Legalities

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jboler
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Legalities

Post by jboler » Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:59 am

Hi. I'm interested in this particular forum, as it's a topic that I am having to deal with on a daily basis. As it stands right now, most states consider "animal massage" to be apart of Veterinary Medicine. Simply put, if you are not a veterinarian, or working under the supervision of a veterinarian, animal massage is illegal.

In Kentucky, it's a huge problem, due to our equine industry. We have many people running around the state calling themselves "equine therapists." Not only are they using massage techniques, but they are using modalities that are regulated by Physical and Occupational Therapists. (example, ultrasound, DPAMs, etc.)

Is anyone aware of any other state that has recognized this as a profession? Is there a board that regulates it's practice?

All help would be appreciated.

Texas-gal

Post by Texas-gal » Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:36 am

it's a topic that I am having to deal with on a daily basis.


So, what kind of profession are you in? I figure everyone is wondering. :)

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Post by jboler » Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:40 am

I'm the administrator of the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners.

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Post by Sole_Purpose » Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:57 am

Hi Jeff,

First, I want to say welcome. I am very glad that you are here and asking questions. Am wondering though how you found yourself here?

It is my understanding that not all states are created equal in regard to animal massage...just like professional massage therapy for humans is not nationally regulated (legislative levels can be state, town, county, or a combination of all). So, I wouldn't say that most states consider the practice of animal massage to be the practice of veterinary medicine. Mostly it seems like interpretations of AVMA opinion rather than actual law.

There are no boards that regulate the practice of animal massage. Though there are many "certification" programs available - the creators of these programs feel that if this were to come about, they would confidently be able to meet the criteria set forth. Most programs available are not designed for professional human massage therapsits though. There are many national and international professional organizatons that support and provide liability coverage for animal massage (as long as one can provide proof of "certification").

My question for you is this: is the practice of human massage considered to be the practice of internal medicine? Would a primary care physician stake claim to massage therapy? Do you think a PCP would want to provide massage therapy to their patients themselves? I'm betting your answer is no. So why in the world would animal massage be considered the practice of vet med?

There are so many physical and mental health benefits to massage, why on earth would a veterinarian want to deny this kind of care to animals?

Make no mistake, and I ask that you completely understand, massage therapists DO NOT diagnose or medically diagnose. I don't want to be a veterinarian, or to pretend that I am one. Massage therapy is also NOT physical therapy or occupational therapy. I have been very fortunate to have had the support of some wonderful veterinarians, who actually sought out my services. I want to peacefully coexist. When an animal has a health concern, I refer to their vet and make no assumptions to treat with massage.

The problem that you are addressing in KY need not be about keeping massage therapists from working on animals, it should be about keeping those who do practice in their "scope of practice" which is CLEARLY NOT VET MED! :)

From legislative material I have read, the AVMA is trying to keep veterinarians from referring out for complementary care. Again, I have to compare alternative treatments to the practice of a primary care physician. It seems to me that the AVMA is more worried about competition for funds than it is for the welfare of animals. And, that my friend is my ONLY concern. There is no competition here, just some crazy thoughts about who owns the rights to "animal massage/therapies" gone rampant. No one "owns" anything...human or animal.

I invite you to respond to my questions, and please ask more as well. I look forward to hearing more of your perspective.

~Robin~

P.S. I donate much of time to a local equine rescue. Do you think these rescues are better off without the safe, skilled, caring touch of massage...as well as, the calming and naturally healing benefits?

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Post by jboler » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:08 am

Well, for the record, let me state that the opinions I give may not equal those of the boards members, for whom I work.

To answer your question, I recently started researching the topic, as there are several schools in Kentucky currently offering curriculum on Equine Therapy. Due to the fact that there is no licensing board for this new profession, it falls under the rules and regulations of the Veterinarians.

There are two types of "therapists" running around the state. There is the massage therapist who are performing nothing more than massage. There is also the therapists who are using ultrasound, magnetic therapy, electric therapy, etc. These modalities are not utilized by LMTs, but are used by Physical and Occupational therapists.

One group of licensees is not issuing diagnosis, the others may very well be doing so.

I understand your points on the "massage" issue. However, there are a couple of other considerations. Although an LMT is not issuing diagnosis, performing surgical procedures, etc., there is a difference between the anatomies of human, and that of animals, which is where the Veterinarians typically have a problem.

And....under the laws of massage therapy in Kentucky, it states "Practice of massage therapy means the application, by a massage therapist licensed by the board, of a system of structured touch, pressure, movement, and holding to the soft tissues of the HUMAN body with the intent to enhance or restore the health and well-being of the client."

