The American Massage Therapy Association – Georgia Chapter (“AMTA-GA”) is the professional association of licensed massage therapists. It enjoys 1601 members and represents the interests of the 6357 licensed therapeutic massage therapists in Georgia. For over two years, AMTA-GA has vigorously advocated to numerous Georgia counties and cities to recognize them as health professionals. Many ordinances wrap the licensed therapists in their massage parlor ordinances and unfairly inhibit State-licensed practice of therapeutic massage. The bodywork therapies acknowledged in the massage therapists’ scope of practice also get caught up in or illicitly used by the sex trade, dodging appropriately local prosecution.
Due to ongoing issues with local governmental regulation and misunderstanding of the licensing statute, AMTA-GA is pursuing changes to Chapter 34-24A to update current law, improve local jurisdictions ability to police the sex trade and to address “over-regulating” the profession.
- Increase licensure Board regulation of massage and bodywork continuing education programs to assure higher quality of courses and monitoring and certification of all educational programs
- Assure fair and appropriate local government recognition of therapeutic massage therapy as healthcare profession
- Improve proper name tag identification of licensed professionals for consumers
- Protect the public by strengthening advertising limitations on massage therapy to distinguish them from illicit sex trafficking businesses
Certification of educational programs:
As for other healthcare professions, permit the Board to approve and set the standards for educational programs.
- Require Board certification of massage therapy and bodywork educational programs
- Require Board to define standards for educational programs
Local regulation of massage therapy:
These changes address issues around inconsistent use and definitions of terms and titles by local jurisdictions. (Some local ordinances permit police inspection of client records in violation of HIPAA laws, and permit burdensome conditions not required of other health professions.) Proposed amendments:
- Require equivalent treatment of massage and bodywork professionals as other health professions, including no greater fees nor taxes
- Establish standards for local ordinances
- Limit unfair local government provisions (such as zoning controls, prohibitions on off-site services, presence required on premises, and contracting with licensed therapists)