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North Dakota's New Massage Rules Effective April 1


New rules issued by the North Dakota Board of Massage Therapy (Board) will go into effect April 1. The rules impact initial license applications, student compensation, and etiquette for new clients. No need to be caught off guard come April; we’ve summarized the rules for you below.

Medical and Behavioral Health Examination (page 178)
As part of the application process, the new rules require a behavioral health assessment, or a behavioral and physical health assessment if the Board reasonably thinks the applicant has a behavioral or physical health condition that may endanger a client’s well-being.

An applicant must pay for the cost of the health assessment and can choose the licensed provider they wish to perform the assessment.

Direct Supervision of Students (page 182)
The new rules clarify that students participating in an internship, externship, or field experience cannot be paid for providing services. Students can accept tips, but only if given directly from the client; students cannot receive any other form of compensation. Establishments may continue to charge their usual service fees for services provided by students.

Note: Massage therapy students must have at least 150 hours of instruction before practicing on the public.

Sanitation, Location, and Conditions (page 183)
The new rules provide additional measures that massage therapists must take for new clients. Massage therapists must introduce themselves, receive written informed consent, and explain what to anticipate during a massage session. Draping must be explained, specifically how client draping is performed and rearranged during the massage when clients change positions.