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As I’m getting closer to the end of my training at Cortiva (formerly MTI), I have been pouring over all of the items needed to get my massage license once I’m eligible (end of September.)  The registrar of the school came to our Business class last week and let us know that although the paperwork says it can take up to 45 days to get a license, the people at the State Licensing office are turning around the paperwork the same day it is received.

It’s been big news in Massachusetts that State Licensing has gone through.  Before this new system, which has been in place just a few months, a massage therapist would have to get a license for each town or city they wanted to work in.  Say, if you wanted to work in Arlington there are certain rules and if you want to work in Provincetown there are other rules.  Some of the rules were really funny and ridiculous.  One of the towns required a STD test, another required a window in the treatment room, while another required  clients to wear underwear.

Interestingly, breast massage is completely illegal in Massachusetts.  Breasts must be covered at all times.  I think legislators may be afraid of breasts.  That’s a post for another time though.  We’ve all got them, in one way or another…

What struck me, going through all of the requirements of getting the massage therapy license, was the phrase: “must not be guilty of Moral Turpitude,” because it sounded so serious.  Moral turpitude, it sounds like a fungal infection and I had no idea what it meant so I looked it up in Wikipedia and found out the scoop.  Moral turpitude is a way to sort out the baddies from the goodies, and only good citizens need apply to be massage therapists! Wow! It was fascinating to read the list and see where the State draws it’s lines of morality, there were listings  of the different possible violations of good conduct and if they are “crimes involving moral turpitude,” or “crimes not involving moral turpitude.”  Wikipedia explains, “moral turpitude is a legal concept in the US that refers to conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals.”

The categories overall are as follows:

Crimes Against Property

Crimes Committed Against Governmental Authority

Crimes Committed Against, Person, Family, Relationship, and Sexual Morality
Attempts, Aiding and Abetting, Accessories and Conspiracy

I think particularly of interest to MTs and future MTs are the “crimes committed against governmental authority,” especially if you are planning on hanging up your own shingle.  Willful proven tax evasion can keep you from being licensed, but if you were just spacy and did your taxes wrong (not on purpose) you are ok to be licensed.  Likewise, if you’ve been convicted of bribery, counterfeiting, fraud, mail fraud, perjury or harboring a fugitive from justice (with guilty knowlege).  A big part of this is having a guilty conscience:  do you know you are doing the wrong thing and are doing it anyway??? Well, my friend, it’s moral turpitude and 2 years of massage school are down the drain!  Crimes not involving moral turpitude which seem crazily reckless to me are drunk or reckless driving, drunkenness, black market violations, desertion from the Armed Forces–they really dug deep when they made this list.

Also, Crimes Commited Against Other People…Sexual Morality  are very important, since LMTs are dealing with people who are totally vulnerable and unclothed.  The violations which constitute moral turpitude in this category include: abandoning a minor child, adultery bigamy, various assault  charges, incest, kidnapping, gross indecency, lewdenss, manslaughter/murder (murderers need not apply), mayhem, prostitution or rape.  A lovely little laundry list of who you wouldn’t want your massage therapist to be!  Although, if you ‘ve been involved with Assault, Bastardy (I find it hard to believe this word is still on the books), creating a nuisance, fornication (!), involuntary manslaughter, rioting (so Red Sox fans are safe) or even mailing an obscene letter you are still ok to get your Massachusetts State MT license.

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