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Massage Parlors Rub Some Laws the Wrong Way

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FAYETTEVILLE — Massage parlors have been around for decades. Now the growing profession is fighting for its reputation. Old laws on the books are making the battle for credibility a tough one.

There are no state laws regulating the practice of massage and bodywork therapy. The licensing is left up to each individual city in North Carolina. In Fayetteville, the laws are so old, almost every massage therapist is breaking them.

Cheryle Savage Kane is nationally certified in therapeutic and body massage. However, Kane's license does not mean anything under Fayetteville city Law.

Currently, it is illegal to perform a massage on a member of the opposite sex unless prescribed by a doctor or chiropractor. If prescribed, the date and hour of each appointment must be inspected by police, and the therapy can not exceed ten appointments.

"I would say that this may be one of those laws that is just taking up space," Fayetteville Police Sgt. Tim Hayworth said.

The law was passed in 1972, when massage parlors were havens for prostitutes. But these days, reputable sports clubs and salons are where most massages take place.

Sherry Grant tries to get a massage at least once a month.

"Extremely relaxing, you can go from feeling very intense and tight to feeling almost ready to go to sleep," Grant said.

A group of massage therapists would like to see antiquated city laws replaced by statewide regulations. Therapists are supporting a bill in the state senate that would regulate the practice of massage and bodywork therapy.

A new law would mean a lot to Kane because despite her national license and seven years of experience, technically she is breaking the law in Fayetteville.

Kane admitted that she had performed massages on people of the opposite sex and on people without a prescription.

Sgt. Hayworth says in recent times, no one has been arrested under the city law. No action has been taken on the senate bill that therapists say will legitimize their business.

Members of The Fayetteville Area Therapeutic Massage Association say if the bill does not pass, they will try to get the antiquated laws changed in Fayetteville.


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