To my knowledge, none of the professional organizations (AMTA, for example) have recognized any program of animal massage. So, what would give them the right or the education to perform on anything not considered to be "human?"

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Post by Sole_Purpose » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:05 pm

Thanks, Jeff, for your response.
jboler wrote:...Due to the fact that there is no licensing board for this new profession, it falls under the rules and regulations of the Veterinarians.
The profession is not so new. Jack Meagher, human massage therapist and equine sports massage therapist, started approx 50 years ago and among his many credits has worked with the US Olympic Equestrian Team. And, as only one more example of many, the Greeks have been applying massage techniques to their horses prior to that. I'm sure if you do more research you will see how ancient this modality is.

Just because the profession is not regulated does not mean that it automatically falls under the rules and regulations of veterinarians. That's actually very arrogant.

As a side note, there are those who are fighting against licensure for human massage and other complementary natural care modalities. This issue of licensure and accountability is not specific to animals.
There are two types of "therapists" running around the state. There is the massage therapist who are performing nothing more than massage. There is also the therapists who are using ultrasound, magnetic therapy, electric therapy, etc. These modalities are not utilized by LMTs, but are used by Physical and Occupational therapists.

One group of licensees is not issuing diagnosis, the others may very well be doing so.
These other therapies you have mentioned are utilized by LMTs in some states. They are being taught in schools - with very rigorous, technical 900+ hour programs, where the state regulations allow it. Some of these students go on to work for physicians and and sports med facilities immediately after graduating.

Do you know of any specific instances where an animal has been harmed due to such activities and modality applications - in other words from providing massage, etc?
I understand your points on the "massage" issue. However, there are a couple of other considerations. Although an LMT is not issuing diagnosis, performing surgical procedures, etc., there is a difference between the anatomies of human, and that of animals, which is where the Veterinarians typically have a problem.

And....under the laws of massage therapy in Kentucky, it states "Practice of massage therapy means the application, by a massage therapist licensed by the board, of a system of structured touch, pressure, movement, and holding to the soft tissues of the HUMAN body with the intent to enhance or restore the health and well-being of the client."
Yes, you're right, some states specifically spell it out as such. But the law is not written as "not animal" tissue. Humans and animals have a very similar anatomy and physiology, why else would a vet treat with similar meds and medical/non-medical treatments/therapies.

I completely agree that it is very important to be familiar with animal antomy & physiology, biomechanics/kinesiology, pathology, and most importantly behavior. I don't believe that an individual has to be a licensed veterinarian, or vet tech, to have and use this knowledge, or be capable of contributing to animal health. Again, I believe the whole issue boils down to AVMA perceived competition of funds rather than animal safety and welfare.
To my knowledge, none of the professional organizations (AMTA, for example) have recognized any program of animal massage. So, what would give them the right or the education to perform on anything not considered to be "human?"
Yes, AMTA does provide coverage for animal massage (so does ABMP). Mmmm...I don't believe the issue is about education...maybe somebody else will bite on that one.

Thanks again, Jeff, for your response. I truly appreciate your openness, time and efforts here.

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Post by jboler » Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:02 pm

The profession is not so new. Jack Meagher, human massage therapist and equine sports massage therapist, started approx 50 years ago and among his many credits has worked with the US Olympic Equestrian Team. And, as only one more example of many, the Greeks have been applying massage techniques to their horses prior to that. I'm sure if you do more research you will see how ancient this modality is.
My apology. My statement was in reference to the amount of time a licensing board has been around in Kentucky. As a martial arts instructor, I have been introduced to Shiatsu, QiGong, and other modalities. I'm well aware that the practice of massage, and corresponding modalities have been around much longer than "medicine." In fact, most of the modalities made up the medical profession in more ancient times.

As for animal massage, it has been around for thousands of years also, but it was never considered a "profession", per se. Now with the equine atheletic trainers, etc., it is quickly gaining that status.
Just because the profession is not regulated does not mean that it automatically falls under the rules and regulations of veterinarians. That's actually very arrogant.
I agree. It is rather arrogant. Please keep in mind that I am not a veterinarian myself. My formal training is governmental services. The Veterianarians in this state, and in other, are quite territorial about anything that contains the word "animal". Kentucky law defines Veterinary Medicine as:

"To diagnose, treat, correct, change, relieve, or prevent: animal disease, deformity, defect, injury, or other physical or mental conditions, including the prescription or administration of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or technique, and the use of any manual or mechanical procedure for testing for pregnancy, or for correction sterility or infertility, or to render advice or recommendation with regard to any or the above."

