In the most recent term of the Texas Legislature the legislators finally took positive action regarding the laws governing Massage Therapy in the state. Many Massage Therapists and Massage Therapy associations in Texas have been asking the legislature to increase the number training hours required for massage therapy licensure in the state. Prior to this legislation only 300 hours of training were required for massage therapy licensure in the State of Texas.
On June 17th, 2007 Texas Governor Rick Perry signed House Bill 2644. The bill amended Texas Massage Therapy law in a very positive manner. Effective September 1, 2007, candidates for massage therapy licensure must now have completed a more comprehensive training program of at least 500 hours in length, a significant increase over the previously required 300 hours. The new 500 hour training programs will meet the following requirements:
1) 200 hours taught by a licensed massage therapy instructor and dedicated to the study of massage therapy techniques and theory and the practice of manipulation of soft tissue, with at least 125 hours dedicated to the study of Swedish massage therapy techniques;
2) 50 hours of anatomy;
3) 25 hours of physiology;
4) 50 hours of kinesiology;
5) 40 hours of pathology;
6) 20 hours of hydrotherapy;
7) 45 hours of massage therapy laws and rules, business practices, and professional ethics standards;
8) 20 hours of health, hygiene, first aid, universal precautions, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); and
9) 50 hours in an internship program.
Additionally, the bill eliminated the practical (hands-on) examination requirement. The elimination of the 6-minute practical exam eliminates the requirement for all massage therapy licensure candidates to travel to Austin to take the exam. Therefore, all massage therapy licensure candidates may take the written licensure exam near home instead of having to travel to the state capitol.
As written, the new law’s requirements do not affect any of the approximately 20,000 currently licensed massage therapists. The law also does not affect any massage therapy student pursuing a massage therapy training program provided the student was enrolled in the program before September 1, 2007.
The new requirements are meant to improve the quality of massage therapy provided in the State of Texas and to improve the professional image of Licensed Massage Therapists in the state. The new requirements also bring Texas’ massage therapy regulations more in line with other states regulating massage therapy and with the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB). So, it is likely that the new laws will improve license reciprocity, allowing Texas Licensed Massage Therapists to more easily relocate to other states and separately licensed municipalities.