DOH seeks professionalization of massage therapy industry
by RG Alama
Davao City (9 June) -- The Department of Health is seeking to uphold the massage therapy profession by promoting and standardizing the licensure exam for massage therapists.
According to Marialyn Avanceņa, Nurse 3 of the Human Resources Development Unit, DOH Region XI, they are encouraging massage therapists to acquire their license from the DOH.
Most massage therapists have gotten their TESDA (Technical Skills Development Authority) National Certificate Level (NC-2). But Avanceņa said that having an NC-2 is not tantamount to having a license from the DOH.
"Maybe after getting your license from the DOH, you can proceed to specialize like get a NC-2," Avanceņa said.
Massage licensure exams are more comprehensive than NC-2. And topics touch on anatomy, physiology, micro-pathology, foundations, applications and legal background of massage therapy.
The licensure exams are held twice a year in key cities like Manila, Cebu and Davao.
The importance of having a license lies in the old law; Presidential Decree 856 mandates that every massage clinics, spas and saunas must have at least one licensed massage therapist manning the establishment.
Tess Tatara, executive director of International Nykr Academy, a Cebu-based massage-therapy review and training center said that as of the moment there are a few licensed therapists hence local government units and the DOH cannot be pressured to implement the law.
She noted that many license-takers have difficulty grappling with the subject as most of them are only High School graduates. The DOH has commissioned a group from UP-Manila to study, observe and make recommendations to standardize the licensure exam.
Tatara agrees with Avanceņa that it is better to get the DOH license first before specializing in TESDA courses as proven in overseas employment where employers prefer looking at the massage license.
"NC-2 is not enough proof that you had undergone sufficient training. The proof that they are looking is your massage license," Tatara said.
Aside from overseas employment, Tatara said that having a license means they are professional and can demand minimum wage. She noted that most therapists are paid only by commission basis. Most days if there are no customers for the day, they receive no pay.
Tatara said that there is a rapid growth in the industry as spas and other establishments are sprouting up employing many therapists.
Meanwhile Avanceņa said that the thrust of the DOH now is to ladderize the said licensure program. Once they can pass the exams they can step up to take a Physical Therapy Course which in turn is a pre-med course where interested therapists can proceed to take up medicine. (PIA XI) [top]