The Massage Activist's
Resource Page


I believe we can do our research and walk through the negotiating or lobbying door prepared to address the full range of potential concerns about massage and be equally prepared to offer a package of our solutions. We are thus reframing massage from being a problem to being a community asset that has some occasional difficulties of administration. Once the practice of massage is seen as an active benefit to a community, negotiations for governance have a much better chance of producing a positive result. What follows are resources for getting involved, communicating effectively, and becoming knowledgeable about the technical and interpersonal issues.


Guides to Activism

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Negotiation, Consensus, and Communication Skills

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California Resources

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Governance Agency Laws and Reviews

  • Carolyn Cox and Susan Foster, 1990: The Costs and Benefits of Occupational Regulation, Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Economics. (HTML executive summary only; PDF, full report)— This report by Cox and Foster is one of the most extensive and well-thought out reviews of the balance between the costs and benefits of occupational regulation that I have uncovered. It is also widely referenced by other reviews.

  • Occupational Regulation, Program Evaluation Division, State of MN The statutory purpose of occupational regulation is to protect public health, safety, and welfare. Today there are almost 200 regulated occupations in Minnesota (not counting teachers’ licences), but many policy makers in Minnesota and across the country question whether occupational regulation is needed as often as it is used.

  • Occupational Regulation — A Program Evaluation Report, Report 99-05, Office of the Legislative Auditor, State of Minnesota, 3 Feb 1999.

  • British Columbia
    • British Columbia Health Professions Council Preliminary Report on the Scope of MassageThe Council recommends the following scope of practice statement for members of the College of Massage Therapists: The practice of massage therapy is the assessment of the soft tissues and joints of the body and the treatment and prevention of dysfunction, injury, pain, and physical disorders of the soft tissues and joints primarily by manipulation to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function, to relieve pain and promote health. The Council recommends that massage therapists not be granted any reserved acts.

    • British Columbia Replies by College of Massage Therapists to HPC Reports

    • British Columbia Health Professions Council Post Hearing Update of Preliminary Report In the Council's view, the College's request for these proposed new reserved acts is an attempt to reserve the entire scope of massage practice. If the College's rationale were adopted and if the proposed reserved acts were added to the Reserved Acts List and granted to massage therapists, the practice of unregulated massage practitioners would be inhibited. Every act of massage could be subject to investigation and evaluation of the intent of the massage practitioner. To accede to the College's request would result in an unwarranted infringement of the public's right to chose a massage practitioner. The Council has seen no evidence that massage therapy carries with it such a sufficient risk of harm to warrant making any portion of its practice a reserved act.

    • The full Health Professions Council review of the health professions is SAFE CHOICES: A New Model for Regulating Health Professions in British Columbia

  • Colorado Massage Parlor Code (Article 48.5) — This code is notable for granting local agencies the authority to regulate massage parlors while exempting massage therapists from such regulation. It is in essence an implicit title act for massage therapy based on hours of education. It thus provides a template for freeing massage therapists from onerous local regulation without requiring explicit registration or licensing. The 2001 Sunset Review of the code is also available (PDF file).

  • Georgia Occupational Regulation Review Council, October 1997The potential for harm to the public appears to be remote and would not be alleviated by licensing. The Council's review of available information indicates that the number of complaints concerning massage practitioners is very small and, of those complaints cited, many allege sexual misconduct which under Georgia law is a criminal act. Moreover, there is little evidence that unqualified massage therapists have inflicted physical harm on clients.

  • Minnesota — In a law signed by Governor Jesse Ventura on May 11, 2000, Minnesota has taken the innovative route of combining state recognition of unlicensed complementary healthcare professions with requirements for consumer information and state resources for tracking and acting on complaints.

  • Pew Health Professions Commission, 1995 - REFORMING HEALTH CARE WORKFORCE REGULATION Policy Considerations for the 21st Century — Grant title protection without accompanying scope of practice acts to some professions. This would be appropriate for professions (e.g., massage therapy) which provide services which are not especially risky to consumers.

  • West Virginia Legislative Auditor's Review (2003)Two years ago the Legislative Auditor reviewed the Massage Therapy Licensure Board and concluded that the Board was not needed for public protection. The Legislative uditor arrives at the same conclusion in this current evaluation. There is no compelling evidence to support continued licensure of this profession because there is low risk of physical harm if the profession were unregulated. Essentially, the existence of this Board provides no added safety or competency to the practice of massage therapy.