As you can see, this definition pretty much covers all forms of medicine, including therapeutic remedies. Kentucky has always responded to any questions concering "animal massage" as it being the practice of Veterinary medicine.
As a side note, there are those who are fighting against licensure for human massage and other complementary natural care modalities. This issue of licensure and accountability is not specific to animals.
Very true, but I think most people serious about their profression have little to no problem with requiring licensure. Otherwise, prostitutes would be dominating the massage therapy world, and that helps no one.
These other therapies you have mentioned are utilized by LMTs in some states. They are being taught in schools - with very rigorous, technical 900+ hour programs, where the state regulations allow it. Some of these students go on to work for physicians and and sports med facilities immediately after graduating.
This may also be true. I know in Kentucky, the massage therapy laws prohibit the use of Deep Physical Agent Modalities. These are typically performed by licensed Physical Therapist, or Occupational Therapists, if they have the proper specialty certification.
Do you know of any specific instances where an animal has been harmed due to such activities and modality applications - in other words from providing massage, etc?
No. Any complaints concerning massage in the animal world have typically come from either Veterinarians who are upset by the practice, or other massage therapists who have been shut down.
]
Yes, you're right, some states specifically spell it out as such. But the law is not written as "not animal" tissue. Humans and animals have a very similar anatomy and physiology, why else would a vet treat with similar meds and medical/non-medical treatments/therapies.

I completely agree that it is very important to be familiar with animal antomy & physiology, biomechanics/kinesiology, pathology, and most importantly behavior. I don't believe that an individual has to be a licensed veterinarian, or vet tech, to have and use this knowledge, or be capable of contributing to animal health. Again, I believe the whole issue boils down to AVMA perceived competition of funds rather than animal safety and welfare.
But would you agree that only a Veterinarian has the proper training in animal anatomy and physiology to teach the proper courses to LMTs? To my knowledge, that doesn't happen very often.
Yes, AMTA does provide coverage for animal massage (so does ABMP). Mmmm...I don't believe the issue is about education...maybe somebody else will bite on that one.
I believe AMTA may have approved of a couple of animal courses. The massage therapy board here in Kentucky has specifically said that it will not recognize them, due to the fact that it does not involve human massage, and that animal massage it outside the scope of practice of an LMT. (In Kentucky, anyway)
Thanks again, Jeff, for your response. I truly appreciate your openness, time and efforts here.
Appreciated. I don't want to give people that idea that I am against an LMT performing animal massage. I'm not. I just think that it's a much broader issue than it is currently being looked at. It's only proper that input be accepted by not only vets, but LMTs, as well as PTs and OTs.

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Post by Sole_Purpose » Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:46 pm

jboler wrote:
Yes, you're right, some states specifically spell it out as such. But the law is not written as "not animal" tissue. Humans and animals have a very similar anatomy and physiology, why else would a vet treat with similar meds and medical/non-medical treatments/therapies.

I completely agree that it is very important to be familiar with animal antomy & physiology, biomechanics/kinesiology, pathology, and most importantly behavior. I don't believe that an individual has to be a licensed veterinarian, or vet tech, to have and use this knowledge, or be capable of contributing to animal health. Again, I believe the whole issue boils down to AVMA perceived competition of funds rather than animal safety and welfare.
But would you agree that only a Veterinarian has the proper training in animal anatomy and physiology to teach the proper courses to LMTs? To my knowledge, that doesn't happen very often.
Yes, I agree, that would be ideal...or, even taught by a certified vet tech (at least in my humble opinion anyway). Where do I sign up?! :D But I don't see veterinarians wanting to teach animal a&p for LMTs, never mind having the time. Just as MDs don't have the want or need to teach a&p at human massage schools. So where does that leave us? Somebody has to teach it. In my human massage school, our a&p was taught by an athletic trainer but that is not always the case.

Although having a DVM teaching animal a&p would be great, they typically don't have any knowledge in regard to massage theory or practice. It is important to integrate the two while teaching. Therefore DVMs need LMTs to teach them about massage.

I know of a school that does have a DVM teaching the a&p portion, who has also designed part of the animal massage program. Ironically, in a state that (according to a published list of animal massage laws by state and other resources) considers animal massage to be the practice of vet med.

