What You Need To Know About Government Regulation Of Massage And Bodywork
As a massage therapist, youre busy with practice and career development learning about massage therapy regulation is probably pretty low on your to-do list. However, regulation directly impacts our profession, and its often misunderstood. Here are some of the basics that all MTs and bodyworkers should know.
Individual States, Not the Federal Government, Regulate Massage Therapy
The federal government does not regulate massage therapy, and there is no national license to practice massage. Instead, the profession is governed by individual state laws that vary. In many states, a massage therapy board handles the administration of massage therapy law. The board is usually comprised of volunteer board memberssome of whom are MTs themselves. The board normally issues the regulations that fill in the details of the states massage therapy law and also processes license applications and handles disciplinary matters. Additionally, cities and towns often have their own local ordinances that further regulate massage businesses.
There Are Several Categories of Regulation
There are several ways a state can regulate massage therapists:
No State Regulation
And Then Theres Establishment Licenses
Nancy Potter is ABMPs government relations coordinator. Contact her at .
Massage Education And Exam Requirements
In all other states, massage therapists are required to get a license in the state where they’ll practice. Licensure requirements differ from one state to the next, but typically include 500 to 650 hours of massage education. Failure to do so means a massage therapist could face penalties associated with practicing massage without a license
Passing the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam is another common requirement. Here are the components of this standard test:
- 12%: Anatomy and Physiology
Are Cosmetologists Licensed For Massages
Cosmetologists are responsible for providing cosmetic treatments to enhance their clients’ personal appearances. To work as a cosmetologist, you must have a state-issued cosmetology license. There are strict rules and regulations on the scope of services a licensed cosmetologist provides. These regulations include limitations on the type of massages a cosmetologist can offer. If a cosmetologist performs a massage outside of the specified boundaries, she risks license revocation and fines and penalties.
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What Cosmetologists Can Do
Cosmetologists are trained to provide treatment and care for hair, nails and skin. She is permitted to perform only certain types of massages. For instance, a cosmetologist is allowed to massage her client’s hands, arms, feet and lower legs when doing manicures and pedicures. If the cosmetologist is doing your hair, she is allowed to do a scalp massage. In a nutshell, the cosmetologist is limited to performing neck, arm and lower leg massages.
What Insurance Do I Need To Run A Massage Therapy Business
Small business insurance is essential for massage therapists. Each state has specific massage therapist insurance requirements to operate a massage therapy business, and you should check your stateâs requirements when considering various insurance policies.
However, one type of insurance coverage you will need if you intend to hire employees is workersâ compensation insurance. Workersâ comp is almost always legally required as soon as you hire your first employee. In some cases, you may only need workersâ comp after you have 3 to 5 employees working for you, but it is still a good idea to have in place even if you only have a single employee to start. This is because the policy protects you from financial damages resulting from your employee getting sick or injured on the job. Without workersâ comp, you will likely face a potentially devastating lawsuit should your employee get hurt while working for you.
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Whats The Difference Between A Massage Therapist And A Masseuse
A massage therapist is a licensed massage professional who has gone through a lot of training and thorough examination. A masseuse is a French term that refers to a female massage practitioner. A male massage practitioner would be a masseur. These terms are rarely used in America today to describe someone who practices massage.
Massage Therapist License Vs A Business License
A business license allows you to operate a business legally in your state. A massage therapy license allows you to practice massage in your state. You can apply for a business license with your stateâs Department of Revenue. You will be required to submit certain documentation about your business and pay an application fee.
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Why Do Massage Licenses Exist
If there were no licensing requirements in America, anyone could open a massage business and call themselves a massage therapist. This would open the door for far more illegal activity, as there would be no recourse if a person were found to be offering massage services without a license.
Even with regulations and licensing requirements mandated by the state, some illegal massage establishments still exist. Human trafficking continues to be a problem in the world of massage, with massage parlors throughout the country operating illegally to exploit unpaid workers for profit.
With tight regulations in place, law enforcement can better identify and disrupt human trafficking rings. In turn, legitimate massage professionals can easily identify themselves in the marketplace when they obtain a professional license.
For Applicants & Certificate Holders:
Unless your city or county requires you to be certified, it is your choice. The State of California does not require massage professionals to be certified by CAMTC. However, many massage professionals find CAMTC Certification to be useful because, as a CAMTC Certified Massage Professional, you will not need a massage therapist permit to provide massage for compensation in any California city or county.
