Do Not Defer to Refer

By: R. Scott Hartsfield, LMT, CPT
FSMTA Legislative Committee Chair

As we all know, in Florida, massage therapy falls under the Department of Health (DOH) jurisdiction.  Naturally, physicians and other healthcare practitioners do as well.

It is common for a primary provider (also know as general practitioner, family physician, etc.) to refer patients to other professionals that have a specific specialty.

In fact, primary providers and specialist refer their patients to other healthcare professionals – to professionals such as you.

The purpose of this communication is to suggest that our profession should model that lead.  Following are a few examples I hope that you will consider for future referrals.

Reflexologist – many of us say we offer “reflexology”.  However, professionally trained and certified Reflexologists offer services that may be just what you patient/client needs.  In fact, if you have not had a service from a certified Reflexologist – now is the time.  Log on to American Reflexology Certification to find a Reflexologist near you.  The American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB) is the organization that tests individuals for national certification in reflexology (sort of like how the NCB started out).  In Florida, reflexology services falls within the Massage Therapy scope of practice – and can only be offered by Licensed Massage Therapist.
Dermatologist – I cannot think of one profession that sees more skin than Licensed Massage Therapist.  Take time to learn more about the basics of skin care, conditions and potential warning signs.  Encourage Dermatologists to get more involved with our profession and offer elementary continuing education in “skin care and concerns”, “warning signs”, “when to refer”, etc.  Refer your patient/client to a dermatologist when appropriate.  Timely identification is key to treatment.

Acupuncturist – Over the years, I have realized that Massage Therapy works very well for some.  Though I have never personally experienced an acupuncture treatment, I frequently recommend to my clients a local Acupuncturist that has solid credentials.  It has been my experience that acupuncture does bring results and was the best choice.  Contact a local Acupuncturist in your area and request a meeting.  Find out how they may be able to complement your services and likewise.  I know this has worked very well for me.  Check out these professional associations to find an Acupuncturist in your area.  (

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) site is a good site to find Acupuncture providers.  Log on to  Also, log on to the Florida State Oriental Medical Association ( to search for an Acupuncture Physician near you.
Yoga – Yoga does offer great results.  Many of my clients, who enjoy yoga, benefit in so many ways.  My work effort is reduced on clients who are active in yoga.  They breathe better, are more flexible and are very aware of their body.

You want a teacher who has a minimum of a 200-hour program registered with Yoga Alliance and the teacher themselves should be registered with Yoga Alliance.

The initials after his/her name should be RYT200 or RYT500.  There is also a secondary training for Yoga teachers called Yoga Therapy where they study the body more in depth and learn about many disabilities, etc.  Yoga Alliance is the only registry for Yoga teachers where the minimum standards are required to register. 

You can check see if your teacher is registered at Yoga Alliance – go to

Reiki Master – In your journey of massage therapy, you will see diversity at its best.  Some do not want touch but enjoy the energy that passes from your hands and your being.

Reiki is a powerful and beautiful technique.  It is perfect for those who need your presence, your energy and your skill.  Reach out and refer clients to a Reiki Master or Reiki practitioner.  Experience a session yourself.

In Florida, Reiki services falls with the Massage Therapy scope of practice – and can only be offered by Licensed Massage Therapist.

Chiropractors – as a Licensed Massage Therapist professional, we understand anatomy and physiology.

As you manipulate the soft tissue, be cognizant when someone may need chiropractic services.  I recommend you establish a professional relationship with a respected chiropractor in your area – and refer clients to them as appropriate.

Use this trusted site to find recommended Chiropractor physicians – go to the Florida Chiropractic Association at

Like you, I could recommend other professionals.  Professionally speaking, I have not “lost” clients from doing referrals.  All have been grateful that I had a professional to recommend.  Your patients/clients will respect you as well.

It is always my pleasure to help you locate other professionals.  You can contact me via email at or phone at 904-745-1900. 
Wishing you much success!

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