Who Are Legitimate Massage Therapists?

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
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Massage in Amarillo, Texas

Are you wondering how and where to find the right Massage Therapist? The massage industry here in Amarillo, Texas has become flooded with new Massage Establishments. Some offering legitimate health benefiting massages and some are a little on the questionable side. So the question that has been brought to me a number of times lately is, “How do I know if a business that offers massage is professional or just a front for illegal services?”

My name is Robert Mitchell. I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist in Amarillo since 1996. In my 19 year career I have worked in 2 Chiropractor’s offices, a tanning salon, a Health Club, and as a Self Employed Therapist. In September of 2015 my wife and I opened a Massage and Personal Training Studio here in Amarillo. While looking for the right location for our facility I noticed a large number of new “Massage Establishments” in Amarillo. Starting a new business always requires checking local regulations for necessary permits and fees, so I wanted to make sure that I did everything the right way. One of the requirements for my business was for me to make sure my State of Texas Massage License was current, and since I planned to have additional therapists on staff, I needed to acquire a State of Texas Massage Establishment License. While I was filling out my application I began to search to see how many “Establishment” licenses were issued in the Potter/Randall County area. I was shocked to find very few businesses had registered with the state. This made me realize if I can’t tell if a business is legitimate, then how can the consumer know who to choose for their massage services. Then two more events got me thinking. The first, a Facebook post stating an FBI Report saying that Amarillo has moved up on the list as one of the most dangerous cities in Texas, and a report saying that California is being overwhelmed with “massage parlors” becoming the front for human trafficking and prostitution.

As a massage therapist it has always been a goal of mine to educate the public on the difference between a massage “establishment” and a massage “parlor.” And to shed the image that “massage therapy” is related to sexual activity and prostitution. I have made several friends that are massage professionals, and know that they struggle as well with this perception of our industry. Massage professionals are people who go to school, train, and become licensed to help their clientele live a healthier, less stressful, more mobile lifestyle. As “professionals” we are required to adhere to a specific “Code of Ethics” set forth by our licensing organization including local, state and national regulatory agencies.

Massage therapy is not “Prostitution,” but massage “Parlors” are often fronts for illegal sexual businesses. Because prostitution is illegal, prostitutes and massage parlor operators look for creative ways to mask the real intent of their product “Sex for hire”. What better way to get by with performing illegal activities than conceal your operation using a trusted business facade: Call it “Massage Therapy.”

So, how do you chose the massage professional that is right for you? Here is a simple list of what to look for:

Individual Practitioners

  • Therapist must be currently licensed and in good standing with state and local regulating agencies.
  • License must be visibly posted.
  • Is their facility designed to make you feel comfortable and safe? **(see note for store front vs. private residence)**
  • Do they offer an initial consultation before the massage to discuss health concerns?
  • Are they knowledgeable about your concerns and /or physical condition?
  • Did they come with a good reference?

Massage Establishments

(use the same regulations as Individual Practitioners plus the following)

  • Must display a current Establishment License and be in good standing.
  • Only hire or contract with licensed therapists.
  • Display a current license for each practicing therapist.
  • Maintain a facility that is separate from a personal residence. (If attached to a personal residence there must be a door that separates the residence. That door must remain locked during the operating hours of the establishment.
  • Follow all the local Health Department regulations regarding cleanliness and sanitation.

If you are unsure as to which business to chose you can always use your States licensing website to see if the therapist and/or the establishment is licensed to practice in your area. To check for Texas Licensees go to

https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/massage/mt_search.shtm

Legitimate massage therapist are people that like to hep other people, non-sexually. We aim to relieve muscle pain, relax your nervous system and give you a period of time in which you and your wellness is the focus.

Legitimate massage therapy give clients a safe space to relax. Licensed massage therapist are trained to respect client’ boundaries, be non-judgmental and compassionate.

True, there is a wide rang of skill levels between licensed massage therapists, and some are far better than others, but overall, legitimate massage therapist strive to provide a clean, safe and relaxing massage session for clients.

A massage therapy session can be a wonderful, positive, relaxing experience. It can also be a way to relieve muscle pain, help from injury or help you better cope with stress.

I hope this information will aid you in finding the right Liscensed Massage Therapist so that you may begin to reap the benefits that “Massage Therapy” was intended.

Robert T Mitchell, LMT #MT014711
“Back to Basics” Massage and Personal Training #ME3330