The law

Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a massage-therapy bill into state law today, according to a press release from Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP).

House Bill 5651 provides for the state licensing of massage therapists, It will likely take at least six to 12 months before applications become available, the ABMP release noted.

The law will defines minimum training requirements and scope of practice; provides an avenue for client complaints; and pre-empts local regulations, meaning all massage therapists will license with the state and no longer have to become licensed in their city or in multiple cities, the ABMP released stated. The bill. also includes a grandfathering clause.

An eleven member Michigan Board of Massage Therapy, consisting of seven massage therapists and four public members, will be created to implement the law, the ABMP release stated.

Professions exempt from obtaining state registration, as long as practitioners do not practice or advertise that they practice massage therapy, include reflexologists, movement educators (Feldenkrais, Trager), energy workers (reiki, shiatsu, Asian bodywork, polarity therapy), and structural integrators (Rolfing and Hellerwork), the release noted.

Michigan Licensing Bill Signed by Governor Granholm
Friday, January 9, 2009

Today, House Bill 5651, providing for the state licensing of massage therapists, was signed into law by Governor Granholm. While the law is effective immediately, it will take some time to implement. There is no action for you to take at this time. It will likely take at least 6-12 months before applications become available, ABMP will continue to keep members informed.

The law will benefit the massage therapy community in three primary ways:
• Minimum training requirements and scope of practice are defined.
• An avenue for consumer complaint is established.
• Local regulations will be pre-empted, meaning all massage therapists will license with the state and no longer have to become licensed in their city or in multiple cities.
Existing practitioners
For approximately the first year license applications are available, existing practitioners will be able qualify for state license by meeting one of these five criteria:
1 Provide evidence that you have been an active member, as a massage therapist, of a professional massage therapy association (such as ABMP) for at least one year; or
2 Establish by affidavit that you have practiced massage therapy for an average of at least 10 hours per week for five or more years; or
3 Establish by affidavit that you have practiced massage therapy for at least 3 years and provide evidence from the school you attended that you also completed at least 300 hours of formal training; or
4 You have passed an exam approved by the board*; or
5 You have completed at least 500 hours of classroom instruction in massage.
Once a massage therapist becomes state licensed, you will be required to complete 18 hours of continuing education and renew your state license every 3 years.

After the initial year of licensing, new candidates for state license will have to complete a 500-hour minimum massage therapy program AND pass an exam (to be) approved by the board*.

An eleven member Michigan Board of Massage Therapy, consisting of seven massage therapists and four public members, will be created to implement the law. If you are interested in serving on the board, please send a resume and cover letter to jean@abmp.com.* The board will be responsible for writing rules and regulations to implement the law, in addition to designating approved exams.

Professions exempt from obtaining state registration, as long as practitioners do not practice or advertise that they practice massage therapy, include: reflexologists, movement educators (Feldenkrais, Trager), energy workers (Reiki, Shiatsu, Asian Bodywork, Polarity), structural integrators (Rolfing and Hellerwork)

To view the entire law, go to:
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2007-2008/billenrolled/House/pdf/2008-HNB-5651.pdf

Questions can be directed to Jean Robinson at jean@abmp.com.

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