I would love to see animal massage programs taught at human massage schools giving people a choice. The kind of people who share a special bond with, and a natural love for, animals. And, who would want to see no animal suffer.
I believe AMTA may have approved of a couple of animal courses. The massage therapy board here in Kentucky has specifically said that it will not recognize them, due to the fact that it does not involve human massage, and that animal massage it outside the scope of practice of an LMT. (In Kentucky, anyway)
FSMTA (Florida State Massage Therapy Association) promotes animal massage (certification program advertisements) in their member magazines but do not offer coverage because they, too, are abiding by the "human-tissues/animals-not-is-scope-of-practice-of-massage-therapists" written word, found in the FL statutes describing massage therapy. That seems very contradictory to me...sends a mixed message. Like they don't know where they stand on the issue. I used to be a member, when I lived in FL, and asked them about it.
Appreciated. I don't want to give people that idea that I am against an LMT performing animal massage. I'm not. I just think that it's a much broader issue than it is currently being looked at. It's only proper that input be accepted by not only vets, but LMTs, as well as PTs and OTs.
Sounds good to me, Jeff! Thanks. :D

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Post by Sole_Purpose » Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:44 pm

jboler wrote:Is anyone aware of any other state that has recognized this as a profession? Is there a board that regulates it's practice?
Oops, I forgot to mention that Washington is the only state that regulates the practice of animal massage (as far as I know). Requirements are to be a licensed human massage therapist, plus an extra 100 or so hours in animal studies. The profession is regulated by the Washington massage board.
Last edited by Sole_Purpose on Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Utah Animal Massage Law

Post by Sole_Purpose » Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:30 pm

I found Animal Massage regulations for Utah, as well.

Standards for Animal Massage Training: see R156-47b-601 (page 3 of 4)

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Re: Legalities

Post by Sole_Purpose » Wed May 03, 2006 12:50 pm

jboler wrote:Is anyone aware of any other state that has recognized this as a profession? Is there a board that regulates it's practice?

All help would be appreciated.
Hi Jeff: here is some info regarding 2006 regulation updates happening in the state of Florida. Quote borrowed from this thread: states where animal massage is illegal.
massagerelated wrote:By regulating a practice as animal husbandry, it can be performed by persons who are not veterinarians. Animal husbandry relates primarily to farming practices. Any practice defined as animal husbandry does not require a veterinarian to perform it. The horse owners in Florida have organized in support of legislation defining alternative and holistic practices for animals as animal husbandry. At present the veterinary board has defined these therapies as veterinary medicine.

Here are some recent news articles, current to March and April 2006:

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/03/20/Tampa ... he_l.shtml

http://www.thehorse.com/viewarticle.aspx?ID=6836

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Kentucky equine massage

Post by Bidwell » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:41 pm

I'm a licensed LMT in Florida and am interested in studying equine massage at Lexington Healing Arts in Kentucky; however I was just informed that the school is no longer offering course work in equine massage due to problems they are having with the Vet Board.

Needless to say I am livid. Gov't officials (and apparently the Vet Board) have absolutely no concept about the relevance of massage therapy nor do they realize the amount of training that is required to pass the National Board Exam. We do not merely push soft tissue around, we must know the [b]entire[/b] anatomy (organs, bones, muscles - origins, insertions, actions), physiology (down to the CELLULAR LEVEL). We must know contraindications, recognize illnesses and diseases plus understand Chinese medicine, meridians and require knowledge of all of the different modalities that massage therapists offer.

No, we do not diagnose, but unlike "human" doctors who throw pills at you to dull the pain, or worse, they "cut out" the pain, massage therapists treat the source. We've all seen healing through massage therapy that numerous doctors could not explain or fix with a pill. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one example. CTS can be treated with massage and stretching, instead doctors choose to cut the tendons in the wrist so the muscles have more room to swell. WHY?? This treatment is expensive and unnecessary yet these highly trained professionals don't know any better.

The Vet Board's ignorance is putting people out of work and preventing qualified individuals from receiving the appropriate training necessary to continue equine massage - ESPECIALLY IN KENTUCKY, "Horse Capital of the WORLD."

Please excuse my rage, but I was fully prepared to go to Lexington to learn equine anatomy, physiology and be trained in therapeutic massage to rehabilitate horses. But my plans have been thwarted by a group of bureaucrats whose ignorance is absolutely mind boggling.

