House Bill 185 and the Future of Massage in Massachusetts

NECKSHOULDER17I know you appreciate massage. I’m confident you feel that massage is not a luxury, but part of your wellness plan, just like exercise and brushing your teeth.

That’s why I want you to know about some important legislation in progress regarding massage therapy. Licensure for massage therapists is fairly new in Massachusetts and we’re still working through all the angles and trying to close loopholes we didn’t anticipate back when it was passed in 2006.

Right now, House Bill 185 is sitting before the House Ways and Means committee. I need your help in urging House Ways and Means to report House Bill 185 favorably.

HB 185 addresses three issues we’re facing: scope of practice, an allowance for out-of-state therapists to work here for charitable events, and I feel most importantly, the problem of online advertising for sexual services being sold under the guise of massage.

Right now unlicensed individuals (and/or entities) may freely solicit illicit business as “massage” and the Board of Registration for Massage Therapy cannot do anything about it.

If that’s not bad enough, even a licensed massage therapist offering illegal escort services and the like as “massage” can evade Board of Registration for Massage Therapy discipline simply by marketing those illicit services online or through other electronic means.

You know that massage is not equivalent to sexual services. I know it. We need to shut it down online, too. It will take time to make the changes online and to shut these businesses and individuals down. But eventually fewer and fewer people will think that “massage” equals “sex”. Then I, and over 10,000 licensed massage therapists throughout the state, will be safer at work.

Below you’ll see a link to find your state representative, and the steps to follow to make your support known. This is time sensitive, the bill will die on July 31 if it does not progress past Ways and Means.

Thanks for taking the time to support me and the future of massage in Massachusetts,

PS- If you can’t make time to call your Representative, I’ll still love you for simply sending an email.
PS- if you live in Plainville and your Rep is Shawn Dooley, he’s already given his support. But please, email him just to say you appreciate his efforts!

Action Steps & Talking Points for Consumers

Action #1. Find out who your State Representative is. Go to:

Action #2. Contact Your State Representative at (617) 722-2000 or the number from the above website and ask them to contact the Chairman Brian Dempsey and the House Committee on Ways and Means in support of House Bill 185, An Act relative to licensing massage therapists.

Sample Dialogue:

My name is: ______________________ and I am a voter in your district.

I am calling in strong support of House Bill 185, which would make technical corrections to the massage therapy enabling act and close a key public safety loophole.

  • In particular, current law does not penalize unlicensed people for advertising “massage” services online.

  • House Bill 185 would close this loophole and help protect the public by giving the Board the power to further prevent the unlicensed practice of massage therapy.

  • The legislation does not cost the Commonwealth any money, but will help prevent illegal activity.

I respectfully ask that the Representative support House Bill 185 and contact the House Ways and Means Committee about this matter. Will she/he do so?

Again, my name is ­____________________ and I can be reached at _________________ (provide telephone #) if the Representative has any questions.

Thank you for supporting our efforts to protect Massachusetts’ residents against threats to public safety.

Action #3. Email Your State Representative To Follow-Up on Your Call. You may copy & paste the script above to use in your email, (just be sure to fill in the blanks with your information!)  ASK THEM TO EMAIL YOU BACK WITH ANY FEEDBACK FROM CHAIRMAN DEMPSEY’S OFFICE.

Action #4. Let me know the results of your calls and emails! We’re following up with legislators to thank them for their help.

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