There have been two bills introduced into the House of Representatives for the State of Missouri, House Bill 1891 and 1824 that will impact the the massage therapy profession but as geologists, landscape architects, barbers, cosmetologists, embalmers, athletic agents, professional sports agents, and private investigators.
HB 1824 would allow anyone to practice a regulated profession without licensure, as long as that person did not claim to be licensed or certified. This a a very dangerous precedent.
The biggest impact of HB 1824 would be to make it impossible for licensing boards to pass regulations of almost any kind. Eventually licensing boards would not be able to regulate their professions. A number of problems could arise with passage of these bills. Please be aware of just some of the following problems of that may arise if these bills are passed:
- Current massage regulations protect the public against sexual predators.
- Individuals guilty of sexual crimes are prevented, by regulation, from becoming being licensed as massage therapist, massage therapy instructors, or from owning massage therapy businesses. If licenses are not required to practice massage, this protection disappears.
- Regulations limit business from using the terms massage and bodywork unless they are licensed massage businesses. Since the inception of this regulation, it has become difficult to find the kind of "massage parlors" that were rampant before massage was regulated (prior to 1999). If licensing is no longer a bar, then we anticipate that "massage parlors" will become common again. Since these businesses are often fronts for organized crime, linked to money laundering, prostitution, human trafficking, and the illegal drug trade, these evils would then be insinuated, publically, into the hearts of our communities again.
- Current massage regulations also protect the public against other predators.
- A morals clause in the regulations prohibits the licensing of individuals who have been convicted of running scams, or otherwise preying on others for their personal gain. Without licensure this protection for the public would be lost.
- Current massage regulations protect the public from dangers posed undertrained therapists:
- Untrained therapists can harm patients/clients by treating innocuous, but dangerous sites on the body (endangerment sites). For example by applying pressure to the carotid artery when treating a stiff neck.
- Untrained therapists may treat conditions that should not be treated: like phlebitis; or, by trying to work out what they think is a knot, but that is really deep vein thrombosis.
- Untrained therapists may keep their offices relatively neat and clean, but outward appearances do not guarantee that universal precautions against spreading contagious diseases are understood, or followed by such therapists. This ignorance could endanger the public if untrained therapists became vectors for disease.
- Current regulation has increased the availability of massage to the general public and has made it both safe and affordable.
- Since regulation the number of massage therapists in the state has grown from an estimated 3,000 prior to licensure to 4,895 today, a growth of 63% in fourteen years, outpacing the growth of the state's population. The competition that results from that growth has helped keep prices competitive, as has the entry of chain businesses, such as Massage Envy, which have been attracted to Missouri because of the growth of the use of massage and because of the availability of a trained workforce.
- The absence of "massage parlors" has contributed to the popularity of massage for the purpose of relaxation and of health maintenance. Without regulation "massage parlors" would certainly return and both availability of legitimate massage, outside of resorts would decrease, to the detriment of the general health of the population of the state.
Please contact your representative and tell them that you oppose these bills but also have your fellow therapists, clients, family, and friends contact their legislators and tell them that they oppose these bills for the reasons above. If people do not know who their representatives are they can use this link:Find your representative. It is important for people who contact legislators to tell them that they are constituents. They should not say they vote unless they actually do vote, since that information is easily available to legislators.