Massage Therapy

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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

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; and
(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; and
(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 Board Meetings

December 7, 2017 Meeting

The Massage Therapy Advisory Board met December 7 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.