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Archive for April 7th, 2010

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Legitimate massage therapy happens every day!

According to the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals, the City of Chicago’s Committee on Zoning passed a motion on March 25, 2010, to amend its zoning ordinance affecting massage establishments. The amendment, sponsored by Alderman Ray Suarez (31st Ward), would prohibit “massage establishments” from operating in B Zoning Districts, moving them into C Zoning Districts only. The vote passed 2-0, but the majority of committee members did not vote.

Massage establishments in the city of Chicago can currently operate in areas typically used by other small businesses and retail establishments in local neighborhoods (B Zoning). If the amendment offered by Alderman Suarez passes as proposed, massage establishments would be moved out of safe and convenient neighborhoods and would be located only in areas normally zoned for commercial and industrial businesses (C Zoning), such as outdoor storage areas and automobile lots.

The zoning change would affect solo practitioners, massage clinics, and businesses that offer massage therapy as an ancillary service, such as spas and salons.

The proposed changes to the Massage Establishment ordinance make me think that some Chicago aldermen still think ALL massage therapy spas, saloons, clinics and sole proprietors are simply fronts for prostitution. For my clients, my massage therapists and all the massage therapists I know in Chicago, this would be a sad commentary on our elected officials view of  the massage profession. As I said in my post, “Massage and Prostitution–Whats’ the Difference,” yes, there are some shady operators that open up massage “parlors” and use massage as a front for prostitution. But those are few and far between. The current laws have recourse for shutting down those types of impostors. It’s illegal in the city of Chicago for a business with a Massage Establishment License to offer prostitution. And a business that operates as a massage “parlor” aka prostitution, can be shut down and fined. Any massage therapist or non-massage therapist that offers sex for money will be fined and lose his or her State Massage Therapy License. And relocated massage establishments to C Zone Business districts will only help shady operators. People can come and go from areas with storage warehouses and car dealers without much notice. In B Zone Districts, illegal activity is more noticeable–and much more safe for legitimate massage clients and for legitimate massage therapists!

According to Fran Spielman’s article, “Alderman targets massages to rein in ‘sex parlors'” at the Chicago Sun Times: Suarez persuaded 26 aldermen to co-sign the ordinance, but some of his colleagues say he’s going too far. They hope to derail the ordinance on the City Council floor.

“He’s probably got one place that’s a front for a sex operation, and instead of going after it with law enforcement, he’s trying to kill a whole industry,” said one alderman, who asked to remain anonymous.

“Just clean up the ones that need to be cleaned up and let the legitimate places operate. I have a large hairdresser that’s trying to come to my area. Something like this would kill it.”  Read the entire Chicago Sun Times article here.

I am sure Alderman Suarez is just trying to do his job and keep Chicagoans safe from prostitution. I applaud his good intentions. However, Licensed Massage Therapists are not prostitutes. We do not need to be hidden away in industrial corridors. We are professional, ethical, health care providers. And we have the required education, code of ethics and State of Illinois license to prove it. Limiting massage therapy businesses to C Zone Districts and industrial corridors would actually make it EASIER for disreputable massage parlors to operate and more DIFFICULT for legitimate massage therapy centers to offer legitimate therapeutic massage!

We need your help to keep massage therapy businesses in safe convenient neighborhoods. The next Zoning Committee meeting will be held on Monday, April 12th at 11am in room 201-A in City Hall at 121 N. La Salle in Chicago. Make your voice heard before this next important meeting.

Take Action Today!

1. Call or email Alderman Suarez and ask him to reconsider sponsoring this amendment. He can be reached at 773-486-6488. You can send him an email message at rsuarez@cityofchicago.org

2. Call or email your own alderman today and ask him or her to OPPOSE the zoning amendment. (You can find contact information for your alderman listed below. )

Let your alderman know that you oppose this change to the Massage Establishment ordinance and that you are happy having legitimate massage therapists near your local shops and retail establishments!

A Sample Email to Your Alderman

“As a client of a legitimate massage therapy business, I implore you to oppose the amendment to limit massage therapy establishments to only C Zoning Districts.  I value the health care benefits of massage and do not want my legitimate massage therapist penalized for the actions of a few illegal massage parlor operators. I visit my massage therapist in a safe convenient location and I do not want to have to travel to an industrial corridor to get massage therapy. Approving this amendment to the Massage Establishment ordinance will put a huge financial strain on legitimate massage therapy businesses if they are need to expand or relocate, would make it unnecessarily difficult for new massage therapists to open a business, and could increase the city’s unemployment by putting legitimate massage therapists out of work. Please oppose this amendment.”

Feel free to cut and paste our sample email or write your own!

