Policy Advisory

Policy Advisory Board Policies and Guidelines (Massage Therapy)

Date: 12/12/2017
Referenced Sources: Division of Professional Licensure

Table of Contents

Regarding the Provision of Massage Therapy at a Sporting, Health or Other Event that is Non-Compensatory and under the Supervision of a Licensed Massage Therapist

Policy #09-001

December 4, 2009

Purpose:

To clarify the exemption of certain people from licensure as a massage therapist while providing massage at sporting or charitable events.

Policy:

Pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 112, §228, "no person shall hold himself out to others as a massage therapist or practice massage or massage therapy unless he holds a valid license issued in accordance with this chapter." The law, however, also provides an exemption for "a person giving massage in a sporting, health or other event that is non-compensatory and under the supervision of a licensed massage therapist." Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 112, §228(a)(6).

After consideration, the Board has determined that the provision of the massage services by unlicensed persons is exempt under §228(a)(6) under the following conditions:

1) The massage therapy services are only provided to participants in the sporting, health or other event;

2) The persons providing massage do not hold themselves to the public as able to provide massage therapy services to the public;

3) The recipients of the massage therapy services do not compensate the massage therapists; and

4) The persons providing massage are supervised by a Massachusetts licensed massage therapist.

Advisory Ruling Regarding the "300 hours in supervised in classroom Massage Theory and Technique" Requirement of 269 CMR 3.01 (2)(e)(2)

It has come to the attention of the Board of Registration of Massage Therapy ("Board") that there are applicants for Individual Licensure as massage therapists and/or massage therapy school administrators who are expressing some confusion as to what courses may be taken to satisfy the regulatory requirements of 269 CMR 3.01 (2)(e)(2). Specifically, applicants have inquired as to whether courses, such as Reflexology, CPR, Polarity, etc., taken at licensed massage therapy schools will satisfy the requirement that applicants complete "300 hours in supervised in classroom Massage Theory and Technique."

Please be advised that:

269 CMR 3.01 (2)(e)(2) specifically states:

"For those individuals who apply for licensure after May 1, 2010, the course of study shall include a minimum of 650 classroom hours or an equivalent number of credit hours of supervised instruction at a Licensed Massage School .

At a minimum, the 650 course of study shall include 550 hours of academic courses, including 100 hours in the Anatomy and Physiology of the Body; 45 hours in Pathology; 45 hours in Kinesiology; 300 hours in supervised in classroom Massage Theory and Technique ; and 60 hours in Ethics, Professionalism and Business Practices. Additionally, the 650 hour course of study shall include 100 hours of unpaid and supervised clinical or internship experience…" (emphasis added)

269 CMR 2.00 further defines "Massage" as:

"The systematic treatment of the soft tissues of the body by use of pressure, friction, stroking, percussion, kneading, vibration by manual or mechanical means, range of motion for purposes of demonstrating muscle excursion or muscle flexibility and nonspecific stretching. Massage therapy may include the use of oil, ice, hot and cold packs, tub, shower, steam, dry heat or cabinet baths, in which the primary intent is to enhance or restore the health and well-being of the client."

269 CMR 2.00 also clearly exempts from the definition of "Massage"

"…the practice of a person who uses touch, words or directed movement to deepen awareness of the patterns of movement in the body, or the affectation of the human energy system or acupoints or Qi meridians of the human body while engaged within the scope of practice of a profession with established standards and ethics, including, but not limited to, the Feldenkrais Method, Reflexology, The Trager Approach, Ayurvedic Therapies, Rolf Structural Integration, Polarity or Polarity Therapy, Polarity Therapy Bodywork, Asian Bodywork Therapy that does not constitute Massage as defined in M.G.L. c. 135, Acupressure, Jin Shin Do, Qi Gong, Tui Na, Shiatsu, Body-mind Centering and Reiki. For purposes of 269 CMR et seq., the use of the term "Massage" shall also mean the term "Massage therapy" . (emphasis added)

Furthermore, in an attempt to give applicants guidance as to what courses would be accepted to meet the 650 hours course of study requirement, the Board, on March 31, 2009, posted on its website the "Curriculum Guidelines For Applications Received After May 1, 2010." The guidelines state that in order to meet the 300 Hours of Massage Theory and Technique requirements, the courses must include:

"Effects of touch and massage techniques:

