Education Law

Article 155, Massage Therapy

§ 7800. Introduction. | § 7801. Definition of practice of massage therapy. | § 7802. Practice of massage therapy and use of title "masseur", "masseuse" or "massage therapist" or the term "massage" or "massage therapy". | § 7803. State board for massage therapy. | § 7804. Requirements for a professional license. | § 7805. Exempt persons. | § 7806. Limited permits. | § 7807. Mandatory continuing education.

§ 7800. Introduction.

This article applies to the profession of massage therapy. The general provisions for all professions contained in article one hundred thirty of this title apply to this article.


§ 7801. Definition of practice of massage therapy.

The practice of the profession of massage therapy is defined as engaging in applying a scientific system of activity to the muscular structure of the human body by means of stroking, kneading, tapping and vibrating with the hands or vibrators for the purpose of improving muscle tone and circulation.


§ 7802. Practice of massage therapy and use of title "masseur", "masseuse" or "massage therapist" or the term "massage" or "massage therapy".

Only a person licensed or authorized pursuant to this chapter shall practice massage therapy and only a person licensed under this article shall use the title "masseur", "masseuse" or "massage therapist". No person, firm, partnership or corporation claiming to be engaged in the practice of massage or massage therapy shall in any manner describe, advertise, or place any advertisement for services as defined in section seventy-eight hundred one of this article unless such services are performed by a person licensed or authorized pursuant to this chapter.


§ 7803. State board for massage therapy.

A state board for massage therapy shall be appointed by the board of regents on recommendation of the commissioner for the purpose of assisting the board of regents and the department on matters of professional licensing and professional conduct in accordance with section sixty-five hundred eight of this title. The board shall be composed of not less than seven persons, four of whom shall have been engaged in the teaching, research, or practice of massage therapy for at least three years. The remaining three members of the board shall be physicians licensed in this state. An executive secretary to the board shall be appointed by the board of regents on recommendation of the commissioner.


§ 7804. Requirements for a professional license.

To qualify for a license as a massage therapist, masseur or masseuse, an applicant shall fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Application: file an application with the department;
  2. Education: have received an education, including high school graduation and graduation from a school or institute of massage therapy with a program registered by the department, or its substantial equivalent in both subject matter and extent of training, provided that the program in such school or institute shall consist of classroom instruction of a total of not less than five hundred hours in subjects satisfactory to the department;
  3. Examination: pass an examination satisfactory to the board and in accordance with the commissioner`s regulations;
  4. Age: be at least eighteen years of age;
  5. Citizenship or immigration status: be a United States citizen or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States;
  6. Character: be of good moral character as determined by the department; and
  7. Fees: pay a fee of one hundred fifteen dollars to the department for admission to a department conducted examination and for an initial license, a fee of forty-five dollars for each reexamination, a fee of fifty dollars for an initial license for persons not requiring admission to a department conducted examination, and a fee of fifty dollars for each triennial registration period.

§ 7805. Exempt persons.

Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to prohibit:

  1. The practice of massage therapy by any person who is authorized to practice medicine, nursing, osteopathy, physiotherapy, chiropractic, or podiatry in accordance with the provisions of this title.
  2. The practice of that massage which is customarily given in barber shops or beauty parlors for the purpose of beautification by any licensed barber or beauty culturist.
  3. The practice of massage therapy by any person employed in a medical institution licensed or chartered by the state of New York, provided that such person is under the on-site supervision of a person licensed to practice massage therapy or authorized to practice massage therapy by subdivision one of this section, or by any person enrolled in a program of a school or institute of massage therapy registered by the department, or enrolled in a program which satisfies the requirements of section seventy-eight hundred four of this article, provided that such person is under the on-site supervision of a person licensed to practice massage therapy or authorized to practice massage therapy by subdivision one of this section.
  4. The practice of massage therapy by any person duly employed as a trainer by a professional athletic association, club or team, or as a member of the physical education department of an accredited university, college or high school.
  5. The practice of massage therapy by any person employed by a corporation or association organized exclusively for the moral or mental improvement of men, women or children.

§ 7806. Limited permits.

