House approves massage therapy reform


COLUMBUS – Legislation revising Ohio’s massage therapy law was approved yesterday by the Ohio House of Representatives, announced State Reps. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, and Phil Plummer, R-Dayton.

The measure, House Bill 81, closes a loophole in Ohio law that permits non-licensed individuals to perform massage, as long as they do not specifically call it “massage therapy” or advertise their practices as “medical” or “therapeutic massage.”

Additionally, the bill aims to assist in the prevention of human trafficking and prostitution throughout Ohio. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, illicit massage and spa businesses are the number one venue for sex trafficking in America.

“Ohio has one of the highest human trafficking rates in the country, and the current licensing loophole is furthering the ability of these illegal establishments to take advantage of vulnerable individuals in our communities,” said Plummer.

Under H.B. 81, the State Medical Board is authorized to inspect massage therapy establishments for illegal activity and refer such individuals to local law enforcement.

“Many of the establishments opened by non-licensed individuals end up being used for human trafficking and prostitution purposes,” said Manchester. “Rooting out the bad actors will preserve the integrity of the massage therapy profession and protect potential victims of human trafficking.”

The bill now advances to the Senate for consideration.