Mike Terry, Deseret News
Julieta Hernandez massages a client at Matrix Spa & Massage in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would create more extreme re-certification requirements for licensed massage therapists in Utah was sent to an interim committee for further study and discussion.

Lawmakers in the House Health and Human Services Committee said they were flooded with calls of concern regarding the proposed HB351, which would have mandated 24 hours of continuing education every two years for massage therapists to maintain licensure in the state.

Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, said he proposed the bill due to a request from the industry. However, many licensed massage therapists attended Wednesday's committee meeting, pleading for the bill not to pass. Ray said he's obliged to continue the discussion later in the year.

"For most people, it is just a part-time income," said Ron Findlay, a licensed massage therapist in northern Utah. He said the majority of therapists use basic modalities, not requiring specialized training or instruction after graduating from educational programs.

"We do offer liability insurance for massage therapists, and it is very inexpensive because we don't hurt people," Findlay said.

The more education a massage therapist receives, the more likely it is they are employing more extreme or more complicated modalities, he said, and in that case, they are covered by the appropriate continuing education requirements.

Wendy Leonard

Twitter: wendyleonards