A license is a document issued by the state and is mandatory for the individual to obtain before they can work in their profession in that state. The State of California does not license the massage profession. The California Massage Therapy Council, a private non-profit corporation, issues voluntary certifications to massage professionals that meet the requirements in the Massage Therapy Act. CAMTC Certification is voluntary. CAMTC Certification is not required by State Law in order for a massage professional to practice their profession in the State, though many massage professionals find CAMTC Certification useful. CAMTC Certification is the only credential for massage professionals that is recognized by California State Law.
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Employers And Massage Business Owners
*Legal Notice regarding FAQs: These FAQs are provided as a service to individuals and businesses interested in CAMTC certification. However, these FAQs are not intended as, nor a substitute for, legal advice. Individuals and businesses with questions regarding CAMTC’s enabling statutes, California Business and Professions Code sections 460, 4600 et. seq., Government Code section 51034, and/or the rules pertaining to various local jurisdictions should consult their own experienced legal counsel.
Check the website of your city or county and search for the municipal code for massage. You can also try searching www.courtsystem.org. Be aware that the jurisdiction is likely to have both a massage ordinance, regulating the business, and a zoning ordinance, regulating where the business can be located.
On January 1, 2017, this provision was moved from the Intent to the body of the law which makes it directive, and will limit local government to imposing and enforcing only reasonable and necessary fees and regulations on massage businesses and massage establishments.
You can read the complete State Law know as the Massage Therapy Act.
Can You Get A Massage License Online
Some schools market themselves as 100% online, but you must complete a hands-on component to qualify for a massage license. If you prefer to receive your academic training online, you can do so, but be prepared to take your hands-on training in person. You will likely need to source a local massage therapist willing to let you apprentice with them to fulfill the hourly training requirement mandated by your state.
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Practicing Massage Without A License In California
In California, certification is voluntary, so it could qualify as one of the states that do not require a massage license.
Issued by the California Massage Therapy Council , the certification allows a therapist to practice inside the state without having to complete additional requirements imposed by the city or town.
If you don’t have a massage license or certification in California and the city or town where you practice doesn’t impose additional requirements, there isn’t a penalty for practicing massage without a license in California.
Requirement To Post License
1. When do I need to post my massage therapist license so that it is visible to the public and when can I just carry my wallet card?
You need to post your license at your primary office or place of employment and at any licensed massage establishment where you provide services.
TDLR will inspect licensed massage establishments for compliance with the Texas Occupations Code requirement, so you may need to order a duplicate license if you work at more than one massage establishment. See Sec. 455.204. Display of License .
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Can I Be A Massage Therapist Without A License
In most cases, the answer is no. You need a massage license to practice massage therapy. In some instances, you cannot even run a massage therapy business with a team of licensed therapists unless you are also licensed.
For example, in Washington State, you must hold a massage license to run a massage business unless you are a health care professional who holds a higher degree of medical training. Chiropractors or kinesiologists are examples of healthcare professionals who may offer massage as part of their practice without massage-specific licensure. However, there are some states in which you are not required to have a massage therapy license.
Practicing Massage Therapy Without A License
Wyoming, Vermont, Minnesota, or Kansas are states that do not require a massage license.
While these are the only states where you can be a massage therapist without out license, there may be additional requirements. Before setting up a practice, it’s crucial to check with local authorities to find out if there are licensing or education requirements that apply to massage therapists or their businesses. It’s also important to understand any local and civil penalties that may apply if you are practicing massage therapy without a license in the area.
One way to do this is to speak with other massage therapists in the area. The American Massage Therapy Association is also a trusted resource for up-to-date information about massage certification requirements.
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What Is The Difference Between A Massage Practitioner And A Massage Therapist
Massage practitioners usually must go through the same licensure process as massage therapists unless specific exemptions apply. The difference is that practitioners complete fewer training hours than therapists and usually do not have the same continuing education requirements.
Terms can be used interchangeably in the massage world sometimes. Technically, therapists can use the term âpractitionerâ to describe themselves, but practitioners cannot give themselves the title of “therapist” in their business, as they have not achieved the level of training to qualify them as either a certified massage therapist or a licensed massage therapist .
Massage Therapy License Requirements
States that license or certify Massage Therapists have dedicated regulatory divisions or boards where they have posted the necessary Massage Therapist licensure requirements. Locating the Massage Therapist License requirements on a states regulating agency website can be difficult with the additional legislation and materials they also have on their we/bsite. Often a states Massage Therapy Licensure Board is under the umbrella of the department of health or medical licensure making it even more difficult to sort through and locate the Massage Therapist license requirements you are looking for.
