How do I find the forms necessary to apply for a license to operate a massage therapy establishment?
You will be on the home page for the Massachusetts Board of Massage Therapy ("the Board"). Select "Applications and Forms". To apply, print and complete the applicable forms, have the application notarized and then mail them to: Board of Registration of Massage Therapy; 239 Causeway Street; Boston MA 02114. There is a $50 fee for establishments of solo practitioners and $150 fee for establishments with multiple massage therapists. The annual license renewal will cost $50 and $150, respectively. Remember to include all of the required information, fees and have your application notarized or it will not be processed.
What are the requirements for a license to operate a massage therapy establishment?
The requirements for licensure as a massage therapist establishment reflect the regulations. Accordingly, applicants not eligible for "grandfathering" must: (a) complete an application which includes information pertaining to ownership, type of establishment, location, contact information, names and license information of massage therapists who will work in the establishment; previous history of local board of health infractions, if any, and other applicable information; (b) for multiple massage therapy establishments, a compliance plan; (c) for multiple massage therapist establishments, evidence of workers compensation insurance, if applicable; and (d) a floor plan of the establishment. Massage therapy establishments, not otherwise grandfathered, must arrange for the inspection by the Board of the location seeking licensure. The regulations specify certain types of equipment (i.e. clean linens, disinfectant, etc.) and certain physical specifications (i.e. minimum of 60 square feet per massage room, maximum 50 feet to the nearest sink, etc.) Please note that the Board has the ability to grant a variance to any provision of the regulations if the regulations would create a manifest injustice.
Is there a grandfathering provision?
Yes. Any massage therapy establishment licensed by a municipality within the two years prior to the initial enactment of the regulations (i.e. October 2006) shall be licensed as a massage therapy establishment without having to meet certain physical specifications (i.e. grandfathered establishments do not have to comply with square footage and distance to sink requirements) and initial inspection. An applicant seeking licensure under the grandfather provision must: complete a board approved application, demonstrate municipal licensure of the establishment within two years of the initial enactment of this regulation, submit a floor plan and pay the required license fee. Licenses granted under this section shall not be transferable without appearing before the Board, which, at its reasonable discretion, shall determine whether the massage therapy establishment may still be exempted from the provisions listed above.
Are there exceptions to the requirement to obtain a massage therapy establishment license?
Yes. The proposed regulations provide that a Massage Therapy Establishment license is not required for the following: (1) any healthcare facility licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; (2) locations at which Massage Therapy services are rendered by a massage therapist only on an Occasional (eight hours or less in one week) or Outcall basis; (3) Board approved continuing education programs; (4)locations at which Chair Massage is exclusively done; and (5) locations at which massage therapy is offered for not more than twenty-four (24) hours in a one week period every six (6) months at a public or charitable event with a primary purpose unrelated to massage. Note that the Board reserves the right to inspect an establishment without notice during hours of operation - as it does with many other licensed professionals like optometrists, physical therapists and others.
Do the regulations prohibit the delivery of massage therapy at certain locations?
Yes. The regulations clearly state that massage therapy shall not be provided in: (a) adult entertainment venues; (b) bars or nightclubs; and (c) shall not be delivered on the streets or sidewalks on a regular (i.e. more than 8 hours a week) basis. These prohibitions were instituted to protect the general public and massage therapy practitioners.
Do I have an opportunity to offer my thoughts about these proposed regulations?
Yes. The Board shall be conducting public hearings on October 24, 2008 (10AM) at the Springfield State Office Building, 436 Dwight Street, Springfield, MA and on October 31, 2008 at 10AM in Boston at 239 Causeway Street, 2nd Floor. Although the Massachusetts chapter of the AMTA has participated in the development of these regulations, the process of developing regulations is about "give and take". Accordingly, you may have concerns that you, individually, may wish to express to the Board. Please note that the public hearing is just that - a hearing. The Board will not engage in conversation or discussion about the regulations.
How do I contact the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Massage Therapy if I have questions?
The Executive Director of the Board is R. Ann Constable, Esq.. You can reach the Board by calling (617) 727-1747 or by the e-mail address listed on the Board's website. Click here for the site.
How do I find the forms necessary to apply for a license to practice massage therapy?
You will be on the home page for the Massachusetts Board of Massage Therapy (“the Board”). Select “Applications and Forms”. To apply, print and complete the applicable forms, have the application notarized and then mail them to: Board of Registration of Massage Therapy239 Causeway Street Boston MA 02114 There is a $225 fee for the initial application/licensure. The annual license renewal will cost $150. Remember to include all of the required information, fees and have your application notarized or it will not be processed.
What are the requirements for a license to practice massage therapy?
The requirements for licensure as a massage therapist reflect the law. Accordingly, applicants must: (a) complete an application; (b) possess a high school diploma or its equivalent and be at least 18 years of age; (c) provide the Board with two letters of professional reference, of which: one letter must be from an employer in the massage therapy or medical field, massage therapy educator, massage therapist, or health care provider who should address the applicant’s competency and integrity. The other reference letter may be from any, unrelated individual who should attest to your business or professional integrity; (d) be of good moral character; (e) have successfully completed a Board-approved course of study of 500 classroom hours; (f) have not been convicted, in any jurisdiction, of a sexually-related crime the 10 years immediately prior to the date of application; (g) provide proof of a professional liability insurance policy of at least $2,000,000 per occurrence and at least $3,000,000 aggregate; and (h) pay the non-refundable fee as established by the Secretary of Administration and Finance pursuant to M.G.L. c. 7, §3B. The fee is $225 for the initial application and license.
