Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Starting a formal Thai Massage Practice in the United States, India or Internationally

The process to become a licensed Thai Massage Therapist in the United States can be a long and expensive process. Simply put there is nothing like a licensed or registered Thai Massage therapist in the United States. The only legal Thai Massage you can receive in the United States is from a licensed Massage Therapist, who has also taken a Thai Massage continuing education course.

This is unfortunate for the practitioners of Thai Massage as those who can do Thai Massage legally might not have as much training as a practitioner who has had many years of training in Thailand.  By a strange set of laws the student can practice but the teacher cannot!

It is important to understand that laws regarding the practice of Thai Massage vary across the US and each country. No global body certifies Thai therapists and some countries e.g. France do not even recognize it as therapy. It is also important to understand the difference between certification, accreditation and licensing. In general, almost anybody with the necessary qualifications (like a teacher training) can certify. A certificate has more credibility if the instructor/school has accreditation from a body like NCBTMB (US only) or the World Massage Federation. Licensing, on the other hand, is issued by a local government body based on a set of laws which may or may not give any credence to your certification or accreditation.

The path to becoming a licensed massage therapist varies across the United States.  It generally requires 500-750 hours of study in an accredited massage school (there are several exceptions to this norm). Since these schools are located in the United States, massage education can be quite expensive. Further, the training received in these schools are focused towards western massage modalities like Swedish or myofascial release. Some may offer electives in Asian healing modalities. Often the hours devoted to the study of Asian modalities are sufficient to acquire a brief over view.

On graduating from an accredited massage school in the United States, students then need to give an MBLex/ NCBTMB exam or apply to the local state massage board for a license. On getting the license, the therapist can now practice massage.

After this if the therapist does a Thai massage course with an approved provider then they can practice Thai Massage.

Yoga Instructors: There are few Yoga Instructors who do use Thai Massage. They cannot offer nor can they claim to provide a Thai Massage officially.  Since Thai Massage is a yogic healing art, they do sometimes use the techniques of Thai Massage to improve the flexibility and Range-of-Motion of their clients.

Practicing Thai Massage in India:

The practice of healing is largely unregulated. A practitioner of Thai Massage should have a legal work status in India. Further, he or she must have a Shops and Establishment Act License from their local council/corporation. Of course, the practitioner must comply legally by paying all applicable taxes.

Practicing Thai Massage Internationally

Each country in the world has it own set of rules regarding massage and healing.  There is no global body that regulates the practice of Thai Massage. Anyone planning to practice Massage must have a legal work status and comply with local laws. It is next to impossible to list the various rules regarding the practice of Thai Massage in this article. One can, however, say that most first world countries have more regulation on practicing massage and healing. Fortunately, because of the Internet, it should be easy to find country specific information.


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