Senate Expands NY Massage Therapy Instruction Policies

The State Senate on Thursday approves legislation sponsored by Senator Betty Little to permit licensed massage therapists from other states and countries to provide hands-on clinical instruction at continuing education programs in New York.

Senator Little says “This change in law would broaden the field of instructors, benefiting licensed therapists participating in the continuing education program and their clients,” and she continued by saying “Many people enjoy and benefit from massage therapy. Limiting who can provide instruction only serves to limit the level of knowledge that licensed therapists may gain.”

Mandatory continuing education for licensed massage therapists became effective in 2012. There are presently more than 17,000 state licensed therapists who are required to complete 36 hours of continuing education every three years.

Hands-on instruction is most effective for continuing education, however, under current law, a massage therapist must be licensed in New York State to “touch” another person. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, many of the nation’s most renowned instructors are reluctant to teach in New York due to the inability to physically demonstrate hands-on techniques.

Little said a similar change in law has been made for physical therapists and occupational therapists.

The legislation passed the Assembly on June 2nd.

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