House Bill 923, sponsored by Representative Ponti, and signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal on June 6, 2012, amends the Louisiana Massage Therapy Act in several ways. Some of the more important changes are:
Until now, the Massage Therapy Act has required that licensees complete a minimum of 500 hours of massage education in particular areas of study listed in the statute. H.B. 923 maintains the education requirement at 500 hours, but does not designate specific required areas of study. Instead, the bill states that the Board will issue rules addressing the required course of study. We will update members when the Board issues rules concerning course of study or other educational requirements.
Scope of Practice
H.B. 923 adds reflexology and Swedish massage to the definition of “practice of massage therapy.” Therefore, all reflexology and Swedish massage practitioners will be required to obtain a state massage therapy license under the new law. In an effort to curb illegal activity, the bill also provides that a massage license is required for anyone who advertises as a massage therapist or massage establishment, including those advertising reflexology or Swedish massage services.
Massage licenses will now be issued in the form of Licensed Massage Therapist Identification Cards (LMT-ID Cards). The bill states that each person engaging in the practice of massage therapy at a massage establishment must display his or her LMT-ID Card publicly and in plain view. A licensed massage therapist who works outside of a massage establishment must keep his or her LMT-ID Card in his or her possession, and must present it to a client or Board representative upon request.
H.B. 923 includes a new definition of “Professional Massage Association.” ABMP does not fall under the definition because it does not have state chapters and is not structured as a tax exempt 501(c)(6) business entity. It appears that the definition was specifically aimed at excluding ABMP. For the time being, the provision only affects ABMP’s ability to nominate candidates for Board membership. However, we cannot know how the provision will be applied in the future. There is no legitimate reason for the legislature to lessen the voice of a particular membership association. We are hopeful that the definition will be re-drafted when the law is next reviewed; however, if an ABMP member is interested in serving on the LA Board of Massage Therapy, we will be happy to provide a letter of support.