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

Notice of Intent to Review Rules

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) is reviewing the Massage Therapy program rules located at Title 16, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 117 for re-adoption, revision, or repeal. This rule review is required every four years.

The Notice of Intent to Review was published in the Texas Register on April 29, 2022 (47 TexReg 2572).

The Department will determine whether the reasons for adopting or readopting these rules continue to exist by answering the following questions for each rule:

  • Is it obsolete?
  • Does it reflect current legal and policy considerations?
  • Is it in alignment with the current procedures of the Department?

The Department encourages anyone interested in the Massage Therapy program to review the Notice of Intent to Review online and the current program rules posted on the Department’s website.

Comments may be submitted electronically on the Department’s website at https://ga.tdlr.texas.gov:1443/form/gcerules.

Deadline to submit comments — May 30, 2022.

New Massage Consultation Document Available

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has released a revised Massage Consultation Document (PDF) for use by Massage Therapists in Texas. The new document includes recent rule changes that took effect January 1, 2022.

The Texas Massage Therapy rules specify when a consultation document must be provided and include guidelines to help ensure the protection and safety of the client and massage therapist:

  • The client or massage therapist may end the massage session if they feel uncomfortable for any reason; and
  • The massage therapist must immediately end the massage session if a client initiates any verbal or physical contact that is sexual in nature.

Use the checklist provided in the sample document to ensure that your consultation document meets all current TDLR requirements. Failure to use a consultation document that meets current requirements and in the manner prescribed may result in disciplinary action against you.

For questions, please contact TDLR via webform at https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/help.

Beware Of People Posing As TDLR Inspectors

Inspectors for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation will never request or accept money under any circumstances while calling, visiting or conducting an inspection.

Real TDLR inspectors will:

  • introduce themselves;
  • show their State of Texas employee ID card;
  • provide their contact information upon request; and
  • provide their TDLR business card upon request.

Real TDLR inspectors cannot and will not:

  • accept payment for license fees;
  • request money for violations; or
  • charge for inspections.

If someone posing as a TDLR employee approaches or calls you, please contact TDLR and law enforcement immediately. Impersonating a public servant is a third-degree felony in Texas.

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TDLR Health Monitor – March 2022 Edition

Articles in the March 2022 edition of The Health Monitor includes updates on:

  • Hello From The Executive Director
  • Commissioner Spotlight: Helen Callier
  • TDLR Rule Adoptions in Multiple Programs
  • TDLR Publishes Health Occupations Report
  • New HHSC Human Trafficking Prevention Training Course

Massage Therapy Schools and Distance Education

The new Massage Distance Education Request form (MAS124N) is now available on TDLR’s website.

Massage Therapy Schools wishing to begin or continue offering distance education must submit the request form. Once TDLR receives the form, a new certificate of approval will be issued that shows the school is approved to offer distance education.

Distance learning hours are limited to a maximum amount of 250 hours and are allowed only for theory hours. Topics which can be covered include anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, hydrotherapy, laws and rules, business practices, professional ethics, health, hygiene, first aid, universal precautions, and CPR. Schools can request to offer a portion of the hours, or the maximum amount of 250-hours as distance learning.

A minimum of 250-hours of in-person, hands-on instruction with a licensed massage therapist instructor is required for Swedish massage, massage techniques and all internship hours.

Schools must meet all of the requirements defined in 16 TAC 117.59(m) to offer distance learning. A current certificate of approval must be posted reflecting the approval to offer distance education for schools to be in compliance with 16 TAC 117.50 (k).

For questions, please contact the Education and Examination Division. Please submit the Massage Distance Education Request form via this web form.

Commission Adopts Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to existing rules at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 117, Subchapter A, §117.2, Subchapter F, §§117.50, 117.55, 117.58, 117.59, 117.62, 117.66, 117.67, and 117.68, Subchapter G, §117.82, and Subchapter H, §§117.91 and 117.92, regarding the Massage Therapy program. The adopted rules implement Senate Bill 1130, 87th Legislature, Regular Session (2021), pertaining to distance learning, and House Bill 1540, 87th Legislature, Regular Session (2021), which amended the definition of “sexual contact” in the Massage Therapy statute. The adopted rules also include clarification and clean-up changes and make amendments in response to violence and other misconduct against massage therapists.

The adoption justification was published in the December 24, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 9029). The updated rule chapter will be made available upon its effective date of January 1, 2022.

New Human Trafficking Awareness Signs Required No Later Than January 1, 2022

Beginning January 1, 2022, all cosmetology businesses - including specialty salons, mobile salons, and schools – and all massage establishments and massage schools are required by Texas law to display a sign with information about available services and assistance to victims of human trafficking, including information on how to report suspicious activity to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The sign has information in five languages.

TDLR has created a sign for you to download and use:

Download the human trafficking sign

This requirement was put into place by the 87th Texas Legislature in 2021. Please download the sign and display it in your business. The sign must be placed in a prominent location where it can be seen by the public.

Background

House Bill 3721, which went into effect on September 1, 2021, requires all cosmetology businesses and massage establishments and schools to display a sign concerning services and assistance to victims of human trafficking. The signs, which had already been required, now must also include information on reporting suspicious activity to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The signs must be displayed no later than January 1, 2022.

