I have received the following from the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. I personally think they are far off the mark on what they intend to do with continuing education, and with their refusal to consider any joint effort with the NCBTMB to organize and streamline the approval process for the good of all concerned. This is their MOCC-ERY plan redux, and it’s giving me a bad case of acid reflux. The first time this plan rolled around, the national office of AMTA responded by shooting 20 holes into it. Those holes are still there, and it is my fond hope that AMTA will reiterate its position.

This is nothing more than another ill-conceived ploy to put the NCBTMB out of business by taking CE out of their hands, making only what THEY want to be required–and furthermore, to require you to get it from them. To add insult to injury, the FSMTB proposes that THEY will choose the experts who will create the courses that YOU will be required to take from them on their website and occasional live classes. CE Providers might as well kiss your income goodbye. Give me a break. If this isn’t a naked power grab, I have never seen one. Here is the communication:

February 27, 2013
Dear Colleagues:
A White Paper circulating in professional and social media circles proposes the creation of a new organization to approve continuing education providers. FSMTB has not indicated support for such a move and would like to correct certain assumptions pertaining directly to the FSMTB that are made in the paper.
The most important reason for regulating the massage and bodywork profession is to ensure public protection and consumer confidence without unduly restricting the ability of licensed, professional therapists to make a living. To better address needs in the area of license renewal, the FSMTB was directed by a vote of its members (State boards and agencies that regulate massage and bodywork therapy) to develop and deliver a solution.
To do this, FSMTB looked at research and listened to experts, including consumers, educators, and the therapists themselves. Our recommendation was published in October 2012 in a paper called “Standardized Licensure Renewal Recommendation for Continuing Professional Competence“.  
Standardized Licensure Renewal Recommendation
Here’s what we believe is fair and reasonable to ensure competent licensed professionals and protection for the public they serve.
Licensed massage and bodywork therapists will be required to complete six (6) hours of license renewal requirements annually. At least three (3) of the six hours must meet the State-sponsored Ethics and Professional Practice course requirements that specifically address content pertaining to public safety. The remaining three (3) hours could be exchanged for certain Professional Development Activities, including but not limited to meeting accredited certification standards, community service, and research.
We further believe that it is preferable for all six hours of the license renewal requirements to be in the Ethics and Professional Practice areas, thus eliminating the need for therapists to engage in other activities or classes in order to renew their license. The rationale for limiting the licensing renewal requirements to the Ethics and Professional Practice areas is to ensure that therapists have standardized, current knowledge necessary for safe and competent practice. Additional activities and classes, though beneficial and encouraged, should not be required for re-licensure.
Recognizing that there will be a transition phase as the profession progresses, we will establish standards for acceptance of other Professional Development Activities for licensure renewal, such as attaining certifications and attending professional conferences. Again, these activities are to be encouraged but are beyond what should be required to maintain a license.
Our goal is to create easily accessible online courses each year on the topics that matter to the State boards, not just to address complaints or sub-standard practice, but to focus on issues such as ethical concerns and therapist safety. Our intent is not to compete with agencies already providing certifications or CE, but to ensure adequate attention to our area of emphasis, Ethics and Professional Practice.
For those without access to computers we are considering live classes at events where therapists already gather. We will select experts to work with our licensing boards to create the best courses and we encourage your participation.
For States that already have CE requirements, the FSMTB will establish Standards to assist States in determining Professional Development Activities that are acceptable during the transition. We are not proposing that we approve CE Providers, Instructors or Courses; instead, we are concentrating on an alternative solution to address the needs of the regulatory community and the therapists.
Considering licensure, we must keep in mind that a license does not reflect that a therapist is brilliant, enthusiastic, nice, or possesses a healing gift. Licensure demonstrates that a therapist has met basic professional standards and is entitled to legally practice.
Licensing boards:
-work for the public, not the profession.
-are created to regulate the profession, not elevate it.
-cannot require a double standard – education for experienced professionals that is different from that of entry level therapists.
-must provide the public with an avenue to address harm.
-ensure only that a licensed therapist meets standard competency levels to receive or renew a license.
In summary, our role and intent is to work with State boards to protect and to serve the public while at the same time offering a simplified, standardized and relevant solution for therapists.