Should my local board of health still be issuing a license?
No. The legislation mandating the statewide licensure of massage therapists gave sole authority to license massage therapists to the Commonwealth. Local boards of health should not be continuing to issue licenses for the practice of massage therapy anymore. If your local board of health continues to try and license you as a massage therapist, print out the letter on the AMTA, Mass. chapter website from the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure to all Boards of Health and provide a copy to your Board of Health.This letter specifically states that local Boards of Health should not continue licensing massage therapists.
What about the licensing of schools?
The Board is currently in the process of developing regulations for massage therapy schools. It is anticipated that the Board will promulgate regulations governing these entities by the end of 2008.If you want to review the laws and regulations governing massage therapists, please go to www.mass.gov/dpl/boards/mt. Once on that page, select “Laws and Regulations”.
How do I contact the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Massage Therapy if I have questions?
The Executive Director of the Board is R. Ann Constable, Esq.. You can reach the Board by calling (617) 727-1747 or by the e-mail address listed on the Board’s website.
What are the new amendments to the regulations for massage therapists in MA?
269 CMR 1.00-6.00 (Massage Therapy Regulations)
Thank you to our lobbyists, Mark Molloy and Kim Sullivan for putting these together.
Did the regulations governing massage therapists change?
Yes. The Massachusetts Board of Registration for Massage Therapy (“Board”) had been in the process of reviewing its regulations when Governor Charlie Baker passed Executive Order 562, requiring all state agencies and boards to review and streamline their regulations. The Board discussed, developed, and posted draft regulations over the course of the past year.
Why did the regulations need to be changed?
In addition to making technical (i.e. removing outdated grandfathering language) and statutorily required changes (i.e. updates to advertising language; license renewal), the Board had long recognized that certain individuals or groups were evading prosecution and discipline under the old regulations. In particular, certain individuals were deliberately misusing the “outcall” and “regular” massage services exemptions to avoid registration as an establishment or conduct illicit activities.
What are the key changes to the regulations governing massage therapists?
There are four key changes to be aware of: (a) elimination of certain establishment exemptions (i.e. “outcall / regular”); (b) broader application of the existing record keeping requirements given the previous point; (c) less specificity in how the 650 hours of education are broken down for initial licensure; and (d) local permit requirements will not hold up the issuance of an establishment license. As mentioned, the other changes are purely technical or required by law.
What does the elimination of the establishment exemption mean?
As a massage therapist, you will either be required to have a single massage therapist establishment license or be part of a multiple massage therapist establishment license. There is no longer an exemption from getting an establishment license based on providing less than 8 hours of massage at a location. You must either have a single massage therapist establishment license or be covered by a multiple massage therapist establishment license.
How do I know which establishment license I should get?
While each case depends on the facts surrounding your work arrangement, a couple simple guidelines may help. If you are a solo practitioner, operating your own business at your own location – whether out of your home or not -- get a solo establishment license. If you work for somebody else, who is also a massage therapist, make sure he/she has a multiple massage therapist establishment license. When in doubt as to which establishment license to obtain, call the Board at (617) 727-3084 or e-mail at Joann.Termine@state.ma.us.
Do any exemptions to the establishment license still exist?
Yes. The exemptions for health care facilities licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, continuing education or student clinics run by massage therapy schools, locations at which chair massage is exclusively done and locations where massage therapy is provided at a public or charitable event with a primary purpose unrelated to massage still exist.
Are outcall / home / corporate office visits still permitted?
Yes, they are all still allowed. The new regulations allow out of office massage therapy. While an individual practitioner who provides massage services in only these locations will have to obtain an establishment license, he or she can still provide out-of-office massage therapy. If you are a massage therapist who only provides a out-of-office massage services, you will note that the updated establishment license application specifically addresses this scenario so that you will not be required to comply with the physical requirements of an actual location where massage therapy services are provided. (i.e. You do not have to demonstrate you have sinks, bathrooms, an amount of square footage, etc. that are often required for establishments providing massage therapy on site.).
Does a massage therapy establishment have to maintain required records on premises for active clients?
Yes. A massage therapy establishment must maintain required records on the premises for each active client. As outlined in 269 CMR 6.06, a massage establishment must regularly back-up electronic records. Otherwise, required records shall be maintained in a manner that protects them from foreseeable damage or destruction. While each massage therapist, in accordance with 269 CMR 5.03, must determine what is in these records, no documentation is required for general relaxation, chair massage or massage provided at a charitable or sports event.
When did the new regulations take effect?
The new regulations took effect on January 13, 2017. The Board has repeatedly stated that they recognize the process may take some time. To that end, if you do not already have a solo establishment license or are not covered under a multiple massage therapist establishment license, do not put off getting your establishment license. If you have questions about the establishment licensure process, contact the Board at (617) 727-3084 or e-mail Joann.Termine@state.ma.us.