More information on how to combat human trafficking:

Reminder on Curriculum for All Massage Schools and Students

TDLR reminds all massage schools and students in Texas that curriculum must be offered in accordance with current state laws and rules found in Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 455 and in 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 117. This includes requirements that curriculum be taught by a TDLR-licensed instructor at a TDLR-licensed massage school or a state-approved educational institution.

On May 28, 2021, Senate Bill 1130 was signed into law that allows massage schools to provide specific portions of the required curriculum using distance learning.

Rules are currently being discussed to implement this law change. You are encouraged to sign up for email updates to stay informed.

The current laws and rules can be found under the Law & Administrative Rules tab to the right.

Revised Massage Consultation Document Available

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has released a revised Massage Consultation Document for use by Massage Therapists in Texas.

Texas Massage Therapy rules require that massage therapists provide a consultation document:

  • before the first massage therapy session;
  • if the client’s reason for seeking massage therapy changes and any information in 16 TAC, Section 117.91(a)(1-4) is modified; and
  • before each session in which breast massage will be performed unless written consent is received on a separate document.

Use the checklist provided in the document to ensure that your consultation document meets all current TDLR requirements. Failure to use a consultation document that meets current requirements and/or in the manner prescribed may result in disciplinary action against you.

For questions, please contact TDLR via webform at https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/help.

Updated Guidance for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Individuals

The Texas Department of State Health Services has released the following Updated Guidance for Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Individuals. https://open.texas.gov/

Please note that business owners may choose to require additional safety protocols related to COVID-19 safety.

Harassment of and Violence Toward Massage Therapists

Dear Massage Therapy Licensee,

We share your concern about recent and ongoing harassment of and violence toward massage therapists, including actions against Asian-American and Pacific Islander licensees… [continue reading]

Estimado Licenciatario de Terapia de Masaje,

Compartimos su preocupación ante el reciente acoso continuo y la violencia hacia los masajistas, incluyendo las acciones contra los licenciatarios asiático-americanos e isleños del Pacífico… [seguir leyendo]

เรียน ผู้รับใบอนุญาตการนวดเพื่อการบำบัดรักษา

เราตระหนักถึงความกังวลของท่านเกี่ยวกับการล่วงละเมิดและความรุนแรงที่มีต่อผู้ประกอบอาชีพนวดเพื่อการบำบัดรักษาที่เกิดขึ้นเมื่อไม่นานมานี้และต่อเนื่องไปในอนาคต รวมถึงการปฏิบัติต่อผู้รับใบอนุญาตชาวเอเชีย – อเมริกันและชาวเกาะแปซิฟิก [อ่านต่อ]

마사지 치료사 면허 소지자분들께,

아시아계 미국인 및 태평양 섬 주민 등 마사지 치료사 면허 소지자에 대한 지속적인 괴롭힘 및 폭력이 발생하고 있으며, 이에 대해 저희는 깊은 우려를 표합니다.  [계속 읽기]

亲爱的按摩治疗师执照持有者:

我们与您一样,非常关注最近以及持续发生的针对按摩治疗师的骚扰和暴力事件,包括针对亚裔美国和太平洋岛国执照持有者的行为。 [继续阅读]

Kính gửi Người Được Cấp Phép Trị Liệu Mátxa,

Chúng tôi chia sẻ quan ngại của bạn về tình trạng quấy rối và bạo hành gần đây và đang diễn ra đối với các nhà trị liệu mátxa, bao gồm các hành độn chống lại những người được cấp phép là Người Mỹ Gốc Á và Người Đảo Thái Bình Dương.   [Tiếp tục đọc]

Revised Checklists For Reopening Texas

Below are the revised guidelines created by the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas:

Palms Enrollment Training Video

Effective September 1, 2020, all massage students enrolled in a licensed massage school are required to hold a student permit. PALMS is the portal that was created for massage schools to enroll, report hours and drop students.

These training videos  provide step by step instructions to report student hours, drop / withdraw students and change student contact information.

Notice for All Schools and Educational Programs Licensed by TDLR

As of September 1, 2017, House Bill 1508 requires that all entities providing educational or instructional programs that prepare a student for an occupation or vocation requiring a TDLR license to:

    1. Inform the student or program participant that eligibility for a TDLR license could be affected by the person’s criminal history;
    2. Notify students and participants that TDLR is responsible for having in place guidelines regarding a license applicant's criminal history, and to include information on an applicant's ability to be licensed under those guidelines;
    3. Provide students with information on other state or local restrictions that would affect the student’s eligibility for an occupational license issued by TDLR;
    4. Inform students of the student's right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from TDLR;
    5. Provide all persons who enroll in their program with notice of the requirements as described above, regardless of whether or not the person has been convicted of a criminal offense. 

An educational entity or training program operator who fails to provide this information to a person who is enrolled in their course may be liable for tuition or application fees paid by any student who is denied a TDLR license due to the existence of a criminal conviction.


Advisory Board Meetings

Previous Meeting - October 18, 2021

Thet Massage Therapy Advisory Board met October 18, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. The meeting was archived and is available on TDLR’s YouTube channel. The agenda and staff reports are available online.