Education requirements (Chapter 135): At a minimum, the 650 course of study shall include 550 hours of academic courses, including 100 hours in the Anatomy and Physiology of the Body; 45 hours in Pathology; 45 hours in Kinesiology; 300 hours in supervised in classroom Massage Theory and Technique ; and 60 hours in Ethics, Professionalism and Business Practices. Additionally, the 650 hour course of study shall include 100 hours of unpaid and supervised clinical or internship experience…” (emphasis added)
Scope of Practice (Massachusetts Rules and Regulations):
Massage: The systematic treatment of the soft tissues of the body by use of pressure, friction, stroking, percussion, kneading, vibration by manual or mechanical means, range of motion for purposes of demonstrating muscle excursion or muscle flexibility and nonspecific stretching. Massage therapy may include the use ofoil, ice, hot and cold packs, tub, shower, steam, dry heat or cabinet baths, in which the primary intent is to enhance or restore the health and well-being of the client. Massage therapyshall not include diagnoses of illness or disease, the prescribing of drugs or medicines, high-velocity, low
amplitude thrust applied to the joint, electrical stimulation, application of ultrasound, exercise, spinal or other joint manipulations or any services or procedures for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic, occupational therapy, physical therapy or podiatry is required by law. Massage Therapy also shall not include the practice of a person who uses touch, words or directed movement to deepen awareness of the patterns of movement in the body, or the affectation of the human energy system or acupoints or Qimeridians of the human body while engaged within the scope of practice of a profession with established standards and ethics, including, but not limited to, the Feldenkrais Method,Reflexology, The Trager Approach, Ayurvedic Therapies, Rolf Structural Integration, Polarity or Polarity Therapy, Polarity Therapy Bodywork, Asian Bodywork Therapy that does not constitute Massage as defined in M.G.L. c. 135, Acupressure, Jin Shin Do, Qi Gong, Tui Na, Shiatsu, Bodymind Centering and Reiki. For purposes of 269 CMR et seq., the use of the term “Massage” shall also
mean the term “Massage therapy”.
269 CMR 5.00(PDF): CODE OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL
Online Massage Education Laws (updated June 27, 2021):
At meetings on May 24, 2021 and June 7, 2021, the Board voted that massage therapy educational programs in Massachusetts may include distance education in accordance with the following parameters.
1) When seeking the Board’s approval of a massage therapy course of study, the massage
school must identify courses that will include distance education. Further details about the proposed distance education shall be provided if requested by the Board;
2) No more than 50% of the required 650 hours of theory and classroom work may be completed through distance education;
3) The instruction of hands-on technique(s) and clinical hours should not be delivered through distance education;
4) All assessments shall be conducted in person; and
5) Schools shall obtain written acknowledgment from students of the approximate number of hours that will be provided by the school via distance education prior to or at the time of the student enrolling in the program.
Establishment Licensing – Required. 269 CMR 6.00: FACILITY LICENSURE (PDF)
(1) Delivery of Massage Therapy. Massage therapy, including the provision of out of office
massage therapy services, shall only be delivered or offered at any location or portion thereof covered by a valid Massage Therapy Establishment license issued by the Board or otherwise exempted from licensure under 269 CMR 6.03(8).
(2) License Required. Each Massage Therapy Establishment within the Commonwealth shall be licensed by the Board before providing or offering to provide massage therapy and shall annually renew its license using an application provided by the Board, unless there is a change in ownership or location.
Titles: “Massage therapist” or “Massage practitioner”, a person licensed by the board who instructs or administers massage or massage therapy for compensation.