As a student or recent graduate, it is very common to feel confused about where to look for licensure information and the steps you will need to take along the way. MassageTherapyLicense.org has made the process simple and more efficient for you by providing direct navigation to the licensure information you need to help secure a Massage Therapy license in your state.
A state licensing Massage Therapists assures that only those Massage Therapists who have met specific requirements are treating clients. Massage Therapist licensure helps to ensure a level of safety and confidence for both client and Massage Therapist.
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Indiana’s Title Protection Law
Those who would like to claim the title of a massage therapist in the state of Indiana must meet the requirements of “title protection.”
This means that anyone can practice massage without a license in the state, but they aren’t allowed to call themselves a massage therapist without first getting an Indiana state certification.
Which States Dont Require A Massage Therapy License
You can practice massage therapy without a license or certification in:
- Pathology, Contraindications, Areas of Caution, Special Populations
- Benefits and Physiological Effects of Technique that Manipulate Soft Tissue
- Client Assessment, Reassessment, and Treatment Planning
- Overview of Massage and bodywork Modalities/Culture/History
- Ethics, Boundaries, Laws, Regulations
- Guidelines for Professional Practice
You cannot take the test until you can prove that you have completed training in all areas of the MBLEx outline. You may bypass that requirement if you can show that you graduated from an approved massage therapy school or program.
During the test, youâll have 2 hours to complete as many questions as you can. The results are graded as pass/fail.
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Why Practice Massage Without A License
Many of our clients ask why a person who has gone through our training program would not be licensed. There are a few reasons: 1) someone may be just finishing up necessary requirements and want to get started a little early or 2) someone might think of massage as more of a side-job and, therefore, not feel the need to get licensed.
A common reason is due to the fact that to apply for a license, you can never have performed a massage for money, which could include anyone who has ever been paid by a family member or friend to do so. Getting paid in cash can have its tax benefits as well, but the win-win really comes in that you save money and the unlicensed practitioner gets money he or she might not have otherwise.
It is important to note that there is a difference between massaging for pleasure and massaging for physical therapy or healing. Many provinces allow unlicensed people to perform relaxation massage, but not therapy. In this case, he or she would be known as a masseuse/masseur and not a massage therapist. Additionally, it is important to note there is a difference between a license and a certificate one can still be certified and not licensed. In some areas, if you complete at least 500 classroom hours and have received a diploma or certificate, you can apply for a license. Our program requires completion of 2,200 hours so that is just a comparison for anyone who might be slightly on the fence regarding the qualifications of our unlicensed individuals.
Can You Be A Massage Therapist Without A License
Having a massage therapist license prominently displayed for clients to see isn’t just about compliance, though. It helps build trust with new customers and establishes a professional environment where they can truly relax. Since certification and licensure requires extensive classroom work and hands-on experience in many areas of the country, even new massage therapists who are licensed have a great deal of experience working with clients.
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When It’s ‘energy Work’ According To One Local Business And That Isn’t Sitting Well With Some Licensed Competitors
They work the mall corridors like carnival barkers, beckoningshoppers with visions of relaxation a few minutes away from thehustle and bustle of daily life.
Employees of Oriental Chi’s three Tucson-area mall locationsseem to speak limited English, but they know enough to ask, “Howlong?” when a prospect approaches.
As in, how long do you want your body worked on?
The company is careful not to use the word “massage” anywhere inits literature, saying instead they practice only Asian forms of”energy work” that don’t constitute massage. As varieties of”bodywork” have proliferated, practices such as Oriental Chi saythey are fitting into loopholes in a recent state law that requireslicenses of massage therapists and governs their practices.
“We are not doing exactly massage,” said Steven Chen, owner ofOriental Chi.
Rather, his employees engage in shiatsu and qigong energyrelaxation work, he said. And that doesn’t require a license.
It’s a loophole Chen has tried to operate in for the five yearsor so that he’s had businesses here. He also has locations inCalifornia and Colorado two states that have no licensingrequirements.
Some massage therapists and regulators say even businesses suchas Oriental Chi are covered by the law, and that they should belicensed to protect customers as well as the profession.
“They should be shut down immediately,” said Tucson massagetherapist Denise Caywood. “They’re just skirting the law, and theycould be hurting people.”