Alaska Enacts Massage Regulation

By Jean Robinson
[Government Relations]

Alaska House Bill 328 was signed by Governor Sean Parnell on August 11, 2014. When implemented, the law will require a state license in order to practice massage therapy. There is nothing massage therapists in Alaska need to do at this time.
The governor will appoint a State Board of Massage Therapists that will then draft administrative regulations. ABMP will notify its members in Alaska when action is required.

Important Provisions of the New Massage Law
1. Establish a State Board of Massage Therapy. The governor will appoint a five-member board that will consist of four massage therapists and one public member. The board is responsible for issuing regulations concerning massage licensing and practice, establishing continuing education requirements, and imposing disciplinary sanctions.
2. Licensure Requirements for Current Practitioners. Anyone who applies for a license before July 1, 2017, can qualify for grandfathering by showing they owned, operated, or worked for a massage therapy business and performed the practice of massage therapy before July 1, 2017. Applicants who do not qualify for grandfathering must have completed 500 hours of approved massage education and passed a national board-approved massage exam. All applicants must have current CPR certification.
4. Exemptions. Some practices are exempt from the licensing requirement, including structural integration/Rolfing, energy work, Native American healing, and massage in the athletic departments of state-funded institutions and schools approved by the board. See section 08.61.080 on pages 6–8 of the law ( for a full list of exemptions.
5. Titles and Marketing Materials. Licensed massage therapists are required to use appropriate letters or titles (such as LMT or Licensed Massage Therapist) after their name on all signs, business cards, and other marketing materials.
6. Preemption of Local License Requirements. The new state law preempts local massage licensing laws. This means municipalities will not be able to require local massage licenses, although they can still require general business licenses.

California Certification Bill Passes
The final version of California Assembly Bill 1147 was signed into law September 18. The new law authorizes the continuation of statewide voluntary certification for massage therapists by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC). In addition, it will do the following:
• Reauthorize the CAMTC until January 1, 2017.
• Change the CAMTC board of directors from a majority of board members appointed by the massage profession, to a composition in which the 13-person board could only have 3–5 members from the massage community, depending on which organizations named in the bill actually exercise their right to appoint.
• Extend statewide voluntary certification of massage therapists. Starting January 1, 2015, the qualifications for CMT will change, requiring all new applicants to meet a 500-hour minimum education requirement and pass an entry-level competency exam such as the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx).
• End the massage practitioner tier of certification (a minimum of 250 hours). Applications will no longer be accepted by CAMTC after December 31, 2014. Any active certified massage practitioner (CMP) can still renew every two years to keep the CMP status.
• Allow massage professionals holding an active conditional certified massage practitioner (CCMP) designation to continue to work toward their CMP.
• Authorize CAMTC to approve schools for the state.
• Require CAMTC to submit a report to the legislature by June 1, 2016, that includes a feasibility study of licensure for the massage profession (i.e., possible replacement of CAMTC by a state board or bureau), as well as performance metrics for the CAMTC organization.

Jean Robinson is ABMP’s director of government relations. Contact her at