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A. Legitimate massage therapists in the state of Florida MUST have their license number in any advertisement, profile, business card, or any other means that may identify them as a massage therapist. If not, ask for it. It is Illegal for a massage therapist to advertise or identify themselves as therapists without a license number being displayed.
B. Once you know a massage practitioners’ license number, you may check out if they are legitimate, or have any claims against them by going to http://www.myflorida.com, click on licensee search, click on massage therapist, enter their license number and check out their standing on-line. If their name does not match the name on the website, please report it immediately as someone else may be illegally using another therapist’s license number. This is identity theft and a federal offense.
C. In the state of Florida, Massage is considered to be part of the Healthcare and Medical field; therefore, one should find a qualified therapist, but realize that price is usually indicative of experience. Private therapists may be a bit more expensive then clinics or spas, but you will usually get a more personable experience.
D. People that do “body rubs”, bodywork or anything that might seem similar to massage therapists.
1. True Body workers; Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Physical Therapists, Naturopaths, etc; all need to be licensed in the state of Florida. Some individuals try to provide these services and do not have any legitimate training.
2. Individuals that do not have a legitimate license number are doing their practice illegally and should be reported to the Florida Department of Health immediately. While some of these individuals may do a good job of “massage” work or body rubs, by law, they are “impersonating a healthcare practitioner” in accordance to state and federal laws; very much the same as impersonating a Doctor. That includes, but is not limited to, the use of massage modality terms in their ads, i.e. Swedish, Sports, Trigger Point, Deep Tissue, etc. These individuals end up hurting the legitimate field of massage therapy and due to the fact that they have no formal training, they may end up hurting you.
3. In order to be licensed in the state of Florida, the Department of Health does a criminal check on individuals prior to testing and licensure. Those individuals that have many misdemeanors and/or any felony charges are denied licensure due to public protection. Those that practice without a license, illegally, often may be, or are, behind other illegal intentions including identity theft or other schemes.
E. NEVER, and I mean NEVER, ask a professional therapist for sexual gratification, sexual release or any other inappropriate behavior. It is VERY offensive and demeaning to our profession.
F. Therapists that are serious about their practice will usually not set up more then 2 to 4 appointments per day (60 to 90 minute sessions). Remember, we are human beings NOT machines. Our parts will eventually wear out and massage therapy is a lot of physical work; so a therapist that wants to be in the business for a longer span of time will schedule fewer appointments and give him or herself a proper rest in between. The average length of time a therapist can practice is 5 years; this can be greatly lengthened if they don’t overload their schedules. This also affects the pricing of massages.
G. Do not schedule with “Chop Shop” massage clinics, spas or chiropractic centers. Spas and clinics that claim to charge only $40 or $60 for a massage usually are getting clients in for volume, these usually do not stay in business long and practice illegal, immoral and unethical business practices not to mention that it shows that they do not care about their therapists. Usually they hire therapists as “independent contractors”, yet treat them as employees trying to avoid paying taxes and benefits to those that deserve it. They either do not pay their therapists for doing the massage, relying only on their tips for their only means of payment or pay them so ridiculously low that the therapist doesn’t make enough money. In this way they can have a therapist stay at their spa for 6 hours and get only 1 or 2 clients and only pay them $20 - $40 for the day. That’s less then minimum wage. This causes stress for your therapist and therefore lessens the quality of the massage that you receive. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK ANY ESTABLISHMENT WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE MASSAGE PAYMENT THAT YOUR THERAPIST GETS. YOU ALSO HAVE THE RIGHT TO VERIFY WITH THE THERAPIST WHEN YOU GET TO YOUR APPOINTMENT. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING in this scenario. If the establishment seems shady, doesn’t wish to answer any questions, you may schedule with the therapist to make an outcall to your place, if they will do it and also to report the establishment to the board of health.
To find a FSMTA therapist in your area click here.