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Re: Kentucky equine massage

Post by massagerelated » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:10 am

Needless to say I am livid.
Calm down. You're making a fool of yourself:
CTS can be treated with massage and stretching, instead doctors choose to cut the tendons in the wrist so the muscles have more room to swell.
They cut the transverse carpal ligament to relieve the pressure on the nerve caused by the swelling tendons.
but I was fully prepared
Well, maybe not quite. Perhaps an A/P and Pathology review is in order.
But my plans have been thwarted by a group of bureaucrats
Perhaps you might redirect your energies to help the horse owners in Florida who have organized in support of legislation defining alternative and holistic practices for animals as animal husbandry.

Here are some recent news articles, current to March and April 2006:

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/03/20/Tampa ... he_l.shtml

http://www.thehorse.com/viewarticle.aspx?ID=6836

By regulating a practice as animal husbandry, it can be performed by persons who are not veterinarians. Any practice defined as animal husbandry does not require a veterinarian to perform it.



Bidwell wrote:I'm a licensed LMT in Florida and am interested in studying equine massage at Lexington Healing Arts in Kentucky; however I was just informed that the school is no longer offering course work in equine massage due to problems they are having with the Vet Board.

Needless to say I am livid. Gov't officials (and apparently the Vet Board) have absolutely no concept about the relevance of massage therapy nor do they realize the amount of training that is required to pass the National Board Exam. We do not merely push soft tissue around, we must know the entire anatomy (organs, bones, muscles - origins, insertions, actions), physiology (down to the CELLULAR LEVEL). We must know contraindications, recognize illnesses and diseases plus understand Chinese medicine, meridians and require knowledge of all of the different modalities that massage therapists offer.

No, we do not diagnose, but unlike "human" doctors who throw pills at you to dull the pain, or worse, they "cut out" the pain, massage therapists treat the source. We've all seen healing through massage therapy that numerous doctors could not explain or fix with a pill. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one example. CTS can be treated with massage and stretching, instead doctors choose to cut the tendons in the wrist so the muscles have more room to swell. WHY?? This treatment is expensive and unnecessary yet these highly trained professionals don't know any better.

The Vet Board's ignorance is putting people out of work and preventing qualified individuals from receiving the appropriate training necessary to continue equine massage - ESPECIALLY IN KENTUCKY, "Horse Capital of the WORLD."

Please excuse my rage, but I was fully prepared to go to Lexington to learn equine anatomy, physiology and be trained in therapeutic massage to rehabilitate horses. But my plans have been thwarted by a group of bureaucrats whose ignorance is absolutely mind boggling.

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Re: Kentucky equine massage

Post by Sole_Purpose » Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:13 am

Bidwell wrote:Please excuse my rage, but I was fully prepared to go to Lexington to learn equine anatomy, physiology and be trained in therapeutic massage to rehabilitate horses. But my plans have been thwarted by a group of bureaucrats whose ignorance is absolutely mind boggling.
Sorry for your frustration...I feel ya. So, what's your plan?

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Post by Bidwell » Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:37 pm

Hi Kindred! I'm looking into other equine schools. I had been looking forward to the program at the Kentucky Horse Park for several months, so the phone call I received yesterday came as a disappointment. I don't think massage therapists should sit back and get rolled over by people who specialize in western medicine, especially by those who dictate who or what we can (or cannot) treat. Look at what they do to doctors of Chinese Medicine. [i]No! Don't take treatments that are natural and only cost a few bucks for herbal remedies that have been used for 6,000 years, take our expensive synthetic drugs that will destroy your liver. Don't worry about the side effects either, we have more synthetic pills for those too.[/i]

This same type of thing is occuring in Pennsylvania, where the physical therapist assoc. is telling the PA legislature that massage therapy is not a viable source for treatment and should not require any form of state licensure. (What are they so afraid of? A little competition?)

State regs for massage therapy gives our field legitimacy and guidelines for acceptable business practices, it would also restrict prostitution "salons" fronting as "Massage therapy" businesses.

I live and work in Manhattan, so my "equine massage" future is a bit up in the air right now. Are there any equine programs you would recommend?

Thanks!

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Post by AnastasiaB » Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:44 pm

jboler -


Just to put a different question into the "mix" regarding massage for animals - in particular horses -

How does the Vet Board in Ky regard all the grooms, trainers, and barnworkers who work diligently taking care of the hundreds and hundreds of thoroughbred and standardbred race horses that populate the backstretches of the racetracks in your state. Having set on my backside under way more horses than I care to think about for a minimum of 13 years, performing what amounted to massage therapy on their bowed tendons, sprained/strained ankles, hocks, stifles, etc. WITHOUT the benefit of formal vet approved training in anatomy and physiology, I can safely state for the record that NONE of the darlings in my care were ever injured because I didn't "book learn" the rubbing treatments that took down the swelling in bowed tendons, nor did the healing of broken or removed splint bones take longer than normal because of my considerable care in rubbing away the swelling and being able to rebandage and properly dress surgical wounds, etc. without a vet standing over top of me instructing me in the proper manner in which to do things.

