The AMTA-WV Chapter formed a Legislative/Licensing
Committee to work towards getting licensure in the state. Ever since
the inception of our state chapter we had been encouraged to be
pro-active in our fate as massage therapists.
Many were working with the medical field, but found
out that we would not be recognized as providers for insurance
coverage unless we would be "licensed". In order to
elevate our profession, set standards and credentials, we worked
hard in passing the licensing bill on the FIRST try!
Our work had just begun, though, in its passage. It
set into motion and opened the doors for all the massage therapists
to come together under one auspices and be monitored by a
"Board" as called for in the licensing bill.
Whereas people had been practicing for years, some
had studied in formal school settings, but many had come to it
through the "school of experiential knowledge" gaining
valuable lessons in working day to day with the public in sometimes
their homes, and others in private or public settings, such as
chiropractic offices. Many were very reluctant to come forth and
become licensed at first. These were therapist who actually had been
practicing for years, but feared that they would NOT be recognized
for the knowledge and skills that they had obtained over the years.
Their fears were sought to be put to rest by the first sitting
The "rules" that were written were
intended to guide the process in being fair, yet that would elevate
the profession by instituting "standards of practice", a
code of ethics and a minimum education level that would be in line
with national standards.
Many lessons have been learned by all through this
process. We are trying to improve and keep the standards high. As we
gain respect in the community and medical fields we know that we
have met our goals.
The public can be protected in knowing that the
therapist they choose has the educational standards that exists even
on a national level. It is the hope of the board that standards
remain high and we continue to improve as changes are made for the
good of all.