  • Identify and describe the physiological effects of touch and specific massage.
  • Identify and describe potential emotional effects of touch and specific massage techniques.
  • Define and describe the interpersonal and physical components of a therapeutic environment
  • Develop competency in musculoskeletal palpation and pain assessment skills relating to the appropriate application of massage techniques.
  • Develop a safe and effective treatment plan, based on client goals, assessment findings, and understanding of effects of massage.
  • Write clear, concise and accurate notes of client treatment sessions.
  • Demonstrate commonly recognized techniques that are within the scope of practice and training for massage therapy disciplines. Demonstrate techniques that are appropriate for each body area, including endangerment sites.
  • Demonstrate the use of draping during treatment as a professional boundary
  • Identify and practice appropriate methods of sanitation and personal hygiene in the performance of massage sessions.

Self-care:

  • Identify and describe the effect of physical fitness and life style habits on the performance of massage techniques.
  • Identify and demonstrate biomechanical skills necessary for the safe and effective performance of massage techniques."

Therefore, the Board issues this Advisory Ruling to inform all applicants for Individual Licensure of the Board's intent to strictly enforce the regulatory requirements of 269 CMR 3.00. As such, in order to comply with the " 300 hours in supervised in classroom Massage Theory and Technique" requirement of 269 CMR 3.01 (2)(e)(2), applicants must take courses that meet the definition of "Massage," as defined in 269 CMR 2.00. Failure to do so may result in the denial of the application for Individual Licensure.

This Advisory Ruling is issued pursuant to a determination made by a majority of members present at the duly called meeting of the Board of Registration of Massage Therapy on August 20, 2010.

Curriculum Guidelines For Applications Received After May 1, 2010

Find Curriculum Guidelines For Applications Received After May 1, 2010 in attached PDF below.

Regarding the Use of a Name Other Than the Licensed Name by a Massage Therapist

June 27, 2011

Purpose:

To clarify the circumstances when the use of a name other than the licensed name in the provision of massage therapy services at licensed massage therapy facilities will be viewed as accompanied by fraud or deceit such that he Board would consider it the use of an alias in violation of 269 Code Mass. Regs. §6.07(3)(d).

Policy:

As applicable to licensed massage facilities, 269 Code Mass. Regs. §6.07(3)(d) prohibits the use of aliases by massage therapists. After considerable discussion, the Board has determined that the use of any name other than the licensed name, when providing massage therapy services, is prohibited by §6.07(3)(d) if it is done to cheat or defraud or if its accompanied by an intent to deceive or a showing of other dishonesty. The Board will review these cases on a case by case basis. When reviewing such matters, the Board would consider the presence of any of the following practices to evidence either an intent to deceive or a showing of other dishonesty:

  1. an oral introduction that fails to include both the licensed name and an assumed name, such as a nickname or a more easily-pronounced name;
  2. business cards or other business records that fail to include the licensed name and an assumed name, such as a nickname or a more easily pronounced name;
  3. at a multiple therapist establishment, the failure to list an assumed name, such as a nickname or a more easily-pronounced name, with the list of all massage therapy practitioners required in the business compliance plan; and
  4. written instructions or other appointment reminders that fail to include both the licensed and assumed names.

In general, the consistent use of an assumed name in conjunction with the licensed name would not necessarily be deceitful or dishonest. Conversely, the Board will continue its current policy of disallowing license name changes unless there is a concomitant legal name change with supporting documentation.

Regarding the Board’s Acceptance of Out of State School Transcripts

Policy #12-001

January 9, 2012

Purpose:

To clarify the circumstances when the Board of Registration of Massage Therapy will accept a transcript from an out of state school in satisfaction of the licensure requirement of a Board-approved course of study as required by G.L. c. 112, § 229; 269 Code Mass. Regs. §3.01(e)(2).

Policy:

The Board will accept transcripts for review to determine satisfaction of the licensure requirement of a Board-approved course of study from an out-of-state school where such school is either approved by the corresponding entity regulating massage practice in that other state or is licensed by an agency in that other state recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Regarding the Board’s Acceptance of Licensed Practice in Lieu of Clinical Supervised Practice Educational Requirement

Policy #15-001

Find "Regarding the Board’s Acceptance of Licensed Practice in Lieu of Clinical Supervised Practice Educational Requirement" in PDF attached below.

Downloads for Board Policies and Guidelines (Massage Therapy)

Referenced Sources:
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