All providers of continuing education need to contact and and let them know we do not want this plan shoved down our throats. Furthermore, providers and licensees can send a letter to your own state massage therapy board letting them know that you do not support this plan of the FSMTB to take over the CE business. Does a practitioner who has been in business 25 years really need to repeat the FSMTB-ordained ethics class for every renewal? Do not sit on your hands–send those emails right now and let the leadership of the FSMTB know you are against this plan.

25 Replies to “MOCC-ERY Redux”

  1. Alas, here it comes. The storm clouds gather. I had posted a few days ago “….the states are taking notice of NCB’s plight and the Federation is smelling blood in the water.” Well, this is the beginning of the maelstrom.

    Unfortunately, just like the EMBLEX juggernaut, the states hold the sway, the power and the cards. No one needs CE’s anymore to recertify because certification is dying. They only need them for licensing. NCB’s misguided leadership combined with its preposterous lack of a working CE plan (2 years in the making?) has opened the door wide for the states to set the course. They got what they deserve. I dunno – maybe it’s time. It’s been a valiant effort Rick Rosen. But you can’t fight the forces of gravity. Since NCB can’t do it, the profession will gravitate to FSMTB who will. Then we will have the single source we all need.

  2. OK, so I get the whole not wanting to take ethics every year or every other year as in some states but C’mon, A.) It takes all of 45 minutes to complete online B.) It doesn’t cost that much. C.) It’s there to remind you of things you may have forgotten that can keep you safe.
    I’m sorry, I just don’t see the big deal. It’s when people start talking about deregulating that worries me most! Look at what the cosmetology board is going through in many different states. That crap is scary! I wouldn’t want some random person without an education putting chemical on my scalp! Just as much as I wouldn’t want someone who has no education, who could’ve also had no background check massaging me or anyone else at that!

  3. This communication from FSMTB is a giant step backwards. As Laura pointed out, the Federation’s Maintenance of Core Competencies (MOCC) proposal was soundly rejected by the field last year. It didn’t get any better when it was re-presented as the “Standardized Licensure Renewal Recommendation for Continuing Professional Competence“.

    FSMTB is dangerously off-track in two ways: First, they have whipped up a problem that does not exist, and are bulking up to provide a solution for it. There is no safety crisis in the practice of massage therapy, and licensed massage therapists do not need forced online education modules to maintain their ability to practice massage in a safe manner.

    Second, FSMTB is trying to downgrade the importance of ongoing continuing education for massage therapists, by recommending that all CE other than safety-related courses be made optional. This puts FSMTB squarely at odds with most of the profession, which supports mandatory CE for license renewal. We know CE is generally a good thing, and benefits both practitioners and the clients they serve.

    I am surprised that FSMTB would publish a major communication like this with such a glaring fact error in the first sentence. My white paper DOES NOT recommend the creation of a new organization to approve CE providers.

    The point of the whole proposal is that we already have too many cooks in this kitchen. Between NCB and five different state board CE approval processes, the last thing we need is another organization and another process. I’m advocating for the consolidation of all existing CE approval processes — state and national — into one streamlined, user-friendly system.

    That’s the only acceptable outcome here.

  4. I love to read Laura’s spirited expressions, yet, I have to say that after reading the letter from the Federation I don’t see an issue. What I got from it is that the Federation is focused on their job; which is protecting the interest of the public. Therefore, they see fit to ensure that reasonable requirements are met by the professionals. This seems to eliminate unnecessary burden in the profession to maintain licensing. I think that 6 hours of ethics reminders each year is reasonable to maintain licensure. I personally take CE courses to enhance my professional abilities and overall professional growth. Therefore, I will continue to take 48+ CE hours annually. The only dilemma that I see that it presents is for those that make a living off of providing CE classes. This seems that it will reduce attendees to only those who are truly serious about professional growth & will eliminate forced attendees. I am certified with NCBTMB and I appreciate their presence and existence in our field. Yet, I have to agree that professional growth CEs is different than relicensing requirement CEs. Therefore, my question is; ‘Can’t we all just get along? ‘

  5. I really don’t understand how the Federation thinks 12 CE hours per renewal period (6 CE/year) is fit. In NC Counselors need 40, Chiropractors need 24 and PTs need Core competency credits including continuing ed, core competency classes and exams. Why pray-tell is the federation proposing lessening our requirements when similar professions are increasing theirs? Do they really think that little of our profession that our competency equates a skin rub and a litigation-proof amount of ethics? If its not the boards’ responsibility to raise the bar in our professional standards then who is? If there are only 12 hours of continuing ed, for God’s sake raise the minimum to 750 in primary education. We already have markets flooded with barely competent therapists, are we really going to lower the bar?!

