Don’t Call it Pampering. Massage wants to be Medicine is the title of this 2012 Wall Street Journal Article.
Massage Therapy can help alleviate pain and it helps cut down recovery time for many health conditions such as carpal tunnel, muscle strains/sprains, and thoracic outlet syndrome. It helps reduce headache intensity and frequency. Massage can help in the recovery from surgery and it can also reduce the number of surgeries having to be done for such things as carpal tunnel and herniated discs.
If massage wants to be medicine and can help all of those conditions AND more – then why is it so far behind in being recognized for what it is : Healthcare.
Why are insurance companies across the US not covering massage that is medically necessary as they are in WA State. WA State has been part of health insurance since about 1996 when the Every Category Law was created by Deborah Senn, the past insurance commissioner of WA State.
Why are the allowable fees in WA continuing to drop and more restrictions being place on number of sessions and why are provider lists closed?
The reason is – NO ONE, NO Organization is standing up for is in the healthcare arena. The US is 20+ years behind WA State in getting massage to be accepted by healthcare and getting the recognition it deserves as a RECOGNIZED AND RESPECTED COMPONENT OF HEALTH CARE. While the terms integrative medicine is being used all over starting with the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (NCCIH), we believe that massage should not be contained in a separate category- we are not ‘alternative’ or ‘Complementary’. Massage should be mainstream medicine.
To make that happen many things have to happen. Licensing Laws need to change in every state to increase the number of hours of education to the MINIMUM ELAP requirements of 625 hours of specific hours of education. Insurance commissioners in every state need to get on board and stand up for massage therapists.
This is not only about getting covered by health insurance. It is getting the general public to understand how massage can and does change lives. It is about giving the profession the boost it needs to recover from the downturn in the number of students graduating from massage schools that is affecting the massage profession all over the US. It is about getting back to higher standards of education that the smaller ‘mom and pop’ type massage schools provided over the big corporate chain massage schools that bought them all out in the mid-late ’90s.
This is also about so called relaxation massage that seems to be separating itself from the so called ‘medical/clinical massage’ sector. ALL massage is medical in nature. Relaxation massage (spas/franchises) are included in this. In the 20+ states where massage therapists ARE licensed as HCP’s, ALL massage is healthcare. It is about getting them up to standards and getting to pay their therapists more and to classify them correctly as employees rather than taking advantage of them as Independent Contractors.
Massage is Healthcare and wants to be recognized as so!