Definitions of Massage and
as defined by each state board.
Massage therapists work to alleviate pain, relieve stress, and improve the
health and well being of their clients by the mobilization of the soft tissue
including skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue.
Massage therapy is defined as the manual manipulation or mobilization to affect
normalization of the soft tissue of the human body. Massage therapists may
include adjunctive therapies such as hydrotherapy, mild abrasives, heliotherapy,
or topical preparations not classified as prescription drugs, mechanical devices
and tools that mimic or enhance manual actions, and instructed self care.
Massage therapy may be provided in response to a physicians prescription or in
conjunction with other therapeutic modalities.
Alabama Board of Massage Therapy
660 Adams Ave., Suite 301
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Arkansas State Board of Massage Therapy
Hot Springs, Arkansas 71903-0739
Phone: (501) 623-0444
Department of Public Health,
Massage Therapy Licensure, 410 Capitol Avenue, MS# 12APP, PO Box 340308,
Hartford, CT 06134-0308
Professions and Occupations
CHAPTER 53. MASSAGE AND BODYWORK
Subchapter I. Board of Massage and Bodywork
Massage and bodywork therapist" shall
mean a person who represents himself or herself to the public by any title or
description of services incorporating the words "bodywork,"
"massage," "massage therapist," "massage therapy,"
"massage practitioner," "massagist," "masseur,"
"masseuse," or who engages in the practice of massage and bodywork for
a fee, monetary or otherwise.
"Massage technician" shall mean a
person, who is certified with the Board to perform certain functions within the
practice of massage therapy, and who is authorized by the Board to use any title
or description of services incorporating the words "bodywork,"
"massage," "massage practitioner," "massagist,"
"masseur," "masseuse," or certified massage technician"
but shall be prohibited from using the words "therapist" or
Practice of massage and bodywork" shall
mean a system of structured touch applied to the superficial or deep tissue,
muscle, or connective tissue, by applying pressure with manual means. Such
application may include, but is not limited to, friction, gliding, rocking,
tapping, kneading, or nonspecific stretching, whether or not aided by massage
oils or the application of hot and cold treatments. The practice of massage and
bodywork is designed to promote general relaxation, enhance circulation, improve
joint mobilization and/or relieve stress and muscle tension, and to promote a
general sense of well-being.
The practice of massage and bodywork excludes
actions by any person, who is certified or licensed in this State by any other
law, and who is engaged in the profession or occupation for which he or she is
certified or licensed, and actions by any person engaged in an occupation which
does not require a certificate or certification, including, but not limited to,
physical education teachers, athletic coaches, health or recreation directors,
instructors at health clubs or spas, martial arts, water safety and dance
instructors, or coaches and practitioners of techniques, who are acting within
the scope of activity for which they are trained, or students of massage who are
practicing within the scope of their course of study.
"Massage" means the manipulation of the soft
tissues of the human body with the hand, foot, arm, or elbow, whether or not
such manipulation is aided by hydrotherapy, including colonic irrigation, or
thermal therapy; any electrical or mechanical device; or the application to the
human body of a chemical or herbal preparation.
(4) "Massage therapist" means a person licensed
as required by this act, who administers massage for compensation.
1 "Massage", "massage therapy", and
"Hawaiian massage" commonly known as lomilomi, means any method of
treatment of the superficial soft parts of the body, consisting of rubbing,
stroking, tapotement, pressing, shaking, or kneading with the hands, feet,
elbow, or arms, and whether or not aided by any mechanical or electrical
apparatus, appliances, or supplementary aids such as rubbing alcohol, liniments,
antiseptics, oils, powder, creams, lotions, ointments, or other similar
preparations commonly used in this practice. Any mechanical or electrical
apparatus used as described in this chapter shall be approved by the United
States Food and Drug Administration.
"Massage therapy" means
the manipulation of soft tissue for the purpose of maintaining good health and
establishing and maintaining good physical condition. The term shall include
effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (percussion),
compression, vibration, friction, (active/passive range of motion), Shiatsu, and
acupressure, either by hand, forearm, elbow, foot, or with mechanical appliances
for the purpose of body massage. Massage therapy may include the use of
lubricants such as salts, powders, liquids, creams, (with the exception of
prescriptive or medicinal creams), heat lamps, whirlpool, hot and cold pack,
salt glow, or steam cabinet baths. It shall not include electrotherapy, laser
therapy, microwave, colonic therapy, injection therapy, or manipulation of the
joints. Equivalent terms for massage therapy are massage, therapeutic massage,
massage technology, Shiatsu, body work, or any derivation of those terms. As
used in this Chapter,the terms "therapy" and "therapeutic"
shall not include diagnosis, the treatment of illness or disease, or any service
or procedure for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic, physical
therapy, or podiatry is required by law.
means a person licensed by the Department of Professional and Financial
Regulation, who provides or offers to provide massage therapy for a fee,
monetary or otherwise. Massage therapy means a scientific or skillful
manipulation of soft tissue for therapeutic or remedial purposes, specifically
for improving muscle tone and circulation and promoting health and physical
well-being. The term includes, but is not limited to, manual and mechanical
procedures for the purpose of treating soft tissue only, the use of
supplementary aids such as rubbing alcohol, liniments, oils, antiseptics,
powders, herbal preparations, creams or lotions, procedures such as oil rubs,
salt glows and hot or cold packs or other similar procedures or preparations
commonly used in this practice. This term specifically excludes manipulation of
the spine or articulations and excludes sexual contact as defined in Title 17-A,
section 251, subsection 1, paragraph D.
