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Most of the time when the media, or Hollywood, casts a light on massage, it seems to be a paraphrase of Rodney Dangerfield’s classic line, “We don’t get no respect.”

The latest hue and cry is over the upcoming new lifetime series, The Client List, in which Jennifer Love Hewitt is a massage therapist/prostitute who is of course just doing it because she needs the money to feed her kids. Last year it was that picture of a race car driver getting a massage from a skimpily dressed massage therapist, and the year before that it was The View. Last Halloween, I got ticked off about a costume that was labeled “Massage Therapist” and included a skimpy lingerie outfit and fishnet stockings. And always, always, the “massage parlor” busts make the news, while the therapists who work their fingers to the bone actually helping people rarely get on tv. While I hate these things as much as the next legitimate massage therapist, I do try to keep it in perspective. The same shelf in the costume store had a skimpy nurse outfit. There are tv shows portraying crooked cops…it doesn’t mean every cop is crooked, but it’s a stereotype that we’ve bought into, and it’s the same with us. We’ve been trying to separate ourselves from the sex stereotype for many years, and my guess is we’ll have to continue to do so.

Worse to me than the way the media portrays us is the way our lawmakers stereotype us. Legislation is afoot in several places that just serves to hold us back as a profession. HB 2387/SB2249 in Tennessee, which I first reported on several weeks ago, will remove massage therapy from under the division of health-related boards and move it to the jurisdiction of the commerce and insurance division–the division that regulates “trades.” Bottom line, massage therapy would be a “trade,” not a “profession,” and insurance companies don’t pay tradespeople. They pay professional health care workers. That bill was referred to the Government Operations Committee on Jan. 13 and no further action has yet been taken.

A similar situation is happening in Florida with SB 1860. I just finished reading the latest analysis of this bill, which was updated 02/03/2012. Among other things, SB 1860 removes the right of massage therapists to bill for PIP insurance. The analysis states the following: READ MORE...

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Comment by Bianca Berrios on May 23, 2012 at 6:01pm
I agree with Daniel, and furthermore think we should get upset with people in our industry calling themselves "LMT's", but dragging our profession through the mud by making accussations months later on celeberities to hop on the "Gravy Train" of maybe a legitimate complaint or maybe not...Let's be upset with our so-called colleagues that may be creating a bad name for us professionals rather then fiction tv series. Lets focus our energies where they need to be focused; Tennessee, professional ethics...not with Lifetime.
Comment by Daniel Cohen on February 20, 2012 at 8:07am

Patricia, I take a different approach. Don't buy into it. It has nothing to do with us. It is marketable fiction. I think of it as nothing more. Not stepping backward, we go forward by acting professionally and building our practices.

Comment by Patricia J. Cope on February 20, 2012 at 7:44am

I sincerely feel as if the ABMP needs to send huge protests to Lifetime to have the program, "The Client List "  removed from its line-up.  It is appauling on so many levels.  If Ihave a 15 year old daughter in my home, what message is that to her?  On another level, the  ABMP has fought for professional status.  Massage is beginning to be recognized as a ligitament mode of healing.  If this trash is on tv, we will go 30 years backward.  Please, as a professional organization, we need to get all members behind the movement to have this program canceled. 

Comment by Sara Mcgaha on February 15, 2012 at 12:43pm

It is vitally important for a therapist working in another individuals office, whether it be a chiropractor or otherwise, to be very aware of what is being billed under that therapists name and license number.  It is your right and respondibility as a healthcare professiona!

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