February 18, 2022, Update: The online public hearing has been moved from March 17, 2022, to an in-person hearing on March 31, 2022. Those wishing to attend the live hearing can report to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency at 10:00 a.m. EST at the following address:
402 West Washington Street
On January 5, 2022, pursuant to the Indiana Massage Practice Act that passed in 2017, the Indiana State Board of Massage Therapy (the Board) proposed new rules as a necessary step to bring the licensure protocols into effect. These proposed rules would primarily change the term “certificate holder” to “license holder,” and outline continuing education requirements for renewal once licensure is the law of the land, among other modifications summarized below.
These rules must be adopted to bring the portions of the massage practice act regarding licensure and renewal requirements into effect—these portions of the act will not go into effect until 183 days after the rules are final. Indiana is nearing the end of certification and moving toward licensure with the passage of these rules. ABMP is in favor of Indiana moving forward with a licensing statute that was passed in 2017.
Section 2: General requirements
The proposed amendments to Section 2 change any reference to “certificate” or “certification” to “license” and “licensure.” This will align the rules with the conditions of HB 1289, replacing voluntary certification in Indiana with mandatory licensure.
Section 3: Client assessment and consent
The proposed rules in this section suggest that electronic consent may be obtained from a client—this expands consent methods beyond oral and/or written. This section also specifies that professionals cannot perform massage in the mouth or ears unless:
- The license holder has received training in techniques related to therapeutic massage of the interior of the mouth or ears, and
- The license holder has received written or electronic consent for the treatment from the client.
Section 4: Confidentiality of client information
The proposed rules increase the length of time massage therapists are required to maintain client files from four years to six years.
Section 5: Boundaries; ethical conduct; sexual misconduct
Section 5 proposes the following additions to the list of what a license holder cannot do:
- Engage in sexual activity at any on-site location
- Permit another person to engage in sexual activity with a client at any on-site location
- Enter a client’s bodily orifices with any device or tool except for therapy performed in the mouth or ears
Section 9: On-site massage therapy
The proposed rules add a definition for on-site massage therapy:
“On-site massage therapy means the provision of massage therapy services at a place other than the licensee’s usual place of practice, or the place of practice in which the licensee is employed, but instead at a site mutually agreed upon by the massage therapist and the client.”
Continuing education requirements
The proposed rules add a new section that would introduce continuing education (CE) requirements to massage therapists, as required by 25-21.8-6-2§. License holders would be required to obtain a minimum of 24 hours of CE within the four-year renewal period—hours cannot be carried over from one renewal period to another. CE courses must be at least one hour long and can be formally organized courses, workshops, seminars, symposia, or home study programs, such as distance learning or webinars. Audits to verify CE compliance will be conducted.
The number of continuing education hours a license holder will be required to complete will depend on the length of time a license is valid. If a license is valid for:
- 12 months or less, no CE is required
- 13 to 24 months, 12 CE hours are required
- 25 months to 36 months, 18 CE hours are required
- 37 months to 48 months, 24 CE hours are required
Continuing education subject matter should be educational and relate to the theory or clinical application of massage therapy and bodywork to better a practitioner’s performance and to enhance public safety. Two hours must be in ethics. View a full list of approved continuing education topics here—just follow the link and scroll all the way down to the section titled “Continuing education activities” defined.
To voice your comments on or to learn more about the proposed rules, the Board invites you to attend a public hearing on March 17, 2022, at 8:00 a.m. EST via Webex. You can also participate via phone at 1-240-454-0887 using access code 172-253-3540. You can also email TobSnell@pla.in.gov.