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Sunrise and Sunset Laws

State legislatures basically consider that the sole purpose of occupational regulation is to protect the public from the potential for harm that is recognizable and not remote and that is not ameliorated by existing laws and means. There is in general no legislative consideration that such regulation conveys upon the regulated occupation a recognition or approval by the state. Sunset laws require periodic reevaluation (e.g. every five years) of existing governance to insure that its purposes are still valid and adequate. Sunset laws thus provide a broad window of opportunity for providing new activist input on existing occupational regulations. Sunrise laws require a specific review of proposed regulation to insure that an alleged potential for harm is recognizable and that the regulation is the most suitable remedy.

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Other Resource Sites

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Ethics, Sexuality, and Misconduct

There are problems of misconduct, abuse of trust, and crossing of ethical boundaries that are pervasive across health and mental care. What is all too clear is that neither licensing nor requiring substantial hours of education act as specific preventatives for conduct of malintent.

  • Advocate Web — Helping overcome professional exploitation

  • Angelica Redleaf with Susan A. Baird, 1998: Behind Closed Doors Gender, Sexuality, and Touch in the Doctor/Patient Relationship, Auburn House. Westport, Conn. 224 pages LC 97-32947. ISBN 0-86569-285-8. T285 $59.95

  • Liability of Physicians, Therapists and Other Health Professionals for Sexual Misconduct With Patients — Linda Jorgenson and Pamela K. Sutherland — Pamela K. Sutherland is a litigation attorney whose practice focuses on the representation of patients/clients exploited by their therapists/physicians/attorneys.

  • Report on Sexual Boundary Issues By The Ad Hoc Committee on Physician Impairment

  • Sexual Abuse by Therapists, Physicians, Attorneys, and Other Professionals — Pamela K. Sutherland, Attorney At Law, Boston, MA. This article focuses on the clinical and legal reasons underlying the prohibitions
    on therapist-patient sexual contact and some of the legal remedies available.

  • Sexual Exploitation: Strategies for prevention and intervention — Report of the Maryland task force to Study Health Professional-Client Sexual Exploitation

  • Sexual Misconduct and Harrassment by Dianne Polseno (AMTA)

  • Sexual Misconduct in the Physician-Patient Relationship —American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

  • Sexuality Issues —Massage Therapy Journal, Summer 2000

  • California Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine — President’s Report (June 7, 1998, Brian C. Fennen) — The increase in sexual misconduct charges was so great this past year that it was assigned its own separate category. First rule of thumb: don’t flirt with your patients. By law, psychologists and MFCCs must wait one year before dating ex-patients. Other healthcare practitioners generaly have no such legal requirements, but they can often get into trouble easily. For example, the Californai Chiropractic Board states that over half of the chiropractors in practice have had either fraud or sexual misconduct complaints filed against them. In Alaska, a waiting period of three months was written into their Acupuncture Licensing regulations. Remember, just say no to dates.

  • Chiropractic Economics — Determine Your Risk Factor: Sexual MisconductResearch has shown that somewhere between 1% and 12% of physicians report sexual contact with patients. However, more interesting is that up to 80% of doctors report a sexual attraction to their patients. The issue here is not whether a doctor feels a sexual attraction to a patient, but how the doctor behaves relative to the experience. … of adults experiencing violations, 90% are women and 75% committing them are men. Of all these types of violations, it was found that the most obsessive behavior typically occurs between a female patient and a female doctor . . . and that these may result in a type of obsession that may well promote stalking situations.

  • Mental Health Care Online by Pat StubbsThe Plain Dealer, located in Cleveland, held a six month investigation revealing that nearly 200 psychologists who "were found to have committed serious ethical violations in the last 18 years nationwide were allowed to continue their practice without ever serving any suspension." The article went on to say, "The nearly 200 psychologists who were not suspended for even a day were found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with patients, convicted of criminal offenses or committed other major ethical violations. The Plain Dealer looked at records from all 50 state licensing boards and created a data base containing the names of 2,218 psychologists who have been disciplined or denied licensure as a result of ethics violations. The study went back to 1971, although 80 percent, or 1,754, of the disciplinary actions were taken after Jan. 1, 1990 and reported that 27 states have revoked five or fewer licenses. West Virginia, Rhode Island, North Dakota and Montana, which license a total of 1,500 psychologists have taken a combined 15 disciplinary actions, but have never revoked a license. New York, the paper said, has about 14,000 psychologists, and has revoked 12 licenses. In Ohio, where there are 3,900 licensed psychologists, the Ohio Board of Psychology has revoked 16 licenses."

