Senator Nelson bill would set standards for massage therapists
Senator Telena Cruz Nelson has introduced Bill No. 226-34, which seeks to add educational requirements and a thorough certification process for massage therapists. Bill No. 226-34 would place massage therapy and massage therapists under the jurisdiction of the Guam Board of Allied Health alongside chiropractors, physical therapists and other health specialists.
These certifications are intended to ensure that massage therapists are providing quality massage therapy and have the certification to show that they are properly trained to do so. The bill not only requires the Allied Health Board to certify massage therapists, but also mandates that they complete continuing education to maintain their certification. Bill No. 226-34 also establishes a scope of practice that all massage therapists and practitioners must adhere to. “As it stands right now, there are many gaps in how we enforce massage therapy and massage on Guam,” Senator Nelson said. “One provision of the bill sets the proper practices of massage practitioners and therapists. By doing that, we create a measure of accountability to hold massage practitioners and therapists to.” The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards has released a report connecting massage therapy and human trafficking, which shows that between 6,500 and 9,000 illicit businesses use massage therapy as a front for human trafficking.
Senator Nelson aims to narrow the gap for potential human trafficking to our island with Bill No. 226-34. Defining the scope of practice and requiring certification and continuing education under law would make massage therapy requirements strenuous enough to become an unappealing industry for human traffickers.
“With this bill, we hope to ensure that a massage therapist’s practice is clearly defined by law with a standard in place for all those who practice massage on island. Through these standards, we hope that the practice of massage is no longer at risk to the possibility of human trafficking. Human trafficking is an issue that affects countless lives around the world and we must do our part locally to take all steps to prevent it from entering our shores,” Senator Nelson concluded.