Michigan’s massage therapists are one step closer to state regulation of their profession.

According to a statement released by Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, which monitors massage legislation nationwide, “House bill 5651, sponsored by Representative Paul Condino, passed the House Regulatory Reform Committee on Tuesday, June 24, 2008. The bill would establish state licensing standards for massage therapists and create a board of massage therapy to implement the process. If passed, a state license would pre-empt local regulations; only one license would be needed.”

The bill specifically exempts the following professions from oversight, the bill states, “as long as those services are not designated or implied to be massage or massage therapy”:

The Feldenkrais method; the Trager approach; polarity therapy; reflexology; Rolfing; reiki and shiatsu

The bill states these requirements for licensure:

• Has a high school diploma or the equivalent as
determined by the board
• Is of good moral character.
Is at least 18 years of age.
• Has successfully completed at least 1 of the following:
At least 500 contact hours of massage
At least 500 hours of course and clinical massage
Education in a substantially equivalent program in another state, country, jurisdiction, territory, or province that, on a case-by- case review, is found by the board to be sufficient.

The bill also provides for grandfathering in of practicing massage therapists.

Currently 38 states, the District of Columbia and four Canadian provinces currently offer some type of credential to professionals in the massage and bodywork field—usually licensure, certification or registration.