  • More Docs Punished for Sex Offenses (PDF file) —“You've got some real clever predators out there. You have to be smart to get through medical school.”

  • Sexual Misconduct in the Physician-Patient Relationship —The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia

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Understanding the Contexts of Prostitution

Prostitution seems unlikely either to disappear or to be decriminalized in the United States. Massage therapists continue the long public education process of separating themselves in the minds of governing agencies and some segments of clientele. Sometimes in arguing against a connection, we need more understanding. Prostitution has been a major source of division within the feminist movement. With international trafficking in econonically and culturally vulnerable women, prostitution has become a wide-area problem in which the response has too often been to criminalize the victims.

The rise of international trafficking in women as a "growth industry" (from the 7 July 2004 U.S. Senate hearing), implies substantial funding and issues not solvable by purely local approaches, particularly local ordinances targeting legitimate massage practitioners. The sophistication of the trafficking "industry" has also brought the use of technology into prostitution —moving locations from storefronts into temporary apartments while arranging contacts via web sites and cell phones. Such flexibility of location neutralizes local ordinances designed to prevent repetitive use of single fixed locations, leaving only legitimate massage practitioners (who actually want stable locations where clients can find us) to jump through the legal hoops.

  • Examining U.S. Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery — U.S. Senate Hearing, 7 July 2004. There was also a Voice of America Report on the hearing.

  • International Trafficking in Women to the United States: A Contemporary Manifestation of Slavery and Organized Crime — Amy O’Neill Richard, DCI Exceptional Intelligence Analyst Program, CIA.

  • Criminal Justice Resources on Human Trafficking — Maintained by Jon Harrison, Michigan State University

  • Trafficking in Persons Information — U.S. Department of Justice

  • Human Trafficking — U.S. Department of State

  • Responses to Human Trafficking — Global Issues, An Electronic Journal of the U.S. Department of State
    Volume 8, Number 2, June 2003

  • Human Trafficking: A Guide to Detecting, Investigating, and Punishing Modern-Day Slavery — Police Chief Magazine, vol. 70, no. 12, December 2003.

  • The War Against the Sex Trade — Governing, April 1994 v7 n7 p38(5) — A new wave of police crackdowns and community activism isn't getting rid of prostitution. But it may be driving it indoors.

  • The Skin Trade — Time Magazine, 21 June 1993 (cover story) — Poverty, chaos and porous borders have turned prostitution into a global growth industry, debasing the women and children of the world

  • The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) — A non-governmental organization that promotes women's human rights. It works internationally to combat sexual exploitation in all its forms, especially prostitution and trafficking in women and children, in particularly girls.

  • Captive Daughters — Captive Daughters is dedicated to ending the sex trafficking of children, with a particular focus as it affects girls and adolescent females.

  • Slaves; A compilation of articles —

  • Street ProstitutionCenter for Problem Oriented Policing (CPOP) —This article draws on a diversity of research and programmatic experience to present a number of options for reducing negative impacts of prostitution. It has links to a number of online resources and references as well as to published papers. Under CPOP sponsorship, the University of Albany has developed an interactive module exploring options for street prostitution abatement.

  • Prostitution control in America: Rethinking public policy, Ronald Weitzer, Crime, Law and Social Change
    32 (1): 83-102, 1999 (abstract free; article $25) — In the past two decades there has been little critical examination of the prevailing methods of controlling prostitution in the United States. This article examines selected problems in the control of prostitution in the United States and critically assesses three major alternatives to the prevailing policy of criminalization. Alternative approaches are evaluated using the criteria of public preferences, efficient use of criminal justice resources, and harm reduction. One policy, involving a dualistic approach, is found to be superior in satisfying these criteria.