"Massage therapy" means a scientific or skillful manipulation of soft
tissue for therapeutic or remedial purposes, specifically for improving muscle
tone and circulation and promoting health and physical well-being. The term
includes, but is not limited to, manual and mechanical procedures for the
purpose of treating soft tissue only, the use of supplementary aids such as
rubbing alcohol, liniments, oils, antiseptics, powders, herbal preparations,
creams or lotions, procedures such as oil rubs, salt glows and hot or cold packs
or other similar procedures or preparations commonly used in this practice. This
term specifically excludes manipulation of the spine or articulations and
excludes sexual contact as defined in Title 17-A, section 251, subsection 1,
paragraph D. [1991, c. 548, Pt. E (amd).]
"Massage therapy", a health care profession which
involves the treatment of the body's tonus system through the scientific or
skillful touching, rubbing, pressing or other movements of the soft tissues of
the body with the hands, forearms, elbows, or feet, or with the aid of
mechanical apparatus, for relaxation, therapeutic, remedial or health
maintenance purposes to enhance the mental and physical well-being of the
client, but does not include the prescription of medication, spinal or joint
manipulation, the diagnosis of illness or disease, or any service or procedure
for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, or
podiatry is required by law, or to those occupations defined in chapter 329,
Massage therapy shall mean the physical, mechanical, or
electrical manipulation of soft tissue for the therapeutic purposes of enhancing muscle relaxation, reducing stress,
improving circulation, or instilling a greater sense of well-being and may
include the use of oil, salt glows, heat lamps, and hydrotherapy. Massage
therapy shall not include diagnosis or treatment or use of
procedures for which a license to practice medicine or surgery, chiropractic, or
podiatry is required nor the use of microwave diathermy,
shortwave diathermy, ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation,
electrical stimulation of over
thirty-five volts, neurological hyperstimulation, or spinal and joint
Massage clients and administer other body
conditioning treatments to promote, maintain, or restore health and well-being.
Apply alcohol, lubricants, or other rubbing compounds. Massage body using hands
or vibrating equipment. Related job titles include: massage therapist, bodywork
practitioner, bodyworker, muscle therapist, massotherapist, or somatic therapist
Definition of Practice of Massage Therapy - Education Law,
The practice of the profession of massage therapy is
defined as engaging in applying a scientific system of activity to the muscular
structure of the human body by means of stroking, kneading, tapping and
vibrating with the hands or vibrators for the purpose of improving muscle tone
"Massage Therapy" means
the assessment and treatment of soft tissues and their dysfunctions for
therapeutic purposes as defined in the Massage Therapy
Practice Act, NMSA 1978, Section 61-12C-3.E.
(1) The treatment of soft tissues is the repetitive
deformation of soft tissues from more than one anatomical
point by manual or mechanical means to accomplish homeostasis and/or pain relief
in the tissues being deformed;
(a) "soft tissue" includes skin, adipose,
muscle and myofascial tissues;
(b) "manual" means by use of hands or
(c) "mechanical" means any tool or device
that mimics or enhances the actions possible by the
(d) "deformation" specifically prohibits
the use of high velocity thrust techniques used in joint
(2) The practice of Massage Therapy applies to Shiatsu,
Tui Na, and Rolfing.
(3) The practice of Massage Therapy DOES NOT apply
to the practice of: Craniosacral, Feldenkrais, Polarity
Therapy, Reiki, Foot and Hand Reflexology (without the use of creams, oils, or
mechanical tools), and Trager
) Massage and bodywork therapy. -- Systems of
activity applied to the soft tissues of the human body for therapeutic,
educational, or relaxation purposes. The application may include:
a. Pressure, friction, stroking, rocking, kneading, percussion, or passive or
active stretching within the normal anatomical range of movement.
b. Complementary methods, including the external application of water, heat,
cold, lubricants, and other topical preparations.
c. The use of mechanical devices that mimic or enhance actions that may possibly
be done by the hands.
(4) Massage and bodywork therapist. -- A person licensed under this
(5) Practice of massage and bodywork therapy. -- The application of
massage and bodywork therapy to any person for a fee or other consideration.
"Practice of massage and bodywork therapy" does not include the
diagnosis of illness or disease, medical procedures, chiropractic adjustive
procedures, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, prescription of medicines, or
the use of modalities for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic,
nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, or podiatry is
required by law.
