- Licensing and Legislation – Most states have massage licensing acts that set requirements for licensing as a massage therapist except for Minnesota, Wyoming, Kansas. Vermont has a unique requirement to register as a MT. California has a volunatary certification process.
Scope of Practice. Scope of practice and definitions vary greatly and some states have allowed specific disiples to be able to be exempt from massage licensing like Rolfing and Reflexology.
Portability – The lack of portablity between states makes it difficult to move and continue practice. Compact Licensure is being worked on by the Federation of Massage State Boards and the Dept. of Defense.
- Healthcare Integration – Massage therapy has long been on the list of care for Pain and with the Opioid epidemic continuing to grow, the demand for massage to be covered by health insurance is at an all time high. The massage profession is not ready for it though. The lack of advocacy is clear across the US and in WA State where massage therapists have been able to bill health insurance for medically necessary massage for over 20 years. It is all because of legislative advocacy.
- Education: Entry Level Education and Advanced Education. Currently, the recommended entry level education requirements has been determined by the Entry level Analysis Project (ELAP) which was done in 2012. The NCBTMB offers a Board Certification requiring 500 hours of education and specialty certificates in various categories but no true Board Certifications in the various categories. There actually has not been any studies done to show what is needed for advanced education requirements. There has also been talk of tiered licensing for over 30 years and no research done on if it is needed or how it would effect the massage profession.
- Continuing Education is required in most states although there is NO research that has been done to show if CE helps with professional development. The number of classes available in techniques, theory and business is astornomical with students not required to take tests upon completion of classes. This needs to be studied.
- Illicit Massage Businesses. Brothels doing business as massage therapists has been a major thorn in the massage profession with no associations doing much of anything about it.
Sexual Assault by Massage Therapists has been becoming a problem too with the many cases against places like Massage Envy (See the latest story on USA Today) and our professional associations not taking an active stance against such things.