None of the wonderful grooms, barnworkers and trainers I have ever had the privilege to meet, work around, or learn from had formal schooling in the proper care and treatment of horseflesh other than that of "apprenticing in the school of hard knocks". Most of them "came up the hard way", cleaning stalls, hotwalking, jogging horses, having the trainer show the way things were to be done "or else". None of the horses under their care died, became lame, or had any other mishap occur to them because the leg or body work that was being done for their health and well-being and it all was basic massage work adapted to the equine elite [and the sore-toed taddies we held together by a wish, a prayer, and good leg work].

To assert that massage therapists would be inadequate to the task because they may or may not be totally familiar with the A&P of an equine athelete to me is utterly laughable. So many people in the racing industry have NO formal A&P training and they have yet to drastically effect the health and well-being of an equine athelete by being so undereducated in that subject. I highly doubt that LMTs would do much worse. AND, from my perspective of having been in the racing industry before I became an LMT, the equine anatomy IS similar to that of a human, you just have to realize a few thinking adjustments are necessary as to where the equine "knee" is at the hock and how the articulation of the joints vary slightly from that of a human being. It is fairly easy to translate techniques from one type of living creature to another when one stops to consider the movements of the being one is being asked to work with.

For what it's worth............
Anastasia B

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Post by Sole_Purpose » Fri Jun 30, 2006 5:20 pm

Bidwell wrote:Are there any equine programs you would recommend?
Hi Bidwell :D ...I can only suggest programs that I have some direct or indirect experience with. Also, here's a link to another thread with some professional equine massage program links & info.

A few that I would recommend:
Ocala, Florida (Don Duran has been around and teaching for a long time)
Camden, South Carolina (this program is very strong in equine biomechanics, anatomy & physiology)
Concord, Massachusetts (applicants must be human massage trained...program facilitator trained by Jack Meagher - considered to be the father of professional equine massage as most of us know it)

Please keep us updated. Glad you found this forum, and a belated Board Welcome to you!

AnastasiaB: Well said!

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Post by jboler » Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:27 pm

AnastasiaB wrote:jboler -


Just to put a different question into the "mix" regarding massage for animals - in particular horses -

How does the Vet Board in Ky regard all the grooms, trainers, and barnworkers who work diligently taking care of the hundreds and hundreds of thoroughbred and standardbred race horses that populate the backstretches of the racetracks in your state. Having set on my backside under way more horses than I care to think about for a minimum of 13 years, performing what amounted to massage therapy on their bowed tendons, sprained/strained ankles, hocks, stifles, etc. WITHOUT the benefit of formal vet approved training in anatomy and physiology, I can safely state for the record that NONE of the darlings in my care were ever injured because I didn't "book learn" the rubbing treatments that took down the swelling in bowed tendons, nor did the healing of broken or removed splint bones take longer than normal because of my considerable care in rubbing away the swelling and being able to rebandage and properly dress surgical wounds, etc. without a vet standing over top of me instructing me in the proper manner in which to do things.
First off, I apologize that it's taken this long to file a response. Ironically, I am now also the Board Administrator for the Kentucky Board of Massage Therapy, in addition to the Veterinary Board.

To answer your question, and I believe I stated this before, Veterinarians in this state are very territorial. I have seen complaints filed against massage therapists, equine therapists, and farriers.

Fact of the matter is that in Kentucky, you either have to be a Veterinarian or under the employment of a veterinarian, acting under indirect supervision, to perform these modalities. It should be noted that "alternative" (which is a term I do not like) therapies are being looked at by the KVMA Legislative Committee. Maybe some changes will be made to the practice act to allow not only massage, but equine dentistry, chiropractic work, ect.
None of the wonderful grooms, barnworkers and trainers I have ever had the privilege to meet, work around, or learn from had formal schooling in the proper care and treatment of horseflesh other than that of "apprenticing in the school of hard knocks". Most of them "came up the hard way", cleaning stalls, hotwalking, jogging horses, having the trainer show the way things were to be done "or else". None of the horses under their care died, became lame, or had any other mishap occur to them because the leg or body work that was being done for their health and well-being and it all was basic massage work adapted to the equine elite [and the sore-toed taddies we held together by a wish, a prayer, and good leg work].

