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Horses For Courses In Massage

by | 12th, August 2008

SAYS Mercedes Clemens: “This isn’t just a career for me, it’s my passion,” Clemens said. “If I was independently wealthy and I didn’t need an income, I would do this for nothing. That’s how much I love it.”

Mercedes Clemens is certified to massage humans, but she claims the state of Maryland is keeping her from her first love: Massaging horses.

She shut down her equine massage practice in a Washington suburb after state officials told her state law only allows veterinarians to perform such services.

Now she’s suing two state agencies, saying regulators are unfairly barring registered massage therapists who want to practice on animals.

Animal massage regulations vary from state to state, with some allowing only veterinarians to practice. Clemens’ case is being closely watched by those in the animal massage industry, who say business has grown steadily along with interest in other alternative treatments and pampering for pets.

Equinology, Inc., a Gualala, Calif.-based massage school, says when it began operating about 15 years ago, a couple hundred people took its horse massage therapy courses. Now, almost 900 sign up each year. Company vice president Paul Hougard said there were just a few schools when his company started but estimates there are now about 50 across the country.

The National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage plans to start an online exam next month to create credential standards. Among other things, it will test massage techniques, anatomy, ethics, and animal behavior.

Neigh…

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Posted: 12th, August 2008 | In: Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink