Massage therapists attend massage school, pass an exam and apply for a massage license in their state to practice. There are still a few states that do not license massage therapits: California, Kansas, Wyoming and Minnesota. In states that have licensing, there is usually a Board of Massage (or some sort of government agency) that oversees the rule making process for each state. There are also laws passed in each state that outline the structure of the board and also the scope of practice of massage therapists.
It is important to know what the laws are in your state and follow what is happening with your board of massage to ensure that they are working with the profession in mind. AMTA chapter leaders often attend boards and report on what is happening. ABMP is often in attendance too. Each provide an advocacy section on their websites to keep up to date.
Here is AMTA’s Advocacy Page. AMTA chapters often have lobbyists that help with state issues. They also have a bill tracking page on their website to track bills in every state. They also have information on learning how to get invovled and become an advocate.
ABMP advocates for massage therapits and they have a government relations person that oversees the goings on across the nation. They do not have lobbyists in each state or a national lobbyist as far as we know. They have made statements about some of their policies such as illicit massage businesses (brothels disguised as massage businesses), deregulation and other hot topics. They do post legislative updates on their website but it is usually not current.
Massage Politics Resources:
Untagling Massage from Prostitution – LMTbodypolitic.com
Look Before You Book a Massage – Website supporting the untangling process
Massage Changes Lives – A massage awareness project to share stories of how massage changes lives.
Federation of Massage State Boards – Toolkit for schools