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Ohio massage parlors could put you at risk

Posted: 7:39 AM, Oct 25, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-25 17:19:09-04

The City of Brunswick’s new ordinance, cracking down on massage therapy parlors, goes into effect today.

It comes after two massage therapists were arrested last December for crossing the line. The two women were accused of misconduct with customers, but the most they could be charged with was disorderly conduct, because there was no such city law governing that type of behavior.

Now the ordinance makes it clear any sexual or perceived sexual contact is against the law.

RELATED: Brunswick City Council is cracking down on massage parlors

But this case has opened up questions on statewide loopholes for massage therapist and those loopholes could put customers at risk.

Shelby Stapleton is a therapist in training, and has one more hurdle and she’ll be done.

“We’re getting there, I’m in semester 3 now, heading towards the end of the game,” she said.

But before she graduates, she must overcome one of the most confusing parts, legal loopholes.

“It is a little nerve-racking. No one wants to be unethical, no one wants to you know, cross that line,” said Stapleton.

Experts in the field say Ohio has one of the most unique sets of laws.

“There does seem to be some sort of separation between license massage therapy and relaxation massage,” said Jennifer Call-Phibbs, an Instructor at the Schools of Medical Massage in Dayton.

So that means, you could be getting a massage from someone without any formal training or a license but is still operating a business.

The loophole in the law allows for certain places to only need a massage certificate, which means less education.

“There’s no protection for the public ultimately,” Call-Phibbs said.

She and other instructors say that confusion in the law can spell trouble for the consumers.

“You’re literally taking that risk on your own, there’s no accountability for somebody’s actions that doesn’t have a license,” Call-Phibbs said.
Why Stapleton is learning all she can.

“That’s why we have other therapists to talk to and see if we’ve crossed those lines,” she said.

The American Massage Therapy Association here in Ohio are currently lobbying for the state to require everyone to be licensed in order to practice.

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