Who's putting their hands on you: Staying safe while getting a m - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Who's putting their hands on you: Staying safe while getting a massage

Posted: Updated:

If you're looking to de-stress from the holidays, or maybe give the gift of de-stressing, a massage may seem like the answer.But after the arrest of a massage therapist at a national chain for sexually assaulting clients last month, it brings up the question, who is giving me a massage?

Before you even go inside your regular massage place, there are steps you might have already skipped to make you safer, according to Rebecca Dragseth, who runs a massage school in Spokane training people to become licensed massage practitioners.

The first step is to get a referral, "talk to your friends and find out who people are seeing and who they recommend. And that way you don't feel like you're just stepping into a random situation where you could potentially feel unsafe," said Dragseth.

If that's not an option, you should start by making sure your massage therapist is licensed. They should display it at their business and on their business card. Going through training school, Dragseth says, is the first step in the process of weeding out the creeps. "I do a very clear interview process and make sure that I know when the students come in, they're coming in for the right reasons."

Dragseth works closely with each student for 10 months until they graduate and take their boards where the state does a background check, which includes explaining any personal history that could be an issue. If the state approves, a massage therapist gets their license, which you can verify through the Department of Health's websites in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

But even after all of that, it doesn't always work. A licensed massage therapist just pleaded guilty to assaulting multiple massage envy clients in the D.C. area. In Washington, Liberty Lake police arrested chiropractor Phillip Harris last year and he is going on trial for drugging and molesting two clients.

The lesson to learn? To relax, you have to stay vigilant. So what should a new client look for, maybe as a red flag when they go in for their first massage? Dragseth says, "if you feel uncomfortable at any time during the massage."

Dragseth once you are in a legitimate safe place, communicate with your massage therapist; be clear about what you want and what your limits are so there's no gray area. That way if you think something doesn't feel right you don't have to go back.

Getting a hold of state data on your massage therapist is as easy as clicking a link on your smartphone - Washington and Montana make the searches free on their websites - Idaho goes a step further, by listing all disciplinary actions online.

Local resources if you need to file a complaint:

Montana Board of Massage Therapy

Montana Licensee Lookup System           

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Woman killed in crash near Otis Orchards

    Woman killed in crash near Otis Orchards

    Thursday, May 24 2018 10:26 AM EDT2018-05-24 14:26:43 GMT

    OTIS ORCHARDS, Wash. - A woman was killed in a crash in the Otis Orchards area Thursday morning.  The crash happened near the intersection of Wellesley and Ashton. Details are limited at this time, but the car was found behind a tree and the woman driving has died, according to deputies on scene.  The intersection is closed down and motorists are asked to avoid the area. 

    >>

    OTIS ORCHARDS, Wash. - A woman was killed in a crash in the Otis Orchards area Thursday morning.  The crash happened near the intersection of Wellesley and Ashton. Details are limited at this time, but the car was found behind a tree and the woman driving has died, according to deputies on scene.  The intersection is closed down and motorists are asked to avoid the area. 

    >>
  • Police confront man armed with bat during interview about downtown 'problem spot'

    Police confront man armed with bat during interview about downtown 'problem spot'

    Thursday, May 24 2018 2:28 AM EDT2018-05-24 06:28:47 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Crime is becoming a growing concern in parts of downtown Spokane-- and police are getting all to familiar with it. The worse it gets, the fewer people want to spend time there-- which only creates a vicious cycle. Tonight while while we were in the downtown neighborhood, we saw firsthand what businesses and police are worried about and say they see every day. "I think most areas are overall safe," Officer John O'Brien 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Crime is becoming a growing concern in parts of downtown Spokane-- and police are getting all to familiar with it. The worse it gets, the fewer people want to spend time there-- which only creates a vicious cycle. Tonight while while we were in the downtown neighborhood, we saw firsthand what businesses and police are worried about and say they see every day. "I think most areas are overall safe," Officer John O'Brien 

    >>
  • 46-year-old motorcyclist killed in crash on I-90 in Spokane Valley

    46-year-old motorcyclist killed in crash on I-90 in Spokane Valley

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 11:40 AM EDT2018-05-23 15:40:16 GMT
    Spokane man dead after rollover crash in OregonSpokane man dead after rollover crash in Oregon

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol says a 46-year-old Reardan man was killed Tuesday afternoon after crashing his motorcycle on I-90. Troopers say Clinton Heindl was traveling west on the Sprague onramp when he struck the barrier, was thrown from his bike and into the westbound lanes of I-90.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol says a 46-year-old Reardan man was killed Tuesday afternoon after crashing his motorcycle on I-90. Troopers say Clinton Heindl was traveling west on the Sprague onramp when he struck the barrier, was thrown from his bike and into the westbound lanes of I-90.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Regional NewsMore>>

  • Pilot OK after plane makes hard landing on I-90 east of Lookout Pass

    Pilot OK after plane makes hard landing on I-90 east of Lookout Pass

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 7:41 PM EDT2018-05-22 23:41:45 GMT

    LOOKOUT PASS - Investigators with Montana Highway Patrol say a pilot was flying an experimental aircraft and trying to go over Lookout Pass when he reportedly hit a downdraft and the plane's engine gave out. Troopers say the pilot aimed for the only thing he could think of which was the highway. He landed hard in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90.

    >>

    LOOKOUT PASS - Investigators with Montana Highway Patrol say a pilot was flying an experimental aircraft and trying to go over Lookout Pass when he reportedly hit a downdraft and the plane's engine gave out. Troopers say the pilot aimed for the only thing he could think of which was the highway. He landed hard in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90.

    >>
  • Teen who started Columbia River Gorge fire last summer ordered to pay $37 million in restitution

    Teen who started Columbia River Gorge fire last summer ordered to pay $37 million in restitution

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 11:11 AM EDT2018-05-22 15:11:27 GMT

    HOOD RIVER, Ore. - A Vancouver, Washington teenager who admitted to throwing fireworks in Eagle Creek Canyon last summer, causing a major wildfire in the Columbia River Gorge, has been ordered to pay nearly $37 million in restitution. It's unlikely the boy, whose identity has not been released by authorities, will ever cover the entire $37 million.

    >>

    HOOD RIVER, Ore. - A Vancouver, Washington teenager who admitted to throwing fireworks in Eagle Creek Canyon last summer, causing a major wildfire in the Columbia River Gorge, has been ordered to pay nearly $37 million in restitution. It's unlikely the boy, whose identity has not been released by authorities, will ever cover the entire $37 million.

    >>
  • Searchers recover body of missing Montana backcountry skier

    Searchers recover body of missing Montana backcountry skier

    Monday, May 14 2018 5:46 PM EDT2018-05-14 21:46:41 GMT

    KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - Searchers have recovered the body of a northwestern Montana physician who went missing while backcountry skiing in February.    Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry says the body of 62-year-old Jonathan Torgerson of Columbia Falls was recovered Saturday in an avalanche runout zone on the north side of Whitefish Mountain.

    >>

    KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - Searchers have recovered the body of a northwestern Montana physician who went missing while backcountry skiing in February.    Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry says the body of 62-year-old Jonathan Torgerson of Columbia Falls was recovered Saturday in an avalanche runout zone on the north side of Whitefish Mountain.

    >>