Massage Therapy

Massage therapy means the manipulation of soft tissue by hand or through a mechanical or electrical apparatus for the purpose of body massage. The term includes effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (percussion), compression, vibration, friction, nerve strokes, and Swedish gymnastics. Massage therapy may include the use of oil, lubricant, salt glows, heat lamps, hot and cold packs, or tub, shower, jacuzzi, sauna, steam or cabinet baths. Massage therapy is a health care service when the massage is for therapeutic purposes, and a licensed massage therapist may receive referrals from a physician to administer massage therapy.


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News and Updates

TDLR Health Monitor - Q1, 2018

TDLR publishes the TDLR Health Monitor, a quarterly newsletter with news and information about the health and medical-related programs under the TDLR umbrella. This issue was published on February 16, 2018 and you can read it online.

Proposed Repeal of Duplicate Massage Therapy Administrative Rules

The Texas Legislature enacted Senate Bill 202 (S.B. 202), 84th Legislature, Regular Session (2015), which transferred regulation of the Massage Therapy program from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). To complete the implementation of S.B. 202, TDLR transferred the previous Massage Therapy program rules from Title 25, Chapter 140, Subchapter H to Title 16, Chapter 147. TDLR is now proposing the repeal of the transferred rules located at Chapter 147, §§147.1 - 147.55. The rules proposed for repeal are obsolete.

On August 18, 2017, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission) adopted its own set of rules for the Massage Therapy program located at 16 TAC, Chapter 117. The Commission’s rules were effective November 1, 2017, (42 TexReg 4991).

This proposed repeal does NOT affect the current Massage Therapy program rules which were adopted by the Commission on August 18, 2017, located at Title 16, Chapter 117.

View the repeal proposal

TDLR will accept comments on the proposal until March 5, 2018. Comments may be submitted by email to erule.comments@tdlr.texas.gov.

Proposed Administrative Rules

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation proposes amendments to existing rules for the Massage Therapy program (16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 117, Subchapter A, §117.2; Subchapter C, §117.20; Subchapter E, §117.40; Subchapter F, §§117.50, 117.60, 117.62; Subchapter G, §117.80 and §117.82; Subchapter J, §117.111; and proposes new rules at 16 TAC, Subchapter B §§117.10 - 117.14). The proposed rules implement legislative changes from the 85th Legislature, Regular Session (2017).

The proposed rules are published in the January 12, 2018, issue of the Texas Register (43 TexReg 151). The Department will accept comments on the proposal until February 12, 2018.

The Department encourages anyone interested in the Massage Therapy program to review the rule proposal online. Comments may be submitted by email to erule.comments@tdlr.texas.gov.

TDLR Health Monitor - Q4, 2017

TDLR publishes the TDLR Health Monitor, a quarterly newsletter with news and information about the health and medical-related programs under the TDLR umbrella. The first issue was published on November 2, 2017 and you can read it online.

Justification for Adoption of Administrative Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted new rules regarding the Massage Therapy program (16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 117, Subchapter A, §117.1 and §117.2; Subchapter C, §§117.20 - 117.24; Subchapter D, §§117.30 - 117.34; Subchapter E, §117.40 and §117.41; Subchapter F, §§117.50 - 117.68; Subchapter G, §117.80 - 117.85; Subchapter H, §§117.90 - 117.93; Subchapter I, §117.100; Subchapter J, §§117.110 - 117.112).

The adoption justification may be viewed on TDLR’s web site and the adopted rule chapter will be made available upon its effective date of November 1, 2017.

Vacancies on Massage Therapy Advisory Board

TDLR announces two vacancies on the Massage Therapy Advisory Board (Board) established by Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 455. The purpose of the Board is to provide advice and recommendations to the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission) and TDLR on technical matters relevant to the administration of this chapter. This announcement is for the positions listed below:

  1. One member who is a peace officer with expertise in the enforcement of Chapter 20A, Penal Code, and Subchapter A, Chapter 43, Penal Code
  2. One member of the public

The Board is composed of the following nine members appointed by the presiding officer of the Commission, with the Commission's approval:

  1. Two members who are licensed massage therapists
  2. Two members who represent licensed massage schools
  3. Two members who represent licensed massage establishments
  4. One member who is a peace officer with expertise in the enforcement of Chapter 20A, Penal Code, and Subchapter A, Chapter 43, Penal Code
  5. Two members of the public

Members of the Board are appointed for staggered six-year terms. The terms of three members expire September 1 of each odd-numbered year. Serving on the Board is not a paid position and there is no compensation for serving on the Board.

Interested persons should submit an application online. Applicants can also request an application from TDLR by telephone at (800) 803-9202 or email at advisory.boards@tdlr.texas.gov.


Advisory Board Meetings

February 26, 2018 Meeting

The Massage Therapy Advisory Board is scheduled to meet Monday, February 26, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. in the 1st Floor Public Meeting Room of TDLR's North Campus, located at 1106 Clayton Lane, Suite 125E, in Austin. The agenda and the staff reports are online. The meeting will be broadcast on TDLR's YouTube channel.

Previous Meeting - December 7, 2017

The Massage Therapy Advisory Board is met Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. in the 1st Floor Public Meeting Room of TDLR's North Campus, located at 1106 Clayton Lane, Suite 125E, in Austin. The agenda and staff reports (PDF) are available online. The meeting was archived and is available on TDLR's YouTube channel.


Transition from DSHS to TDLR

1. When did the transfer happen?

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) assumed all activities relating to the Massage Therapy program including licenses and renewals, customer service and enforcement on November 1, 2017.

2. Now that the transfer is complete, will I need to get a new license issued by TDLR?

No. The license you have now, issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), remains valid until its expiration date. When you renew, you will receive a TDLR license.

3. Have the rules changed?

Yes, TDLR adopted rules for all of the transferred programs. Most of the newly adopted rules are very similar, but some changes have been made. The TDLR health profession rules became effective on November 1, 2017.

4. What is going to happen with open complaints and cases?

If you filed a complaint with DSHS or had a complaint filed against your license and it was not resolved by the transfer date, TDLR assumed responsibility for the case. You should have already received notification by mail that your complaint was transferred to TDLR.

5. How do I stay informed about changes impacting me?

You have several options to stay connected:

  • Email updates - Sign up for email updates to receive notices about rules, the law, fees, examination requirements, meetings and more. Email updates are the best way for you to stay informed.
  • Meetings - TDLR’s advisory board and Commission meetings are available to watch online live or later at your convenience.
  • Facebook and Twitter - TDLR has a Facebook page and Twitter account dedicated to TDLR Health Professions.

6. Why was my license expiration date extended? Will I have the same expiration date in the future?

To ease the transition, DSHS extended the expiration date by two months for licenses previously set to expire in September, and October, and November 2017. For example, if your original expiration date was September 30, your new expiration date is November 30. If your license was extended, you will continue to renew your license in the new expiration month in the future. Licenses in counties affected by Hurricane Harvey were also extended by DSHS.

7. Will I have to renew on a different schedule?

You will renew on the same schedule unless your license expired in August, September or October 2016. Licenses expiring in those months were extended for two months to ease the transition from DSHS to TDLR. In addition, licenses in counties affected by Hurricane Harvey were also extended by DSHS. If your license was extended, you will now renew in your new expiration month for future renewals. Your license expiration date will not return to your original expiration month.

8. Why were licensing programs transferred from DSHS to TDLR?

The transfer is the result of a change to Texas law. In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 202, which authorized the transfer of thirteen licensing programs from the DSHS to TDLR.