Tennessee Regulatory Update

ABMP sent a legislative update via email on April 29, 2024, to school owners stating that Tennessee massage therapy education requirements had increased. That notification was factually accurate, but incomplete. We want to share an update to all Tennessee members to explain how that change—from 500 hours to 650 hours—came about and give some overdue credit to those who made it happen. ABMP was very supportive of the proposal, but we were not responsible for its success. That credit is owed to the Tennessee Massage Therapy Association (TMTA) and a group of committed educators, led by TMTA President Maj-Lis Nash of the Mind Body Institute in Madison. 

As stated previously in our support letter, due to a change at the federal level, if the Tennessee education requirement had remained at 500 hours, many students would have lost their ability to receive Pell grants, jeopardizing the opportunity to attend massage school. 

The Tennessee Massage Board previously had been in discussion for a few years with other states, ABMP, and other associations in the massage profession regarding increasing the hours to meet the Entry-Level Analysis Project (ELAP) standards. With the new federal regulations due to take effect July 1, 2024, the need to consider a change was more urgent. 

Maj-Lis Nash made a call to a massage advocate, Representative Darren Jernigan, who took up the cause and sponsored a bill to help the massage profession in Tennessee. With several months of hard work and long hours, they were able to also have Senator Ferrell Haile co-sponsor the bill. TMTA volunteers and members were at the heart of this effort, working for months to make it happen. Special work was done on the ground daily by Maj-Lis and Daryl Nash, along with Lori Schrader, until the bill was passed. While Maj-Lis led the effort, she wanted everyone to know it would not have happened without the support of TMTA and its members.  

Without the leadership demonstrated by TMTA, this change could not have happened. Our thanks again to those who committed their time and energy to achieve this outcome.


Les Sweeney
Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals