LAWTON,Okla_The recent prostitution raid at several massage parlors in Lawton has left legitimate therapists fighting the fallout. Many businesses reached out hoping we could shed some light on what they do, the training they go through, and how potential clients can tell the good from the bad.
What the business is called makes a big difference. A certified therapist will work at a massage clinic, not a parlor. Also, here in Oklahoma, you don't have to go to college to open a massage business. Masseuses generally don't have schooling, massage therapists do. Massage therapist like Stephanie Fountain take their careers very serious. She's been working in the field for nearly 5 years.
"We're talking about alternative medicine or healing," said Fountain.
She wants to help people like Sylvia Williams. Williams came in for her massage Wednesday despite hearing about the prostitution sting.
"I got on my Facebook and it was all over, massage parlors are being busted in Lawton," said Williams.
Even though Williams felt comfortable at this clinic immediately.
"The place was nice and clean and it looked like a doctor's office," said Williams.
If you're going for a massage the first sign of whether you're in a professional place or not is in how they greet you. Most reputable places will have you fill out paperwork so they know your condition and can document you being there. Also, therapists should discuss what will happen before it does and should be appropriately dressed.
"It's very common to find your therapist with hair in a ponytail, maybe even no makeup"
"there's no time for stilettos," said Fountain.
You will also see proper certification on the wall. Certification Fountain got at Platt College.
A place right here in Lawton that has been offering classes since 2000.
Fountain used her time there to not only learn the right techniques but also the right way to run a business.
"In order to bring about health benefits or to promote healing, we have to know what it is that is your major complaint, in return you have to know what our qualifications are," said Fountain.
If you're not sure about a place, just ask to take a tour. If they won't give you one chances are you need to leave. Another good tip is to research the place before you go.
Many reputable places have websites with a complete listing of detailed services. If the list is vague, you might want to look for a new place.