  1. The department may issue a limited permit to practice massage therapy as a licensed massage therapist, masseur or masseuse to a person who has not previously held such a permit and who fulfills all except the examination and citizenship requirements for a license, provided however that a permit shall not be issued to a person who has failed the state licensing examination.
  2. The limited permit shall be valid for a period of not more than twelve months or until the results of the next licensing examination for which the person is eligible are officially available, whichever comes first.
  3. A limited permit shall entitle the holder to practice massage therapy only under the personal supervision of a person currently licensed and registered to practice massage therapy in this state.
  4. The fee for a limited permit shall be thirty-five dollars.

§ 7807. Mandatory continuing education.

[Became law August 30, 2010; effective, January 1, 2012]
    1. Each massage therapist licensed pursuant to this article required to register triennially with the department to practice in the state shall comply with the provisions of the mandatory continuing education requirements prescribed in subdivision two of this section except as set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subdivision. Massage therapists who do not satisfy the mandatory continuing education requirements shall not practice until they have met such requirements, and they have been issued a registration certificate, except that a massage therapist may practice without having met such requirements if he or she is issued a conditional registration certificate pursuant to subdivision three of this section.
    2. Massage therapists shall be exempt from the mandatory continuing education requirement for the triennial registration period during which they are first licensed. In accord with the intent of this section, adjustments to the mandatory continuing education requirement may be granted by the department for reasons of health certified by an appropriate health care professional, for extended active duty with the armed forces of the United States, or for other good cause acceptable to the department which may prevent compliance.
    3. A licensed massage therapist not engaged in professional practice, as determined by the department, shall be exempt from the mandatory continuing education requirement upon the filing of a statement with the department declaring such status. Any licensee who returns to the practice of massage therapy during the triennial registration period shall notify the department prior to reentering the profession and shall meet such mandatory education requirements as shall be prescribed by regulations of the commissioner.
  1. During each triennial registration period an applicant for registration as a massage therapist shall complete a minimum of thirty-six hours of acceptable formal continuing education, a maximum of twelve hours of which may be self-instructional course work acceptable to the department. Any massage therapist whose first registration date following the effective date of this section occurs less than three years from such effective date, shall complete continuing education hours on a prorated basis at the rate of one hour per month for the period beginning January first, two thousand twelve up to the first registration date thereafter. A licensee who has not satisfied the mandatory continuing education requirements shall not be issued a triennial registration certificate by the department and shall not practice unless and until a conditional registration certificate is issued as provided for in subdivision three of this section, or until he or she has otherwise met the requirements of this section.
  2. The department, in its discretion, may issue a conditional registration to a licensee who fails to meet the continuing education requirements established in subdivision two of this section but who agrees to make up any deficiencies and complete any additional education which the department may require. The fee for such a conditional registration shall be the same as, and in addition to, the fee for the triennial registration. The duration of such conditional registration shall be determined by the department but shall not exceed one year. Any licensee who is notified of the denial of registration for failure to submit evidence, satisfactory to the department, of required continuing education and who practices without such registration, may be subject to disciplinary proceedings pursuant to section sixty-five hundred ten of this chapter.
  3. As used in subdivision two of this section, "acceptable formal continuing education" may mean formal programs of learning which contribute to professional practice in massage therapy which are offered by sponsors of massage therapy continuing education approved by the department in consultation with the state board for massage therapy, to fulfill the mandatory continuing education requirement. Sponsors of massage therapy continuing education may include, but are not limited to, state or national professional associations established to further the massage therapy profession, and may include any affiliates of international massage therapy conferences at which professional continuing education is a major component of such conferences, as well as programs registered as licensure-qualifying for the profession of massage therapy by the department. Sponsors of massage therapy shall file an application with the department and pay a fee of nine hundred dollars. While presenters of didactic instruction may be provided by persons who are not licensed by the state of New York as massage therapists, the practical application of such modalities and techniques must be done by licensed massage therapists, or those otherwise authorized, when this continuing education occurs in the state of New York.
  4. Massage therapists shall maintain adequate documentation of completion of acceptable formal continuing education and shall provide such documentation at the request of the department. Failure to provide such documentation upon the request of the department shall be an act of misconduct subject to disciplinary proceedings pursuant to section sixty-five hundred ten of this chapter.
  5. The mandatory continuing education fee shall be forty-five dollars, shall be payable on or before the first day of each triennial registration period, and shall be paid in addition to the triennial registration fee required by section seventy-one hundred twenty-four of this chapter.
Last Updated: September 1, 2010