Nancy M. Porambo, Jim Thorpe, has reason to celebrate. Last year not only marked the 20th anniversary for her massage therapy business, The Therapy Option, Inc., but it also ended her 16-year battle to bring licensing with educational and ethical standards to the industry.
"It would have never happened without Nancy Porambo," says Peg Moyer, senior partner at The Winter Group, a contract lobbyist based in Harrisburg. "This has been her life. She was strong. She is intelligent. She had to make her point because people were not respecting her profession."
The newly-formed Pennsylvania State Board of Massage Therapy agreed and rewarded Porambo's efforts by issuing her Pennsylvania's first license issued under Act 118, The Massage Therapy Law.
"I think it was appropriate that someone who spent so much time and personal energy pursuing the enactment of this bill be recognized for that effort," says Robert C. Jantsch, Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Massage Therapy. "Massage therapy is a professional industry."
Among other things, the new law requires a minimum of 600 hours' baseline education - 100 more than the national average - passing an exam and 24 hours of continuing education every two years.
"Our board and the law will require people to get that education, so having that baseline educational standard is really important now," says Jantsch. "It's hard for any professional to get recognition of a level of professional standing when, in the past, there was absolutely no educational requirement to enter the profession."
Education remains a high priority for Porambo.
"By having education defined for us, it brings a higher quality of health care to the general public," says Porambo. "My clients can be very proud that we have defined our profession and they can feel safe knowing they are going to a licensed therapist that has met the qualifications for licensure."
The Therapy Option's Center Street location specializes in the St. John Method of neuromuscular therapy for chronic pain. They also offer a variety of other professional massage service options at their 2nd location at the Inn at Jim Thorpe. Services at the Inn include relaxation and deep muscle massage, body wraps, hot stone or warmed bamboo massage, foot reflexology, and a variety of spa packages.
Porambo currently serves as a member of the National Board of Directors of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and has served as past-President of both, the American Massage Therapy Association, PA Chapter and the Pennsylvania Bodytherapy Association (PaBTA). She holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Health Psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and teaches across the country on a variety of massage related topics, including Fibromyalgia. She has also received numerous state and national awards for her volunteer work in the industry.
For more information about massage therapy or The Therapy Option, visit www.thetherapyoption.com or by calling (570)-325-9477.