  • The True Cost of Prostitution — Court Costs & Vice Unit Strategies (PDF file) — The Edmonton Police Service — Notwithstanding the best efforts of legislators at the Federal level, the problems of street prostitution remain. The inability to effectively control the issue through legislation has led to the emergence of many special interest groups, all of whom call for further police action. Such enforcement action has seriously strained our already depleted resources, and the cost incurred by the Edmonton Police Service as a result of members testifying in court has become unmanageable. This situation has proven costly, not only in financial terms, but also in terms of our members health, morale and family life. Court costs have escalated while the enthusiasm of officers who must work during evening hours and give court testimony during daylight hours, is understandably waning.

  • Prostitution Theory 101 — Few things have divided feminists as much as the sex industry. Theorists who agree on a vast swath of issues -- economic equality, affirmative action, even sexual liberation -- often find themselves bitterly opposed over pornography and prostitution.

  • The Effects of Prostitution by Katherine M. DePasquale —What image appears in your mind when you hear the word "prostitute"? Take a minute to visualize it. What does that word mean to you? Specifically what kind of person does your mind conjure up as a typical prostitute?

  • H.I.P.S. — Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive — The HIPS organization is designed to end the cycle of abuse of sex workers on the streets, to work with them to improve their lives, and to give them tools to pursue a self-determined, independent, and productive way of living.

  • The Prostitution Questions(s) (Female ) Agency, Sexuality and Work by Rajeshwari Sunder Rajan — The "prostitution question", as we may term for short the contemporary debates around women in prostitution, is a fraught one to confront today because of the acute divide it has created among, as well as between, feminists and legal reform activists both in India and the West.

  • Prostitutes, Feminists, and Economic Associates by Wendy McElroy — A troubling situation has been haunting the issue of prostitution, and that is the growing antagonism between the Prostitutes' Rights Movement, as expressed through organizations such as COYOTE, and those contemporary feminists who are anti-prostitution, which is the major of contemporary feminists.

  • Prostitution Law Reform in Canada by John Lowman, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University — This paper is a follow-up to an article on Canadian prostitution law published in the Comparative Law Review that described the events leading up to the enactment in December 1985 of a new street prostitution control measure which prohibits communicating in a public place for the purpose of buying or selling sexual services. The paper concluded that the communicating law did not have the salutary effect its designers promised because they misdiagnosed the problems they were trying to solve.

  • Prostitution and Male Supremacy by Andrea Dworkin — If you have been in prostitution, you do not have tomorrow in your mind, because tomorrow is a very long time away. You cannot assume that you will live from minute to minute. You cannot and you do not. If you do, then you are stupid, and to be stupid in the world of prostitution is to be hurt, is to be dead. No woman who is prostituted can afford to be that stupid, such that she would actually believe that tomorrow will come.

  • Prostitute's Education Network — The Prostitutes' Education Network is an information service about legislative and cultural issues as they effect prostitutes and other sex workers. The service is comprised of information for sex workers and activists/educators who study issues of decriminalization, human rights in the context of prostitution, violence against prostitutes and women, sex workers and pornography, as well as current trends in legislation and social policy in the U.S. and internationally.

  • Prostitution Research & Education — A sponsored project of San Francisco Women's Centers, a nonprofit corporation

  • San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution Report — "The traditional practice of dealing with prostitution as a law and order issue is costly and simply does not work. The Task Force creates a forum in which everyone who is impacted in whatever way by prostitution can sit together and come up with solutions that work for San Francisco." — Terence Hallinan, San Francisco Supervisor/Sponsor of Prostitution Task Force

  • Sex Workers' Rights, Human Rights: The Impact of Western Australian Legislation On Street Based Sex Workers (Elaine Dowd) —Women's rights to safety and security are abused or ignored in countless ways, both within and between international borders. In some instances, most or all of the women living under a specific regime are denied basic rights whilst other harms result from a globalised economy in which women's inferior status and diminished power are synonymous with extreme poverty. Amnesty International Australia (2002) acknowledges that large numbers of women are at risk of gender-based discrimination and violence, often resulting in death. However, it is essential that efforts to reveal these abuses do not obscure those of a lesser magnitude and those thsat are entrenched within our own society.

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Websmithing by Keith Eric Grant —The RamblemuseSM, 15 November 2005
The information on this page was collected for use and free dissemination — Do It!