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House bill 5651, sponsored by Representative Paul Condino will have a second hearing by the House Regulatory Reform Committee on Tuesday, May 13, 2008. The bill would establish state licensing standards for massage therapists and create a board of massage therapy to implement the process. If passed, a state license would pre-empt local regulations, only one license would be needed. It is early in the legislative process.

The bill establishes entry-level criteria for the profession:

  • High school graduate or equivalent
  • Good moral character
  • 18 years old
  • Passage of an exam approved by the board
  • Complete a minimum 500 hour supervised massage therapy program

Grandfathering--For 2 years, existing practitioners would be able to qualify for a state license by meeting one of the following:

  • For at least one year before the effective date of the law, the practitioner has been a member, as a massage therapist, of a national professional association (ABMP qualifies); or
  • Signs an affidavit that he/she practiced massage therapy for at least 10 hours a week for 10 or more years; or
  • Signs an affidavit that he/she has practiced massage therapy for at least 10 hours a week for 3 years and has obtained 300 hours of formal training from an approved school; or
  • Has fulfilled the education requirement (a 500 hour massage therapy program); or
  • Has fulfilled the examination requirement.

The bill exempts practitioners who practice Feldenkrais, Trager, polarity, reflexology, reiki, shiatsu, structural integration; energy workers and movement educators; as long as they don't also practice massage therapy.

We have been trying to advance this bill for a year. It is the same bill (SB 788) introduced last year by Senator Gilda Jacobs. We have compromised in several arenas, but the coalition that helped develop both SB 788 and HB 5651 believes very strongly that the 500-hour entry-level requirement should be obtained in-class and in a supervised environment. Thirty-eight states and DC regulate massage therapy at the state level and all require, at minimum, 500 hours entry-level education.

Please call or email members on the Regulatory Reform Committee to voice your support of this bill:

Representative Barbara Farrah (Chair) phone 517-373-0845; e-mail
Representative Bettie Cook Scott (Vice–Chair) phone 517-373-1776; e-mail
Representative Mark Meadows, phone 517-373-1786; e-mail
Representative Virgil Smith, phone 517-373-0589; e-mail
Representative Rebekah Warren, phone 517-373-2577; e-mail
Representative Lisa Wojno, phone 517-373-2275; e-mail
Representative James Marleau (Minority Vice Chair), phone 517-373-1798; e-mail
Representative David Palsrock, phone 517-373-0825; e-mail
Representative Edward Gaffney, phone 517-373-0154; e-mail
Representative Chris Ward, phone 517-373-1784; e-mail