Senate Bill 219, providing for the state registration of massage therapists, was signed into law by Governor Ritter on June 2, 2008. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2008. However, applications for state registration will not become available until April 1, 2009 at the earliest. There is no action for you to take at this time. ABMP will continue to keep members informed. The law will benefit the massage therapy community in three primary ways:
  • Minimum training requirements and scope of practice are defined.
  • An avenue for consumer complaint is established.
  • Local regulations will be pre-empted, meaning massage therapists would register with the state and will no longer have to become licensed in their city.
For a year after applications for state registration become available, existing practitioners will be able qualify for state registration by meeting one of these three criteria:
  1. The applicant has completed a minimum 300-hour massage therapy program and has a minimum of 5 years professional experience, OR
  2. The applicant has completed a minimum 500 hour massage therapy program, OR
  3. The applicant has passed either the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) or one of the National Certification Exams (NCE) offered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).
Once a massage therapist becomes state registered, no further requirements need to be met. Massage therapists will be required to renew their state registration every 2 years. There are no state mandated continuing education requirements to renew. All applicants will have to submit an application, submit to a background check, and pay a fee that is currently estimated to be $115 for a 2 year registration. Massage therapists will be required to maintain professional liability insurance. ABMP membership includes professional liability insurance and meets this qualification. After the initial year of registration, new candidates for state registration will have to complete a minimum 500 hour massage therapy program AND pass either the MBLEx or one of the NCE. Professions exempt from obtaining state registration, as long as practitioners do not practice or advertise that they practice massage therapy, include: reflexology, movement educators (Feldenkrais, Trager, and Body-Mind Centering), energy work (Reiki, Shiatsu, Asian Bodywork, Polarity), structural integrators (Rolfing and Hellerwork), and the process of Muscle Activation Techniques. View the entire act. Questions can be directed to Jean Robinson at