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France recently became the first country in the world to recognize seated massage as an occupational category with a professional certification. On June 7, 2016, the National Professional Certification Commission (Le Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles) approved Xavier Court Training as the sole provider of diplomas for Practitioners of Seated Massage.
Xavier Court, owner of the school, began the application process three years ago after joining forces with chair massage pioneer, David Palmer, and becoming an affiliate of Palmer’s organization, TouchPro International. Their application received a Level 2 certification under the French grading system (Level 1 is University diplomas) giving it a high degree of professional credibility. Throughout Europe the training is also rated as EuroPass Level 6 (the highest being Level 8) making the credential easily portable between all EU countries.
The approved curriculum is 170 hours and includes training in the TouchPro acupressure approach to chair massage developed by Palmer in 1986. While over 40,000 table massage practitioners around the globe have already been taught this system in continuing education seminars, this is the first time it has been the centerpiece of an entry-level massage program. Besides mastering the TouchPro technique, requires training in anatomy, physiology, hygiene, ethics, customer relations, and marketing to qualify graduates as world class chair massage specialists.
This also marks the first time that France has approved a specific credential for any massage services. Up to this point, the physiotherapists have prevented massage practitioners from being recognized as an independently titled profession. Palmer speculates that because seated massage was specifically defined in this instance as non-therapeutic, relaxation massage the French physiotherapists found it less objectionable than table massage therapy being provided as a health care service.
Another TouchPro affiliate in Trinidad & Tobago has an application in process for Caribbean-wide chair massage credentialing as a discrete occupation and Palmer looks forward to other countries adopting similar curriculum. The likelihood of North America following suit is slim as both Canada and the United States still require practitioners to complete 500- to 2200-hour table massage programs in most states and provinces before practitioners can legally offer chair massage services.
[For further information, please contact David Palmer at email@example.com.]