Did you know your therapist is licensed?
When someone plans to get a massage, rarely are they thinking about the qualifications of the therapist. Not many know about our qualifications, education, and licenses.
While many individuals just go to any massage therapist thinking all are the same and the job is easy to just rub lotion on people, it’s not that simple. As a client, licensure matters because it’s there to protect the public. When you work with a licensed individual you know that they are educated and know how to work with you safely.
Every licensing state requires massage therapists to graduate from an approved school, pass an exam on the licensure laws and massage skills, complete a background check, and more. Schools are required to teach anatomy, physiology, pathology, ethics, draping, state laws, and much more in addition to hands on massage. Included in that time is a clinical where we practice on clients under the guidance of a therapist who can give us feedback with the client to improve our skills. Depending on the school, additional courses focusing on special populations (such as prenatal, oncology, or infants), along with hydrotherapy, and research courses are taught as well.
Every adult has, at some point in their life, had an infection like the cold and flu, been on a prescription with side effects, or has a systemic health condition, but not many know which ones can be adversely affected by massage. Education matters because it gives your therapist the knowledge to know how to work with your body safely and effectively. Clients should not walk away from a massage feeling bruised or injured. While feeling soreness or discomfort after a massage is common, clients should feel relief from symptoms within a day.
It’s so important for therapists to know how to treat people who have health conditions and know the best modalities and skills to use for them. Every massage is unique just like every client. There are also a lot of theories on how and why certain techniques work and when they are indicated, which someone without training may not know. In some states, massage is considered health care and can potentially be covered by your insurance or considered as a tax write off. Having a therapist with a license and national provider number means that in those cases the cost can be covered or reimbursed. Therapists are also required to take and retain notes on sessions which can be requested by the client at any time and can help with claims. We abide by the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) and always keep your information confidential.
As health care providers we abide by the same sanitation practices as other providers. Your safety is affected by so many factors like a sanitary space and the good hygiene of the therapist. We are taught how to sanitize our equipment and avoid cross contamination between clients. A properly trained therapist will always provide fresh linens for every client, disinfect contact surfaces and have proper hand washing practices.
Our licenses are always available and are required to be on display in the office or on our person at events. If you are uncertain, you can always ask to see the license or use the state verification site to look up a therapist.
On a very serious note, using a licensed therapist is also a way to provide very personal safety. Unethical massage locations have often been fronts for very dangerous human trafficking businesses. Licensed therapists are very serious about protecting our valuable clients! While our licenses are important, our best tool for client safety is education and awareness.