Florida State Massage Therapy Association undoing years of reputation building with bizarre lobbying move

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Who doesn’t like a good massage? Who agrees that massage has health benefits that perhaps exceed or at least mitigate the need for more costly, damaging therapies?

That’s what I thought. Massage therapy is a credible and important field with benefits too many to describe here.

But, who wants a massage therapist, complete with his or her 6 months of schooling, to prescribe drugs?

Apparently, the organization representing massage therapists in this state, the Florida State Massage Therapy Association, thinks this is the right path to venture down, and are willing to sacrifice the credibility and positive reputation they have gained over the past many years to get there.

For the past many years, lobbyists Allison Carvajal and Janet Mabry used their own solid reputations and legislative know-how to substantially improve the standing and status of the FSMTA and its members before lawmakers.

No longer.

Perhaps understanding that these two mavens would see things otherwise in terms of scope of practice, the association booted them in favor of two guys who will tell them what they want to hear.

Not surprising for an association that has already started cleaning house of those with reason and tenure — including expert health care attorney Paul Lambert, recently let go as the association’s general counsel.

In their places now are two attorneys better known for botching important lawsuits against the state’s largely flawed PIP law — Luke Lariot (who, on the side, represents Tampa strip clubs) and Adam Levine.

Maybe new FSMTA leadership is already high off of the fumes of hope surrounding medical marijuana in Florida — an area that people in many industries are looking to for new or lucrative opportunities. After all, at the annual massage therapists’ convention in Orlando last month, medical marijuana related continuing education credits were offered, despite the fact that no legal overlap exists between these practitioners and any type of prescribing.

Even more illuminating, however, it what the association seems to have in mind for itself moving forward.

No longer tethered by lobbyists who know the pulse of the capital and can advise against shoot-in-foot type moves, the FSMTA wants to blow open its practice act to permit its members to apply pharmaceutical preparations, too.

Why is it that the FSMTA wants therapists to be able to apply pharmaceutical creams with six months  of education? Why are they offering CE’s in medical marijuana?

After finally getting credible, it seems Florida’s massage therapists may be stepping in to the back rooms again.

And that’s too bad for the thousands of well-reputed massage therapists in Florida whose organization is doing them no favors with these moves.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.