State Massage Board enacts amendments to the massage regulations

Published: January 25, 2017

Please see the FAQ on the State Board website:

Additional Frequently Asked Questions

269 CMR 1.00-6.00 (Massage Therapy Regulations)

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In addition to making technical (i.e. removing outdated grandfathering language) and statutorily required changes (i.e. updates to advertising language; license renewal), the Board had long recognized that certain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

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.

Where can I view a copy of the new regulations?

You can view a copy of the new state regulations at

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