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Mistress damaged us, says massage industry

The Irish massage industry has been thrown "into disrepute" by the relationship between masseuse Jean Treacy and wife-killer Eamonn Lillis, says the Irish Massage Therapists' Association.

Mary Mullally, administrator for the IMTA, has criticised Treacy's actions for "raking up all the negative connotations about massage".

"There is still the old way of thinking of wink wink, nudge nudge" when it comes to massage in Ireland, she said.

"Obviously we are not happy about it."

Asked about Jean Treacy being a member of the body, Ms Mullally confirmed: "That therapist is not a member of the Irish Massage Therapists' Association" and believes her behaviour "certainly wasn't positive" for the industry.

There are other organisations operating in Ireland that she could be a member of.

Jean Treacy's relationship with her client, Eamonn Lillis, was a "personal choice she made, regardless of her profession," said Ms Mullally, again confirming that "if she was on our register, I would know about her, I would have a file on her".

Ms Mullally believes the only positive thing that could possibly be taken from their affair, and the subsequent propulsion of the industry into the media spotlight, might be that it may prevent future affairs arising between a therapist and client in a clinic situation.

Clients

"Perhaps other therapists, who may be borderline with one of their clients might think twice even if they were letting their heart rule their head, they might say, well this is wrong," she said.

The 20-year-old organisation is one of the most respected associations in the complementary therapy field in Ireland. It has 405 members on its register for 2009/2010 and is recognised by the Government and Department of Health as the national association for massage therapy.

Part of their code of ethics states that a therapist should "practice their profession with integrity and dignity" and "should not exploit their clients emotionally, physically, sexually or financially".

In the 20 years the Association has been in place, there have been only two complaints made by members of the public against a massage therapist.

Although the IMTA is recognised by the Government, there remains no legislation or regulation for the industry.

The IMTA believes this makes it more difficult to protect clients.


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