Rachel Romanelli is director of Missoula’s Montana School of Massage, and a massage therapist of 10 years standing. Upon hearing the name Brandon Raynor, her nostrils flare just a tad, and she quickly taps the end of a ballpoint pen against the wooden reception counter.
Brandon Raynor, who exchanged e-mails with the Indy, runs another school that teaches massage, based out of Tasmania, Australia: Brandon Raynor’s School of Natural Therapies. He first held workshops in Montana last May, and says he’ll conduct more in Bozeman in a week or so. Raynor’s school offers a 40-hour class, for which students receive a certificate, and a 100-hour class, for which they receive a diploma.
While Montana massage schools, which require students to complete 500 hours of education for certification, have not welcomed Raynor’s school with open arms, the general public, he believes, has.
“Montana has been very receptive,” he writes. “I think this very receptiveness is what has got the other schools’ nose out of joint.” In fact, Montana massage schools’ noses might be tweaked because the schools, which have been attempting to establish licensure, consider anything less than a 500-hour requirement inadequate.
“It’s a slap in the face to the profession that’s worked so hard to establish itself,” says Romanelli.
Just to take the national exam, she says, nationally certified massage therapist hopefuls must have 500 hours of education under their belts, including instruction in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and ethics.
Raynor doesn’t disagree that these components are important. For anatomy and physiology, he recommends a coloring book that artists and health practitioners use. He also strictly enforces professional ethics, he writes.
“The most important part of [ethics],” he writes, “can be summed up as don’t be sleazy and don’t rip people off.” He knows how to manage the most common ethical infraction—sexual advances on the part of the client. “There are some excellent acupressure points on the front of the legs, which definitely help with that,” he writes. “Only joking (partially).”