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Reviewing the criteria

Just what to include in an entry-level examination for massage therapy—and what, or perhaps more importantly, who, to leave out, is the “million-dollar question,” Glenn says.

“Will the exam test for sciences or techniques? How high up the science chain or the technique chain do we go [to test to see if someone] is safe to the public?

“The [massage and bodywork] landscape is so diverse right now,” she continues, comparing the field to “a city skyline” but says that NCBTMB’s two professional exams only “tests the skyscrapers” and not all the other buildings.

“In order to talk about reciprocity, we need to talk about commonality. We need to figure out … if there is enough commonality [among different types of bodywork] to test across the field and ensure public safety,” she says.

Toward this goal, members of the FSMTB also met with the Federation of Therapeutic Massage, Bodywork & Somatic Practice Organization, which represents the fields of massage, Asian bodywork and polarity therapy, somatic movement educators and Rolf, Feldenkrais and Trager practitioners. The organization has been instrumental in getting non-massage-specific practices exempted from state-massage therapy laws. Glenn says the purpose of the visit was simply to learn and gather information.

“We are trying to be open-minded about all possibilities and are not making assumptions about anything,” she adds.

— Kelle Walsh