The General Assembly recognizes that the practice of
massage/bodywork is potentially harmful to the public in that massage/bodywork
therapists must have a knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology, and physiology and an
understanding of the relationship between the structure and the function of the
tissues being treated and the total function of the body. Massage/bodywork is
therapeutic, and regulations are necessary to protect the public from
unqualified practitioners. It is, therefore, necessary in the interest of public
health, safety, and welfare to regulate the practice of massage/bodywork in this
State. However, restrictions must be imposed to the extent necessary to protect
the public from significant and discernible danger to health and yet not in such
a manner which will unreasonably affect the competitive market. Further,
consumer protection for both health and economic matters must be afforded the
public through legal remedies provided for in this chapter.
Massage/bodywork therapy" means the application of a
system of structured touch of the superficial tissues of the human body with the
hand, foot, arm, or elbow whether or not the structured touch is aided by
hydrotherapy, thermal therapy, a massage device, human hands, or the application
to the human body of an herbal preparation.
"Massage therapy" means the manipulation of soft
tissue by hand or through a mechanical or electrical apparatus for the purpose
of body massage and includes effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading),
tapotement (percussion), compression, vibration, friction, nerve strokes, and
Swedish gymnastics. The terms "massage," "therapeutic
massage," "massage technology," myotherapy," "body
massage," "body rub," or any derivation of those terms are
synonyms for "massage therapy." Practices in massage therapy include
the use of oil, salt glows, heat lamps, hot and cold packs, and tub, shower, or
cabinet baths. Massage therapy constitutes a health care service if the massage
therapy is for therapeutic purposes. Massage therapy does not constitute the
practice of chiropractic. The terms therapy and therapeutic when used in the
context of massage therapy practice do not include (1) the diagnosis or
treatment of illness or disease; or (2) a service or procedure for which a
license to practice medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, or podiatry is
required by law.
"Practice of massage therapy"
(a)the examination, assessment, and evaluation of the soft tissue structures
of the body for the purpose of devising a treatment plan to promote
(b) the systematic manual or mechanical manipulation of the soft tissue of the body for the therapeutic purpose of:
(i) promoting the health and well-being of a client;
(ii) enhancing the circulation of the blood and lymph;
(iii) relaxing and lengthening muscles;
(iv) relieving pain;
(v) restoring metabolic balance; and
(vi) achieving homeostasis;
(c) the use of the hands or a mechanical or electrical apparatus in connection
with this Subsection (6);
(d) the use of rehabilitative procedures involving the soft tissue of the body;
(e) range of motion or movements without spinal adjustment as set
(f) oil rubs, heat lamps, salt glows, hot
and cold packs, or tub, shower, steam, and cabinet baths;
(g) manual traction and stretching exercise;
(h) correction of muscular distortion by treatment of the soft tissues of
(i) counseling, education, and other advisory services to reduce the incidence
and severity of physical disability, movement dysfunction, and pain;
(j) similar or related activities and modality techniques; and
(k) the practice described in this Subsection (6) on an animal to the extent
permitted by:(i) Subsection 58-28-8(12);
(ii) the provisions of this chapter; and
(iii) division rule.
(7) "Soft tissue" means the muscles and related connective tissue.
"Massage" and "massage therapy" mean a
health care service involving the external manipulation or pressure of soft
tissue for therapeutic purposes. Massage therapy includes techniques such as
tapping, compressions, friction, Swedish gymnastics or movements, gliding,
kneading, shaking, and fascial or connective tissue stretching, with or without
the aids of superficial heat, cold, water, lubricants, or salts. Massage therapy
does not include diagnosis or attempts to adjust or manipulate any articulations
of the body or spine or mobilization of these articulations by the use of a
thrusting force, nor does it include genital manipulation.
"Animal massage practitioner" means an
individual with a license to practice massage therapy in this state with
additional training in animal therapy.
A massage therapist or bodyworker is a person who engages
in the science and healing art that uses manual actions to palpate and
manipulate the soft tissue of the human body and includes determining whether
massage therapy or bodywork is appropriate or contraindicated, or whether
referral to another health care practitioner is appropriate. Massage therapy or
bodywork does not include making a medical diagnosis or instructing in or
prescribing rehabilitative strengthening or conditioning exercises that are
within the practice of physical therapy. An individual may practice massage
therapy or bodywork without a registration, but may not use certain titles
without obtaining a registration.
Massage therapy" means
the treatment of soft tissues for therapeutic purposes by the application of
massage and bodywork techniques based on the manipulation or application of
pressure to the muscular structure or soft tissues of the human body. The terms
"massage therapy" and "therapeutic massage" do not include
the diagnosis or treatment of illness or disease or any service or procedure for
which a license to practice medicine, nursing, chiropractic therapy, physical
therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, or podiatry is required by law.
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