To assert that massage therapists would be inadequate to the task because they may or may not be totally familiar with the A&P of an equine athelete to me is utterly laughable. So many people in the racing industry have NO formal A&P training and they have yet to drastically effect the health and well-being of an equine athelete by being so undereducated in that subject. I highly doubt that LMTs would do much worse. AND, from my perspective of having been in the racing industry before I became an LMT, the equine anatomy IS similar to that of a human, you just have to realize a few thinking adjustments are necessary as to where the equine "knee" is at the hock and how the articulation of the joints vary slightly from that of a human being. It is fairly easy to translate techniques from one type of living creature to another when one stops to consider the movements of the being one is being asked to work with.

For what it's worth............
My personal opinion is that if a horse owner wants to pay a massage therapist to massage their horse, more power to them. Unfortunately, Kentucky law does not really allow that at this time. I'm hoping overtime, it changes. And I certainly think that if horse anatomy and physiology was taught in these schools, they'd be more open to it, depending on the credentials of the instructor.

Isn't working with the law fun?

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AnastasiaB
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Post by AnastasiaB » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:58 pm

jboler,

Having been on racetracks in Kentucky, and having worked with Kentucky vets w/ my racehorses and those I trained for others, I can assure you I understand the territoriality about which you speak, AND, I can also assure you that I have also seen vets present when actual voodoo ceremonies were being done, when crystals were being laid out to heal horses [high end horses at that], when "real massage therapists" [not lowly grooms and hotwalkers or second trainers] did their work............. perhaps it is the professional organization about which you speak rather than the fantastic and somewhat unique men and women of the veterinary profession I had the privelege to meet and work with "back in the day".

That would be far more believable to me than for you to tell me that all veterinarians in the venerable state of Kentucky are against the massage therapists providing their services for equine athletes.

In fact, several of the premier equine healing events I ever attended while racing horses were held in Louisville at UK under the auspices of the Racing Commission, the Vet School and Churchill Downs ---- AND, stars and bars, the discussions and demonstrations provided at all 4 of the conferences I attended over a period of 3 years used MASSAGE THERAPY TECHNIQUES, in addition to physical therapy techniques, cold laser and ultrasound work, etc. Those conferences were being provided to HORSEMEN/WOMEN who trained and raced equine athletes for show jumping, dressage, as well as thoroughbred and standardbred racing. We participated in hands on work in the barn area of Churchill Downs on horses graciously loaned to the conferences by high end trainers who used such techniques ALL THE TIME.................. and no one was required to learn A&P, become licensed as a PT, LMT, or anything else to be able to use those things that were learned, shown, and discussed in any of those conferences.

Please name the problem for what it really seems to be.......... a territorial dispute over who is more qualified to work with such wonderful fourlegged athletes, the guys who went to extensive college, or those folks who have highly trained and skilled hands and a lot of intuition [in many cases] whose services are often less expensive than those of the vet.

By the by, the most talented person I ever met who worked magic with horses of all kinds, lame, lazy, crazy, and just plain stupid was a 68 year old man from deep in the swamps of Louisiana with a 4th grade education and about 10 million years of knowledge gathered from a lifetime of working the backside of the track............ he could tell by the way a horse stood in crossties if it was sick or healthy, how well it could run, jump, etc and just what it would need in way of care to make it perform its best at all times................ the vets at the tracks I raced at asked him for advice on at least a dozen occasions I know of within one summer of racing at a particular track................ when they followed his advice, the horses got better........ when they poo-pooed it and did things the educated way............ not much progress ever got made.....................

for what it's worth.........
Anastasia B

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RelaxandRejuvenate
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Post by RelaxandRejuvenate » Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:04 am

Kindred Spirits wrote:There are no boards that regulate the practice of animal massage.
Not true. In UT and WA animal massage therapists must be certified to work on humans and meet training/education guidelines to work on animals, and thus are regulated by the massage therapy boards of those states.
Kindred Spirits wrote: There are so many physical and mental health benefits to massage, why on earth would a veterinarian want to deny this kind of care to animals?
Vet's don't want to deny this treatment, they just want it to occur under their supervision to ensure MTs don't diagnose or medically diagnose. MTs are not supposed to do that with humans either, but it does happen.

