California Massage Therapy Sunset Review

After being postponed in 2020, the California Massage Therapy Act is up for sunset review this legislative session. A sunset review is a periodic evaluation to examine the state of regulation and assess how well it serves the public. In the California massage therapy sunset review, a legislative committee will evaluate the need, effectiveness, and performance of the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) for the purpose of improvement or discontinuance.
While the committee could focus on tweaking current legislation and making administrative improvements to the voluntary certification via CAMTC, it appears the committee may consider replacing the model. The alternative would be statewide licensure of massage therapists—a standard followed by 44 US states that currently regulate massage therapy. The committee could possibly consider licensure this year or next year. This hearing is strictly about CAMTC, not licensure.

In our view, CAMTC has served a constructive, transitional purpose over the past decade, but it is starting to show some shortcomings. Certification is no longer truly voluntary in some communities, and neither the public nor local law enforcement agencies are currently well-served by voluntary certification.  
Mandatory licensure in California would bring uniform regulation and a clear set of standards for all massage therapists in the state, rather than a portion of practitioners, as is the case with voluntary certification. Mandatory licensure maximizes public protection and substantially enhances clarity and certainty. ABMP is in support of licensure, as it would provide a host of advantages. View our perception of the advantages of licensure here.

ABMP has an extensive history of shaping massage regulation in other states and could help ease the transition to mandated state licensing in California. ABMP is already working with the two legislative committees responsible for massage regulation. Among other issues to be addressed in a massage licensing bill, assuring automatic transfer from existing CAMTC certification to a new California massage therapist license will be top of our priority list.  
Moving from certification to licensure does not mean thousands of individuals not certified by CAMTC will become licensed or that diploma mills will reappear. Much of what is in the Massage Therapy Act and the protections it offers can be part of licensure.  
The Committee on Business and Professions is hosting a meeting Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. PST. Here’s how you can attend the meeting virtually:

Public toll-free number: 877-692-8957
Public access code: 2426237

We also encourage you to use this advocacy email template courtesy of ABMP to voice your opinion on whether you feel CAMTC and voluntary certification should remain in California, whether you think the current practice act should be modified and how, whether you have issues with or praises for CAMTC, and whether you are in support of statewide licensure. Simply fill out the email template with the appropriate information and submit your comments at this link by Monday, March 8, 2021. You will need to register as an individual, but this is a quick process.

If you have questions or concerns, email us at