  6. I just read the white paper and absolutely feel Mr. Rosen is on track. Only one unified system will serve the profession. This is not your father’s Oldsmobile. It’s an ever changing landscape ever since the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards took over most of the licensing. They help facilitate the work and will of the state boards, who have absolute regulatory authority. So if they deem a certain level of approval is needed, it surely doesn’t seem like they and NCBMTB will, as SP puts it, “get along.” I believe Mr. Rosen may have the right idea after all. The issue is, do enough people care to get behind it?

  7. Ms. DeVall I am so thankful there are therapists out there like you who care about quality. Unfortunately, the problem is that we aren’t considered on the same rung of the food chain as Chiropractors, PTs, Nurses, MDs, etc. With a basic entry level curriculum of 500 hours, our level of required knowledge, skills and competencies doesn’t equate. Similarly, by definition, our CE requirements are lower. Plus, the real danger of injury to the public is minimal. So in a clinical sense, we aren’t there yet as a profession. So I imagine the state boards don’t see our CE needs as more than 6 hours per year. We need some kind of advanced clinical credential that puts us on an equal footing if we want to be regarded at the level of PTs, etc. Anyway, I think that’s why the federation is proposing lessening our requirements when similar professions are increasing theirs.

  8. I completely disagree with the 6 hours of ethics each year as the only need for CEU’s. I also disagree with HR Nitert response to Hope Devalls statement. I’m not sure where HR is but in most areas I have been to in NC, SC, MD, NY, Various areas abroad, Massage Therapy is becoming/is more accepted along the same lines with Physical Therapist, Chiropractors, etc. As such, I do feel that Massage Therapy Schools, CEU classes, State Boards or whom ever else is involved in the process should be raising the standards of practice,(not down grading) so that we are as Therapist are considered a viable profession that can actually help people that are in pain and other issues that they may be having. Not just a body rub! Areas that I have been to outside of the United States, Massage Therapy is held to the same standards as Dr’s, Physical Therapist. If we ever hope to have the same recognition here, we certainly do not need lower our standards.

  9. Michael i agree with you, we don’t need our standards lowered. But the issue at hand isn’t with us, it’s with the FSMTB: the federal regulators they support and advocate apparently for don’t see us in the same category as the other allied health personnel or mainstream docs/nurses, or they wouldn’t be proposing this 6 hour number. It’s preposterous, but until our practitioners are required to have the same level of education and skill sets to work in hospital environments, integrated into care teams working through complex, critical thinking treatment plans, we will not enjoy the same cachet. And of course you are right, therapist are considered a viable profession that can actually help people that are in pain and other issues that they may be having. Not just a body rub. But you don’t have to convince me. We need to convince them.

  10. A six hour requirement is insulting – but so are the levels of education and skills that many MTs enter the industry with. If I’m understanding correctly, this organization would effectively strip CE providers of the ability to attach CEU value to their programs and courses. While this disincentivizes taking additional courses for the sake of fulfilling licensure requirements, any therapist worth his or her salt is already shelling out for coursework far above and beyond what’s required in order to deepen, refine and revitalize his or her practice of massage therapy to bring the best results for his or her clientele. While NCB may still be in the woods with its CE provider approval process, at the end of the day, board certification(s) and evidence that a practitioner is committed to ongoing education and evolving standards of care will differentiate excellent practitioners from merely adequate practitioners. There is plenty of room in the industry for both public and private sector agencies and their inevitably divergent standards; it’s up to us to meet the standards of the state and then to decide how far we want to go from there. Maintaining a license is merely a starting point for any professional worth his or her salt.

  11. Ok, I’ll throw my 2 cents in: I’m a CE provider (approved by NCB) and I’m also NCTMB, and I’ve been a delegate at FSMTB Meetings (so am a state MT board member, but not representing my board). I’m also a member of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE). Here’s my take: NCB, FSMTB, and Rick Rosen are right AND wrong.

    According to the FSMTB, it is not FSMTB’s job to regulate all continuing education. Its purview is looking at continued competence for the protection of the health, safety and welfare. If you look at the issue that way, it means that the FSMTB is handing over the professional development portion of CE programs over to the NCBTMB. In short, they are setting a clear boundary as to what belongs to the NCB and what belongs to FSMTB. Isn’t that a good thing to ensure the continued existence of the NCBTMB?