Kindred Spirits wrote:From legislative material I have read, the AVMA is trying to keep veterinarians from referring out for complementary care.
Which is the real issue. You refer out, you lose $. Keep it under your supervision and the animal MT works for you and you make more $. The same motivation for salon/spa owners getting jurisdicitions to ban in-home or in-hotel room massage.

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Post by Honnas » Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:08 pm

As someone who grew up on the track and trained both thoroughbreds and quarter horses, I definitely have my opinions about this subject! :twisted:

In my opinion, many vets are not very well educated about massage and soft tissue injury. Like many med doctors who prescribe pain killers, muscle relaxers, or surgery, vets tend to prescribe bute, muscle relaxers, rest and other sometimes invasive treatments. If a joint is involved, inject it. Prescribing or suggesting massage never crosses their minds, and frankly, many vets just as doctors, do not believe in the physiological benefits of massage. Massage feels good, and helps with relaxation, but as for healing benefits, they really do not believe.

However, trainers and grooms who are truly interested in the well being of their horses, do alot of "rubbing" (massage) on not only legs but also shoulders, stifles, backs and hindquarters. Chances are if you asked them if they are practicing massage therapy, they would look at you and laugh. But if you watch, you will see that they use the techniques that a trained massage therapist would use. Most of these trainers also practice preventive care using massage and hydrotherapy techniques. And I promise you, most of these people have no formal training, what they know is passed down through a kind of mentorship, person to person, close observation of horses, and a true desire to learn everything horse.

Do I think that equine therapy should fall under vet med? No. Do I think that there should be education and certification? Yep.

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Post by Sole_Purpose » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:36 am

RelaxandRejuvenate wrote:
Kindred Spirits wrote:There are no boards that regulate the practice of animal massage.
Not true. In UT and WA animal massage therapists must be certified to work on humans and meet training/education guidelines to work on animals, and thus are regulated by the massage therapy boards of those states.
Thanks for the correction, this is actually an old post/thread and I've since added that info to other threads without coming back in here and updating.

There is also a new law that past in 2007 regarding Washington state, that you do not need to be a human massage therapist, see below:

Washington state law previously only allowed certified and licensed human massage therapist with a specific allowed number of hours to practice massage on animals (information requirements for licensed human massage therapists below). A recent bill which passed in April 17, 2007 now allows individuals with a required minimum of 300 hours specifically designed for large animals or a required minimum of 300 hours specifically designed for small animal to practice in the state if licensed.

For more specifics on the new law above and compiled USA animal laws by state, click HERE.

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Re: Kentucky equine massage

Post by LilysMom » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:28 pm

Bidwell wrote:I'm a licensed LMT in Florida and am interested in studying equine massage at Lexington Healing Arts in Kentucky; however I was just informed that the school is no longer offering course work in equine massage due to problems they are having with the Vet Board.

Needless to say I am livid. Gov't officials (and apparently the Vet Board) have absolutely no concept about the relevance of massage therapy nor do they realize the amount of training that is required to pass the National Board Exam. We do not merely push soft tissue around, we must know the entire anatomy (organs, bones, muscles - origins, insertions, actions), physiology (down to the CELLULAR LEVEL). We must know contraindications, recognize illnesses and diseases plus understand Chinese medicine, meridians and require knowledge of all of the different modalities that massage therapists offer.

No, we do not diagnose, but unlike "human" doctors who throw pills at you to dull the pain, or worse, they "cut out" the pain, massage therapists treat the source. We've all seen healing through massage therapy that numerous doctors could not explain or fix with a pill. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one example. CTS can be treated with massage and stretching, instead doctors choose to cut the tendons in the wrist so the muscles have more room to swell. WHY?? This treatment is expensive and unnecessary yet these highly trained professionals don't know any better.

The Vet Board's ignorance is putting people out of work and preventing qualified individuals from receiving the appropriate training necessary to continue equine massage - ESPECIALLY IN KENTUCKY, "Horse Capital of the WORLD."

Please excuse my rage, but I was fully prepared to go to Lexington to learn equine anatomy, physiology and be trained in therapeutic massage to rehabilitate horses. But my plans have been thwarted by a group of bureaucrats whose ignorance is absolutely mind boggling.
I think where this discussion is leading is that human massage clients can fill out a body map chart which tells the MT where the "pain" is, where the client is "hurting" so a diagnosis is not being made by the massage therapist per se. An animal cannot tell you where it is painful/hurting so the assessment aka "diagnosis" is made by the treating massage therapist. That's why, I believe, it is important to work with a DVM and partly why animal massage borders on veterinary medicine. Just MHO.

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