This topic of therapist qualifications comes up a lot when people are looking for massages and it is time to address this issue head on. So if this topic really interests you please read the whole story and better understand how to be a smarter consumer of massage and bodywork.
So let's start with why this is something that comes up quite often when I am working with new clients. Minnesota is one of only a few states that have completely unregulated massage therapy at the state level. Many of the areas outside of the five county metro area have not regulated massage therapy with city or county ordinances. Within the five county metro area many cities regulate massage therapy without enforcement. This also means from a marketing perspective many therapists still advertise and LMT (licensed massage therapists) when they have no such credentials. Even many spas will tell customers they have certified massage therapists which means nothing (meant to sound like they are regulated when all it means is that they have passed the company background check and education standards which can be little or nothing. Furthermore, ordinances between cities that regulate massage therapy have standards that can vary widely.There is still a great deal of enforcement that needs to occur as well as many people already know massage therapy is commonly used for cover for prostitution and escort services.
As an independent therapist I can tell you through many of the mediums which I choose to advertise with that many of the other ads I see are from people who are prostitutes who have no formal education but claim to have a great deal of experience. Though there are many people with natural abilities in all sorts of actives there is always some kind of formal training people go through in order to hon their abilities. But the question is: Do you really want to have someone work with you that doesn't have the proper training or understand of what danger they could put you in by performing certain techniques?
When choosing somewhere to get a massage I am surprised how many people think that it does not require any significant training, dedication, or natural ability. I was once told to me in massage school that it is impossible to give a bad massage…ya thats a lie to make new therapists feel better. Unskilled massage is nothing more than an expensive exercise in futility. I can see why so many consumers are confused about who would be legitimate skilled therapists and who would be be unskilled or worse a victim of the sex trade.
So how do you find a qualified therapist? First, and foremost you should simply find out if they've had any formal education and if so where from. Second, you should find out how many years of experience they have in the industry. Thirdly, you should find out if they are licensed or if a license is required in your area and if so what their license number is so that can be verified against that cities database which is a simple phone call to a city clerk. And for those of you choosing to get massage done at a chain or franchise also know that even though they do simple background checks there are number of lawsuits pending in several states because sex offenders and convicted felon's are performing massage therapy. This should not discourage consumers from receiving massage and bodywork services but it is a good reminder of why regulation is so important and that it is a savvy consumer who will always win.
Legal Disclaimer: Due to the litigious nature of many people I am forced to issue this statement: Any information contained within blogs, websites, postings, or news articles suggestions which I make to be open for interpretation that if you believe it may fit a concern or medical problem you may be having or suspect that you may have that you discuss it with your qualified healthcare practitioner including your physician. I do not take responsibility in any way for any content provided to you that you choose to act on without talking to a medical doctor or other qualified medical practitioner with legal standing of authority. You are free to act on any information from any source that you choose of which the consequences are your responsibility.