City of Chicago Alderman Names and Emails by Ward

1st Ward Proco Joe Moreno ward01@cityofchicago.org
2nd Ward Robert Fioretti ward02@cityofchicago.org
3rd Ward Pat Dowell Pat.Dowell@cityofchicago.org
4th Ward Toni Preckwinkle tpreckwinkle@cityofchicago.org
5th Ward Leslie Hairston lhairston@cityofchicago.org
6th Ward Freddrenna Lyle flyle@cityofchicago.org
7th Ward Sandi Jackson Sandi.Jackson@cityofchicago.org
8th Ward Michelle Harris mharris@cityofchicago.org
9th Ward Anthony Beale abeale@cityofchicago.org
10th Ward John Pope jpope@cityofchicago.org
11th Ward James Balcer jbalcer@cityofchicago.org
12th Ward George Cardenas ward12@cityofchicago.org
13th Ward Frank Olivo folivo@cityofchicago.org
14th Ward Edward Burke eburke@cityofchicago.org
15th Ward Toni Faulkes Toni.Foulkes@cityofchicago.org
16th Ward JoAnn Thompson JoAnn.Thompson@cityofchicago.org
17th Ward Latasha Thomas lrthomas@cityofchicago.org
18th Ward Lona Lane ward18@cityofchicago.org
19th Ward Virginia Rugai vrugai@cityofchicago.org
20th Ward Willie Cochran Willie.Cochran@cityofchicago.org
21st Ward Howard Brookins ward21@cityofchicago.org
22nd Ward Ricardo Munoz rmunoz@cityofchicago.org
23rd Ward Michael Zalewski mzalewski@cityofchicago.org
24th Ward Sharon Dixon Sharon.Dixon@cityofchicago.org
25th Ward Daniel Solis dsolis@cityofchicago.org
26th Ward Roberto Maldonado Contact by Phone 773)395-0143
27th Ward Walter Burnett wburnett@cityofchicago.org
28th Ward Ed Smith ehsmith@cityofchicago.org
29th Ward Deborah Graham (no contact info)
30th Ward Ariel Reboyras ward30@cityofchicago.org
31st Ward Ray Suarez rsuarez@cityofchicago.org
32nd Ward Scott Waguespack ward32@cityofchicago.org
33rd Ward Richard Mell rmell@cityofchicago.org
34th Ward Carrie Austin caustin@cityofchicago.org
35th Ward Ray Colon ward35@cityofchicago.org
36th Ward John Rice Contact by Phone 773)622-3232
37th Ward Emma Mitts emitts@cityofchicago.org
38th Ward Thomas Allen tallen@cityofchicago.org
39th Ward Margaret Laurino mlaurino@cityofchicago.org
40th Ward Patrick O’Connor poconnor@cityofchicago.org
41st Ward Brian Doherty bdoherty@cityofchicago.org
42nd Ward Brendan Reilly Brendan.Reilly@cityofchicago.org
43rd Ward Vi Daley vdaley@cityofchicago.org
44th Ward Thomas Tunney ttunney@cityofchicago.org
45th Ward Patrick Levar plevar@cityofchicago.org
46th Ward Helen Shiller hshiller@cityofchicago.org
47th Ward Eugene Schulter ward47@cityofchicago.org
48th Ward Mary Ann Smith msmith@cityofchicago.org
49th Ward Joe Moore ward49@cityofchicago.org
50th Ward Bernard Stone bstone@cityofchicago.org
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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

One of our most popular posts is our post about NASA’s Top Ten plants to help clean your air here. You might already think that having a small plant at your desk is a pleasant aesthetic choice, but now you know that it actually will help keep you healthy as well!

“Indoor plants can reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold related illnesses by more than 30%,” explains Dr Tove Fjeld of Norway’s University of Agriculture. NASA scientists have also found that plants in the office combat air humidity problems and absorb the pollution from computers, carpets and perfume.

A hearty desk plant can help improve the health of your office.

Megan Cohen at Planet Green has some suggestions for even the worst gardeners:

Spider Plant
Spider plants are happy with watering just once a week, and do well in moderately cool places, which is good news if you’re in an office where air conditioning is just part of the daily deal. They do best when they’re near a window so that they can get some natural light, but don’t put them right in the path of very strong sun or the leaves will freak out and start turning brown. Spider plants like it mellow.

Jade Plant
Jade plants can keep growing for decades, which definitely tells you something about how tough they are. Much like the parrot on the shoulder of a pirate, there’s a chance that your jade plant might outlive you, but chances are, it’ll just be a cool, laid-back partner in crime and will keep most of your secrets.

Peace Lily
These elegant white flowers only need watering about twice a week and have an exotic look that belies how easy they are to handle. Most flowers need a lot of sunlight to fully bloom, but peace lilies still put on a show in low-to-middling lighting conditions, which makes them optimal for bringing a little eye candy to a dingy cubicle.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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