THE chief executive of a professional massage company is calling for government regulation of the industry, saying “enough is enough”.
Grant Jones runs Massage Club, which has franchises in Booragoon, Success and Joondalup, and is concerned there are no legislated requirements for massage therapist qualifications.
“The terminology ‘fully qualified’ is of great importance,” he said.
“The industry is unregulated in Australia, which means disturbingly that anyone can put out a sign saying they are providing massage, with no legislated requirement for any form of qualification.”
Mr Jones said his staff had studied and invested money in gaining their qualifications but had to “fight for their reputation” against other “questionable operators”.
“The Government needs to regulate the industry and assure customers of their right to a professional therapeutic massage by a qualified therapist,” he said.
“If you see a shop front that is a floor-to-ceiling vinyl sticker of a person being massaged in some floral arrangement with a flashing neon sign that says ‘now open’, and it’s after 9pm, it’s not quality body massage that is going on.
“Perception of our industry is the greatest barrier we have at the moment, as people have a distrust of our industry due to the actions of dodgy operators.”
A Department of Health spokeswoman said massage and other non-invasive procedures fell outside the scope of the Health Act.
“Despite this, the Department of Health WA and local government follow up on any complaints received about massage therapists, and advise them about relevant guidelines,” she said.
The massage therapy guidelines are published on the department’s website and relate to hygiene practices.
The spokeswoman said qualifications were also unregulated for the beauty therapy, tattooing and piercing industries.
Responding to whether the department had considered reviewing the need for regulation, she said the existing regulations and code of practice were under review as part of a broader assessment of subsidiary legislation under the new Public Health Act.
“While regulation of the industry may be desirable, the Department of Health WA deems massage therapy to be low risk in terms of infection control,” she said.
“The department receives very few complaints about massage therapists.”