    In my opinion, that is a short-sighted view. As long as regulatory bodies continue to regulate a CE approval program individually, I do think that there is a role for the FSMTB to standardize how those programs are implemented, to make it easy for CE providers to gain the necessary approvals for multiple states – a one-stop shop, so to speak. Mr. Rosen is right that not all states will participate, but the standardization would be helpful. In fact, as a CE provider, I am begging someone, whoever that may be, to do so. The FSMTB, as a body of regulators, seems to be the logical choice for reforming how regulation is implemented. However, this standardization does not mean that the FSMTB has to do it themselves. They can contract that out to the NCBTMB, with proper safeguards and oversight.

    The FSMTB has said that no other continuing education should be required beyond those few hours to ensure continued competence. This trod on the delicate sensibilities of those who think otherwise, including Mr. Rosen. Well, technically, the FSMTB is right. The Pew report, “Reforming Health Care Workforce Regulation”, written in the mid-90’s does a good job of laying out the case that continuing education does not mean continued competence. In fact, some states (and other professions) are moving away from CE requirements because the studies don’t support the relationship between CE hours and continued competence. Mr. Rosen admits as much, but supports CE hours be mandatory “to help therapists get better at what they do.” Doing something for the practitioner’s own good, is, in my opinion, incredibly patronizing and makes assumptions about the state of individual practitioners who may not feel that required professional development courses are in their own best interest.

    Regulation is about public safety and not raising professional standards. And yet, for the FSMTB to ignore how states implement requirements that raise professional standards is akin to saying it’s not our problem. But, by the very fact that regulators are doing so, does indeed make it an FSMTB issue.

    Mr. Rosen is ignoring the AFTME’s role in the development of teacher’s standards as part of the process. He points out that the “NCB and FSMTB only have the scope and resources to administer a credibility assurance process at best – but not a quality assurance process.” In noting that the name of his project is a registry, it doesn’t sound like he is offering anything different than what is already available. The only thing that is different is that it would be a single standardized program. It’s disingenuous to expect that since the NCB and FSMTB can’t work together, this other thing would work instead. It won’t happen: If the two groups can’t work together, as he says, why would they work together by agreeing to step aside to allow a third rail into the mix. I just don’t see it happening. And please, while he advocates existing organizations take on this project, a careful reading implies the possibility of yet another organization.

    The NCBTMB currently has a registry-type program. They just happened to make a major misstep in the development of their new program. Again, Mr. Rosen is trying to re-invent the wheel. But, he does make the case for the FSMTB taking the lead in the project. The two groups need to get in the same room, and I think this is where the AFMTE can help.

    I’d really like to see the AFMTE help broker a deal for the FSMTB and the NCB to figure this issue out. I really don’t think they are that far apart.

    One more thing: I want to be clear that it is my opinion that it is a conflict of interest for CE providers (and I’m one of them) to support mandatory CE hours of any kind. Our livelihoods depend on students taking our classes, and by requiring that they take classes ensures that there will always be a pool of students: require it and they will come. Even if the person’s heart is in the right place, it still has the appearance of a conflict of interest. Therefore, I do not believe that it is the role of the AFMTE to support mandatory CE hours (and they don’t, at this time). It IS the role of the AFMTE to ensure that CE providers’ voices are heard in the development of any CE approval process along with providing the technical expertise in the development of any teacher’s standards within those approval processes.

  12. OK, here’s my take on what the CE “hybrid” landscape will look like 9 – 12 months from now. Imagine it is Januaury 1, 2014:

    FSMTB recommends (and by then has many states in compliance):
    3 CE hrs ethics and professional practice per year
    3 CE hrs professional development per year
    That equates to 6 total hrs per year (or 12 every two years) to renew a license in the “average” state. (Bear with me, I know I’m making broad assumptions here, but no one knows any better now do they??? – lol)

    So as expected, Providers across the land RUSH to be accepted by FSMTB so they can teach the courses that fill the descriptions above,
    since license renewal is where the demand will be. For fun, lets call all the states requirements, LEVEL ONE. So Providers pay the money to be accepted by the states as LEVEL ONE PROVIDERS, and are allowed to teach approved LEVEL ONE COURSES required by the states to keep one’s license. With me so far?

    OK – this means virtually all therapists in the country will eventually seek out a minimum of 12 LEVEL ONE COURSES every two years to renew their licenses. Now hold that thought…..

