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I try to keep abreast of what’s going on in the political scene of massage–and to update my readers on that. I am amazed at the amount of people who apparently don’t care. I hear things like “I’m just too busy doing massage to keep up with that stuff.”

Well, here’s a reality check. There are still plenty of places in the US where we are treated like prostitutes or some other category of second-class citizen. Right this moment in Chicago, the zoning commission is discussing a change in the law that will remove the right of massage therapists to set up shop in areas that are zoned for retail establishments, and to require instead that they only be allowed in areas zoned for heavy commercial, industry, and taverns. I’m sure you’d like for your massage establishment to be between a noisy factory and a bar. NOT!

That’s just one example of many things that go on all the time. It was brought to my attention by the IL Chapter of AMTA. There’s another serious issue up for vote in NY right now–one that will cause revocation
of a therapists’ license if you work in a place where people have previously been busted for prostitution. You don’t have to be guilty yourself; you’ll just be guilty by association. You can read about that on one
of my previous blogs

Thank goodness for Government Relations people who watch for these kind of things. ABMP also has a government relations representative, as does the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. Since the NCBTMB offices are located in a suburb of Chicago, I contacted Paul Lindamood, CEO, this morning, and got his word that he would speak to the zoning commission on that issue today as well. Thank you also to my network of therapists across America who keep me in the loop about what’s going on in your states and towns.

As massage therapists, we really depend on our professional associations to keep up with what’s happening in the world of government and politics surrounding massage. You may think you’re avoiding all those politics (on purpose) by not belonging to one of the associations,or not being active in your own local community government affairs. I personally don’t feel good about avoiding anything that has the potential to affect my rights as a massage therapist and my business.

I refuse to keep my head in the sand. I don’t want to wake up one day and find out that I’m expected to move my well-established massage business to a location between the steel mill and the Hanky-Panky Pub.

Peace & Prosperity,

Laura Allen

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Comment by Gordon J. Wallis on October 16, 2013 at 4:21am

Well here in Anchorage, its the opposite. They make me get a massage business license even though Im an employee in a spa.  They just want money.  They are not regulating anything. When I walk to work every day.  I walk by a brothel. Its busy. There is a neon sign in the window that says MASSAGE.  All the prostitutes do is show the city 

a fake license from a fake school in California.  Even though prostitution is against the law here.  No on cares.

Comment by Tonya Brooks-Taylor on October 15, 2013 at 9:01pm
Wow, I was looking in MBP to see if I could find out if others in my state are going through the same discriminatory practice by my town (which I recently moved to less than a year ago and just tried to open a practice in. Apparently some of the towns in Massachusetts view LMTs as prostitutes or at best in the same category as 'tattoo parlors'! My town refuses to approve business certificates for LMTs unless their practice is zoned in the 'highway district'. LMTs that practice here must be in a physical therapist's office or in a gym!
Comment by Tracy Smodilla on April 20, 2010 at 9:09pm
Hi Laura:
Tracy Smodilla here, Government Relations Chair of AMTA-IL. Just wanted to make your readers aware that a call to action for all Illinois LMT's and consumers will be posted to the AMTA-IL website at by Thursday. Our chapter GRC has been working on the issue feverishly since it was dropped into our lap, but we've achieved a victory - for now.

I cannot express into words the gravity of last Wednesday's deferrment. It is RARE in the Chicago City Council to defer a motion once it has made it out of committee; Chicago Alderman do not do that to one another. But, in short time, we were able to heighten the awareness of the situation to the right people and it was Alderman Joe Moore that took the lead for us. Our sincere gratitude goes to him, Alderman Mary Ann Smith and Alderman Brendan Reilly. ABMP members should know that Alderman Tom Tunney supported Alderman Suarez' hostile amendment though the ABMP website identifies him as being one of the alderman who moved to defer the amendment. That is absolutely false. In fact, during testimony at the Zoning Committee hearing on Monday, April 12th, Alderman Tunney said he had no problem with the zoning change. I would hate for LMT's to call Tunney to "thank" him for a measure he had nothing to do with. I know, I was there, I testified.

Further, this issue is much more complex than meets the eye and stands to carry national impact. It has many moving pieces and changes daily. I'd encourage all LMT's and consumers to log onto to our website at for the most current and accurate information daily and learn how to get involved. There is much, much more to get done before the amendment is redressed at the next Chicago City Council Meeting on May 12th. I hope readers of this blog dare to really roll up their sleeves and get involved. We're taking to the streets!
Comment by Bella, LMT on April 14, 2010 at 12:45pm

Hi Laura!
I love your comments.
We have a big problem in NY with illegal "Foot Rub" places opening up and performing 1 h. full body massages for $28-$40. No licences and don't speak english.
NY Post just published article (I added link) promoting these establishments.
Any suggestions how to fight it. Thank you!
Comment by Celest McGonagill on April 14, 2010 at 9:22am
So, what ideas might you suggest for massage therapy newbies on becoming watchdogs for massage therapy legislation tricks in our geographical areas? I graduate from MT school in August and want to start off my new profession on the right foot. No more head in sand stuff!
Comment by Vlad on April 10, 2010 at 3:35pm
It's good to be informed on what is going on in other parts of the country. It's pretty amazing that this is going on.
Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
Comment by Gloria Coppola on April 9, 2010 at 3:33pm
Thanks Laura! I just started teaching a new group of massage students at Privai Academy this week. I "JUST" went over some of this stuff and it surprised them immensely that there is still a negative mentality out there in some places about massage.

I appreciate you and your articles (even when I can't respond to them all) :)
Comment by Don Dillon, RMT on April 8, 2010 at 7:59am
Well said Laura. I've been fighting the good fight myself here in Ontario, Canada. I think it's the ostrich with its head in the sand phenomena...if I ignore it, it will go away.

We suppose (and in fact fearfully hang on to) the notion that our security rests with "if I just do my thing well, it will be alright". I believe we have to focus on the quality and integrity of what we're doing, but also be aware of government regulation and taxation, insurance industry funding, and relations with health care providers - all external to the profession but all influential and potentially harmful.

I applaud your efforts, and if it sometimes feels that nobody cares, I can most assuredly confirm there are many who do. Keep fighting the good fight.

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