            

                                         Robert Burns Scottish poet, 1751-1796)

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the ... purposes are beneficial. Men born of freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding. " - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis 

"The passion to regulate the lives of others is deep-seated in many individuals. When this is based on political expedience, it is bad, and when it is inspired by an idealism which wishes to inflict benefits on others, it can become dangerous." - Sir Arthur Amies

"So many human problems begin with someone saving someone else from something from which he hasn't been asked to be saved." - Glen Doman

References

1. College of British Columbia (Canada). Further Commentary on the Risk of Harm Associated with the Practice of massage Therapy. A Supplemental Response to the Health Professions Council's February, 1999, Preliminary Report on the Massage Therapists' Scope of Practice. July 6, 2000.

2. Bozek, J. Applies to oranges. (Letter to the Editor). Massage Magazine. page 8. September/October. 2000.

3. Schatz, A. Schatz, A. Letter to the Editor. Massage Therapy Journal. 38(3):15.1999.

4. Schatz, A. Letter to the Editor. COMTA News (Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation). Readers Forum. Summer. 1999.

5. Schatz, A. National certification is not needed today for the same reasons it was not needed in 1993. Massage Law Newsletter. 6(4):1-3. 1999.

6. Schatz, A, and Brewster, M. An examination of the national certification examination raises questions about its validity. Massage Law Newsletter. 8(4):1-6. 1999.

7. Schatz, A, Massage should be deregulated because it does not cause harm. Massage Law Newsletter. 5(2):1-18. 1998.

8. Precht, R. Cited in Rubbed the Wrong Way by Adam Marcus in the December 22, 1999, issue of the HealthSCOUT Reporter.

9. Schatz, A. State regulation is not needed to protect the public from harm. Licensed massage therapists harmed people but unlicensed massage therapists did not.  Massage Law Newsletter. 7(2):1-5. 1999.

10. Pennsylvania does not need Senate Bill 1220 to protect the public from harm. Will Green, President of the IMA Group, tells us that massage therapists do not harm people. This is why massage therapists now pay 50% less for malpractice insurance  than they did five years ago. Massage Law Newsletter. 13(4): 1. 2000.

11. Schatz, A. 655,200 reasons why Minnesota does not need to regulate massage therapists to protect the public from harm. There's no harm in Georgia, and no harm in the Canadian Province of Quebec. So why would there be any harm in Minnesota? Massage Law Newsletter. 13(2): 1-5. 2000.

12. Schatz, A. The Georgia Chapter of AMTA

alleged, "There are many cases of harm." Georgia legislators did research and found no harm. The Georgia AMTA's data reveal that massage is safe, not harmful. Licensure is not needed to protect the public from harm which does not occur. Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter. 3(2):1-4. 1998.

13. Schatz, A. Are payments to registered massage therapists in British Columbia, under the Medical Services Plan, cost-effective? If not, should these payments be discontinued? Massage Law Newsletter. 15(3): 1-5. 2000.

14. Special Report Why this is not the time to go to Sacramento. The California Coalition on Somatic Practices (P.O. Box 5611, San Mateo, California. 94402-0611.) September, 1996.

15. Trotter, J. F. Hepatic hematoma after deep tissue massage. New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 341. No. 26. December 23, 1999.

16. Carlson, K., Barbara, R. A., and Schatz, A. Is state regulation of massage illegal?  Massage & Bodywork Quarterly. pages 42-52. Fall. 1993.

17. Sohnen-Moe, C. A peek at the future evolution of practices. Massage Journal.  38(5):56-66. Millennium issue. 2000.

18. Greene, L. Save Your Hands! Injury Prevention for Massage Therapists. Infinity Press. Seattle, WA. 1995.

19.  Inkeles, G., and Todris, M. The Art of Sensual Massage. SImon and Schuster. NY. 1972.

20. Schwartz, D.  Inflammatory rhetoric. (Letter to the Editor. Massage Magazine. pages 14-15. Sept/Oct. 2000.

ADDENDUM

Letter to the Editor of

Massage Therapy Journal 38(3):15. 1999

I was pleased to see George Gluzinski's Letter to the Editor [Summer], 1999. I believe an objective evaluation of state regulation is long overdue, and should be done by a committee whose members have no vested interest in state regulation.   

There is no well-documented evidence that allegedly inadequately trained massage therapists have caused enough serious harm, in people with contraindications, to justify the alleged need for state regulation to protect the public from that harm. There is no well-documented evidence that state regulation has protected the public from harm in states which regulate massage therapists.

There is no well-documented evidence that state regulation assures competence. There is no generally accepted definition of competence for massage therapists, and there is no way to objectively measure that competence. There is no well-documented evidence that anybody needs more than the 250 hour training which Texas requires.

The fact is that so many massage therapists with so many varied trainings have massaged so many people (with so many contraindications) so many times, for so many years, in so many states (which do not regulate massage), with so many well-documented reports of so many benefits, but with so little if any well-documented evidence of serious harm. - Albert Schatz, Philadelphia

Note: No Letter to the Editor, which refutes any allegation in my Letter, has appeared in Massage Therapy Journal. In the Spring, 2000, issue, Daniel Nelson Resell's Letter began as follows: "I agree with Albert Schatz [Fall 1999] that the benefit to society of any state licensure of massage be reevaluated. I have noticed that once state licensure is enacted, lobbying by the AMTA increases strongly and every year the statute gets more and more strict until it is unconstitutional."

________________

Correspondence with Dr. Griff D.. Pitts.

Director. Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation. (COMTA) News -

Newsletter (Summer 1999)

Dear Dr. Pitts:

I was pleased to see the following notice in the Fall, 1998, issue of the COMTA NEWS: "We'd like to hear from you. Please write and tell us what's on your  mind." Thank you for the invitation.

I am a retired professor who has been actively involved in education for more than half a century. One of my major interests in education has been and continues to be curriculum development and evaluation. This is why I am interested in COMTA.

I would appreciate your providing me with the following information about COMTA.:

Why is COMTA called the "Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation?" COMTA accredits schools and school programs. Schools and programs are not therapy.

What well-documented research does COMTA have that graduates from COMTA-accredited schools are more competent and provide better quality service to the public than graduates from schools which have not met COMTA's requirements?

How does COMTA define and objectively (quantitatively) measure competence in terms of the quality of an individual's hands-on performance?

If the quality of competence cannot be objectively measured, how does COMTA know that COMTA-accredited schools produce more competent massage therapists than schools which have not met COMTA's requirements for accreditation?

Sincerely yours,

         Albert Schatz, Ph.D.

________________

Dear Dr. Schatz:

Thank you for the keen interest which you have shown in regard to the credibility of the Commission. We commend you for the insight which you have demonstrated in your questions and the issues upon which they focus.

The Commission shares your interest in knowing that our standards and processes are indeed both valid and statistically reliable. We are undertaking a most significant study of all that the Commission is and does in a Validity, Reliability, and Relevancy research project.

We welcome this and further input as the study is launched and as significant findings are discovered.

Griff D. Pitts, Ph.D.                                                                                                                Director

[Home] [Massage Law] [Journal ] [Special Issues] [Bios] [Spiritual Massage] [Massage Humor]