    DISSOLVE TO: NCBTMB. They need to come up their own CE system to keep one’s CERTIFICATION, but one not having anything to do with what the states are doing. So, to avoid confusion, for anyone who wants to remain nationally certified, NCB decides to approve their providers and CE courses under the banner of LEVEL TWO. LEVEL TWO means the provider has been approved as an educator and also has their courses approved (for a fee) for recertification by NCBMTB. Still with me? Hang in just a bit longer….

    Now any practitioner who is state licensed only – not certified – doesn’t have to worry about any level two courses at all — ever. The LEVEL ONE courses are all they have to take, 12 every two years, to stay licensed. Simple.

    But, if you are an NCB certificant, you need not only 12, but another 12 (24 CE’s every two years) to stay certified. Here’s where it gets interesting. Most likely you will take 12 from a LEVEL ONE provider so the states license renewal will be covered. Great. But you will have to make sure you also take another 12 from a LEVEL TWO provider, since NCB will demand you turn in 24 CE’s based on THEIR system. But guess what – what if the first 12 you took FROM LEVEL ONE providers aren’t accepted by NCB cause they aren’t LEVEL TWO? Ah …. the plot thickens. But wait: let’s pause here for a moment:

    DISSOLVE TO DISTRAUGHT CE PROVIDERS: We need to consider the poor CE provider’s plight. If they want to be both LEVEL ONE and LEVEL TWO approved they have to (1) jump through two sets of hoops (2) pay two sets of fees and (3) probably pay to register two set of courses to be vetted by two sets of paradigms. Ugh! Maybe they’ll decide to just be LEVEL ONE folks because that’s where most of the action will be. (Just not very fun or lucrative because it’s mostly entry level, low end stuff based on FSMTB’s infatuation with the mundane.) Or, perhaps they will want to be LEVEL TWO providers since they want to teach more advanced skills. Of course there wont be as much money in that action since NCB is not a mandatory credential, their new one is unpopular and their certificants are dropping like flies. Wow …. this sure is confusing!

    FADE BACK TO AVERAGE THERAPIST: So …. average hard working Joe-Bag-a-Donuts practitioner, after struggling to figuring all this out and taking his CE’s, looks down at his wallet and says, “Why is there no money in here?” He realizes that he can’t afford a cab fare to the state board to submit his CE’s because he has paid SO MUCH MORE for them this year. That’s because the CE Providers have had to double the price Joe had to pay for his courses because THEIR costs have DOUBLED. After all, both NCB and FSMTB want to be paid to administer their dual approval programs. Joe decides it might be a good time to consider retiring early. This is just no fun anymore. His friend, the CE Provider, beat him to it and decided to purchase a “Yummy-Yogurt” franchise in Poughkeepsie.

    CONCLUSION: I guess it can work, two systems and two sets of rules and two fees and two of everything. But does this sound like a good time to anybody??? What a nightmare. NCBTMB must work with the FSMTB. They must sit down, and consolidate. It can be done very simply. There is no excuse for this singularity and posturing. State regulators DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to diminish the fluidity of our profession by creating undue hurdles and hardship. They said so themselves. If they do, we all will suffer. Please unite, and stop this.

