Massage Therapy Licensing Program About the Profession - Scope of Practice

Definitions and Description of Practice

"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.

"Massage school" is an entity that (a) teaches at a minimum the course of instruction required for licensure as a massage therapist; and (b) has at least two instructors; and is licensed by DSHS.

"Massage therapy instructor" is a licensed massage therapist who provides to one or more students instruction approved by the department in massage therapy.

"Massage therapy educational program" means the supervised 500 hour course of instruction required for licensure provided by a massage school which is licensed by DSHS.

"Massage establishment" means a place of business that advertises massage therapy or offers massage therapy as a service and requires an establishment license unless the establishment holds a license, permit, certificate, or other credential issued in Texas under another law and offers or performs massage therapy under the scope of that credential. Licensed massage therapists who practice as solo practitioners are not required to hold a license as a massage establishment.  A sexually oriented business may not be licensed under the Massage Therapy Act or operate as a massage establishment under the Act.

Last updated August 11, 2010