Updates on Board regulations!
Thanks to persistent pressure from therapists and concerned clients, “the Board will vote on April 19, 2018 to amend the proposed rules to delete Rule .1005(1)(d) [minimum room size and 3 feet clearance] and to withdraw that portion of Rule .1005 from the rules to be proposed to the Rules Review Commission.” Massage therapists from across the state, however, still intend to attend the Board meeting on April 19th to ensure this happens, and to speak to other matters of concern.
How does this concern me, your client?
The biggest long term effect that these oppressive regulations would have would be in limiting your choice in massage therapists. Many small clinics would be forced out of business. Faced with the prospect of working for a chain and finding another profession, many small business owners and those in their employ would choose to find a new profession instead. Massage therapy is an art, and the rule bound nature of large chains can feel stifling after the freedom a therapist has in a small business. While it may not affect you immediately if you are lucky enough to have a therapist at a clinic that meets the standards, some of the best therapists would start filtering out of the profession in search of something more stable. Short term affects include possible temporary shut down of offices, increased therapist turnover, and decreased availability of sessions.
What about human trafficking?
Massage therapists across the state are beginning to realize that, while we know some trafficking occurs, many members of the general public do not realize that North Carolina is #10 in the nation in human and labor trafficking. Agriculture, not massage ‘parlours’, is the #1 industry for labor trafficking in this state. We have begun to search for ways to help educate our clients. Please check out LookBeforeYouBookAMassage.com for helpful ways to know that you are being protected and that your therapist is licensed and regulated by the state board. You can also verify their standing with the Board at https://www.bmbt.org/pages/License_Status.html
Many of the regulations do not appear to be based on any studies of effective trafficking prevention methods. Certainly it is beneficial to have up to date inspections of offices, but many therapists lease their spaces so that the majority of these responsibilities are handled by their landlord. Our landlords, however, do not typically coordinate these inspections with our license renewal schedules, nor should they be expected to do so. Clean linens and equipment lists, also, are beneficial, but have no clear connection to trafficking. We do not object to the establishment license because we don’t want to do the requirements, but because we feel they are punishing the wrong group. Honest therapists will not cut corners, and these measures will severely impact their profitability and growth. Businesses using massage and other luxury services as a front will be driven further underground, but they will simply cut corners to maintain their profit margins.
How can I help?
If you haven’t yet, send a letter to the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy expressing your opinion and support for your small business therapists. Check out our last blog post for detailed rules information and the addresses to contact them, as well as a sample letter.
Please stay tuned to our page to continue to receive updates about our fight. If you are in Raleigh on April 19th, and would like to show your support, you can join us between 10am and 2pm at the Wells Fargo Building 150 Fayetteville Street, Suite 1910 Raleigh, NC 27601