  13. As far as the politics of FSMTB vs NCBTMB I am not involved until decisions are made that impact me personally or have a significant impact on the direction of our profession. I respect both entities in their separate roles. I understand that it is the FSMTB works to the needs of the state regulatory boards and has done a brilliant job with the implementation of the MBLEX, and while I was disappointed with the recent proposal from the NCBTMB, I am still in support of them managing the continuing education process. I was very disappointed however to see that the Federation wanted to offer their own ethics classes as this has a direct impact on CE providers and their livelihood. To address a comment from HR Nitert, I understand that as of right now Massage Therapists are not considered at the same level as Chiropractors, PTs etc., but it is my understanding that it has been our desire to see our profession grow into a more accepted form of HEALTH CARE, not be limited and possibly reduced to only a spa-type service (In no way am I downgrading spa services; they are a wonderful PART of our profession). Even cosmetologists and nail technicians are required more than 6 hours per year to maintain their license (cosmetologist 12 and nail techs 8 in my state). I understand the need for more education on ethics in our profession, however reducing the over all standards of professional growth and development is not going to help elevate our profession. Adding more hours in ethics should be a requirement in primary massage education. That being said, there is strong evidence that suggests most ethical violations happen with therapists who already know better but do it anyway. Even in continuing education, I wouldn’t mind if the ethical hours were increased for CE, but I certainly think, as Mr. Rosen stated, it is a huge step backwards for our profession to reduce the CE requirements that contribute to the growth and professional development of our practitioners. In our CE classes we reeducate constantly. It is often very startling what practicing therapists don’t remember from their primary instruction. Not only do CE classes provide growth and advancement, but it help maintain core competencies such as basic anatomy, kinesiology, pathology as well as ethics (which comes up in nearly every class). We currently do not have any core competency continuing education, but I assure you reeducating what therapists are already supposed to know is a big part of what we do. Without a requirement of CE for license renewal the therapists that are dedicated to being lifelong learners will undoubtedly continue to take courses, but it is those who are not that are both the majority and the concern. I have heard it stated many times in the comments here, and by my colleagues, that the state board’s (and FSMTB) only purpose is to protect the public. While I agree, we need to examine that not only do we need to protect the public from ethical harm, we need to produce therapists who are knowledgeable enough to be of benefit. In Rick Rosen’s paper there was a sentence that stood out to me, and feel is worth quoting here; “”We have a unique opportunity to reframe regulation in a positive way by changing its fundamental rationale from “Prevention of Harm” to the “Provision of Good”. Within existing massage laws, state boards can use their legislatively-granted authority as a means to support the ongoing and incremental improvement of the quality of services provided to the public.” Thank you Rick for saying this and I couldn’t agree more!

  14. Frankly, the requirement that LMTs receive is a primary reason that so many, many of them with exceptional skills, don’t renew their license even once.

    If the LMT lives near a big city, they can fill their quota with a new class every year. A good thing, developing new skills. But those who live in backwoods USA must either take the same one or two seminars every renewal period from the few CEU providers who visit the area, or travel– and travel is prohibitively expensive. Especially for members of a profession with average yearly income of $21,000.

    Therefore, I am in at least partial agreement with the aims FSMTB expressed in their paper. Their stance is that licensing exams are designed to assess entry level knowledge. As they eloquently expressed, the duty of state boards is protecting the public, not raising the bar for the entire profession. Requiring licensed massage therapists to become trained in modalities they may never employ in order to fill their dance card every license period is just plain wrong.

    I understand that dropping CEU requirements will be a serious blow to the incomes of CEU providers who have invested eons of time and barrels of money developing their courses.

    The answer, then, is for NCBTMB to continue on the course it has begun. They need to surrender entry level testing to FSTMB and work diligently to make the National Board Certification into something meaningful– truly national, and a designation of advanced skills. When the designation Board Certified is worth dollars and sense to those who attain it (and truly national in scope, no state licensing necessary to work temporarily in another state), then MTs will pursue CEU certifications, not because they are required to, but because it will put money in their pockets.

    In the meantime (continuing in the future for the majority of LMTs who happily provide relaxation massage in hair salons) LMTs should not be forced to spend literally thousands of dollars every year to attend far away seminars in something they could study on DVD for a fraction of the cost.

  15. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!! It’s all about money and power. While hard working, competent MTs are out there trying to eek out a living, while helping their clients in need, ALL of these big MT organizations, (i.e. AMTA, NCBTMB, FSMTB, etc, etc.) are trying to figure out how they can become more powerful and wealthy, (check some of the salaries of the Big Wigs of these organizations). I have watched AMTA bully state boards and others to get their way, watched FSMTB bully out NCBTMB & state boards so they can get their way, NCBTMB try to bully FSMTB and others to get their way, for over 10 years now. I am about sick of it! I tried to “give back” as a member of a state board, but the polictics, backstabbing, lying, and general disrespect by AMTA, other organizations, and other board members was more than I could tolerate. I am back to just taking care of my clients and getting the continued education I need to do the best I can for my clients. Yes, I am self-motivated and I know not everyone else is. However, I have watched MTs come and go over the years. The ones who want to grow, learn and give better care are still here. The others will go away, eventually. Because, it takes hard work, dedication, moral character, and the drive to be the best you can be. Just let capitalism work. The market will show the way. Clients will go to the best and leave the rest behind. The same for CEU providers. The great learning experiences will continue to be, while the mediocre will no longer be. Don’t get me wrong, I do think there should be some national standard, including reciprocity between states and possibly different levels of MT licensing. I just don’t know how to get there with all the drama and power-mongering going on out there. Maybe we should elect a Queen to show the way and control the greedy and powerful. I vote for Laura!

  16. Thanks Tina, for calling out what’s obvious. The organizations have been guided and led for too long by association managers that are getting RICH and inserting themselves into our industry while the average Massage Therapist barely makes minimum wage. Yet we are all being sold the idea that if we just work harder and give more money, time and energy, we will be accepted into the healthcare fold, and be able to cross state lines with licenses that aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Most LMT’s don’t make a living wage in this country, and its so obvious to anyone that’s been around awhile that the AMTA has sold us out long time ago. To require more and more fees while ignoring the fact that local laws and zoning will force many massage therapists out of business or to work in low end jobs for others only is missing the mark on so many levels. Massage needs higher basic educational requirements from jump, make it harder to get into and more valued. But that does not serve the needs of the massage orgs who get more than one million a year from new students entering the profession in dues, and CE fees for established providers to stay in through their creation, the NCTMB. The fact that the former director of AMTA still makes 6 figures now is ludicrous. What does she do? As former state lobbyists and non massage therapists, they have just become frontmen of corporate for-profit education like Cortiva and franchises like ME who are profiting on future and current massage therapists in low wage jobs. I say let all of em fail. I personally made a lot more when I had no license. There were fewer therapists and I had a much better education than the folks I interview these days, at half the price. Most great LMT’s I know are leaving the field for jobs that pay the bills; to be able to open a healthcare practice without the costs and stigma that still exists in being a massage therapist. I live near the hometown of NCTMB and AMTA. My students can’t work around here as towns limit massage offices or charge outrageous establishment permits while unlicensed people freely do massage at half what it should cost. No one is addressing these issues, and the beat goes on.

  17. “We” and “Us” hardly exists across the nation for massage therapists. Some are licensed, some are registered, others are certified, and some aren’t any of these things at all. Some are healthcare providers, others are spa service providers. Some are entrepreneurs, others are employees, some part time, some full time. All touch people on a daily basis, but so do many professionals, and without the same basic intent, how can we possibly build national standards for “us” when goals, purposes, needs, protocols, markets, methods, or nearly any given element of an individual therapists practice can be different. We aren’t a “we” at all. So why are we arguing about how to regulate or deregulate “us?”

    These organizations (FSMTB and NCB) are trying to mold a national therapist. Sorry, guys, but it’s irritatingly obvious that its all about money for you!

    Priorities for national cohesiveness here should be legislative first, then regulating what is defined by national legislation. Otherwise, it will always be an internal (state wide only) discussion.

  18. The AMTA Board of Directors has asked me to restate its objection to the MOCC.

    Dear Laura,
    As you mention in your blog, AMTA made its views clear when the MOCC was first proposed. We see no real change in their proposal and maintain our opposition to the MOCC.
    Thank you for continuing to bring this to the attention of massage therapists.
    AMTA Board of Directors

  19. I 100% agree with Rick Rosen and Tina’s comments, above. While I do agree that all states need to come to a national standard; I think there are entirely too many fingers in the pie to get there. This is the aspect of this business that disgusts me to no end – the political, greedy groups each trying to run the show with nothing but dollar signs in their eyes.
    Like Tina, I’m a self motivated, business-minded LMT who loves what she does and plans on doing it for years to come. Here in my state, we’re required to have 24 hours of CE every 2 years. I wholeheartedly do not agree with replacing the ability to expand our knowledge with just a few hours of ethics (however – I do agree with continuing to require ethics, as they are obviously important). Personally it is my opinion that the ones who are in favor of this change are the ones who don’t want to pay for or attend all the CE that is currently required – either due to laziness or cheapness. You cannot deny the benefits of education in ANY profession that involves promoting health. I would not want to go to an LMT who isn’t educated or just got the minimum standard years & years ago.

  20. It really burns my ass that the FSMTB states, “we work for the Public, not the Profession”

    Excuse me, but I am a member of the public. Just because I hold an LMT license doesn’t mean that I am NOT a member of the public. These people have a moral, ethical, and fiduciary responsibility to ME to protect me from the unlicensed, the prostitutes, the human traffickers, etc.

    They are surely messed up in the head if they don’t think that WE, the collective MT’s, and I mean ALL of us currently licensed in our respective states need protection from the fray that invades our profession.

    But no, we’re nothing. We’re not worthy of their protection and advocacy.
    Piss on them.

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