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  • Writer's pictureKandi Champion

The 411 on Texas Massage Therapy

Ever wonder what a massage therapy license is good for? Well, here's a rundown on the scope and practice for massage therapists licensed in Texas.

Massage therapy in Texas is regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, or tdlr for short. Currently, those seeking licensure must have attended and received a minimum 500 hour course on massage therapy, which includes anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, massage technique, pathology, health and hygiene, business practice and professional ethics, hydrotherapy, and 50 hours of internship. Once they have successfully completed a massage therapy course, they are eligible to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination, or MBLEX, which is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, or FSMTB. With a passing score on the MBLEX and an approved criminal background check run by tdlr, students may then apply for a massage therapist license with the appropriate fees.

A license is valid for two years. Licensees are required to obtain a minimum of 12 continuing education hours prior to license renewal.


. Make no false claims

. Cleanliness and sanitation of person and room or establishment must be kept at all times.

. Gift certificates must be honored or refunded regardless of expiration.

. Written consent from parent or guardian of clients under 17.

. No misleading advertisement of results, therapist's qualifications, or massage therapy in general.

. A consultation document is required to be filled out by client prior to a massage session. A

therapist may not legally administer massage therapy treatment without a proper consultation,

which has specific requirements as to what is on this document per tdlr rules.

. Must inform client that draping will be used during the session, unless another agreement is made,

documented, and signed by both client and therapist.

. Absolutely no action based or verbal sexual misconduct.

. Massage therapy is the practice of soft tissue manipulation by hand or mechanical or electrical

apparatus. Massage therapy is a healthcare service.

. May not diagnose.

. May not treat an illness or disease that requires a license to practice medicine, chiropractic,

physical therapy, or podiatry.

. Must keep accurate records of all clients.

As you can see, there are specific rules and codes massage therapists must follow and comply with. For a more in depth understanding of the Texas Massage Therapy code, please see administrative rules here.

To file a complaint against a therapist, school, spa, or instructor:

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Massage Therapy Program, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711, (512) 539-5600, or


It is valuable to know what a massage therapist licensed in Texas is allowed and not allowed to perform within their scope and practice. By understanding scope and practice of every person you seek treatment from in whatever form, you are better able to know if or when a practitioner is overstepping their boundaries, but more importantly this is the best way to gauge the integrity of your healthcare provider.

We will always need touch to communicate with each other and assimilate with our environment, regardless of exponentially expanding technology. Because of this, there are always those who seek to take advantage of people unaware of regulations. Regulations are meant as protection for practitioners, establishments, and clients and customers. In this #metoo and #informedconsent era, it is so important to be aware of our environment. Human trafficking, a form of slavery, is very real in our day and age. A quick Google search of "human trafficking in Southeast Texas" will reveal the relevant dangers to our area, the state of Texas, and the current 2019 crackdown on isolated cases.

Because of the nature of massage, both client and therapist are vulnerable to energy transference- yes, this is a real thing. So communication, both verbal and nonverbal, are of utmost importance when giving and receiving massage. It is valuable to set an intention prior to a session for clients. What exactly are you hoping to receiving and walk away with after the session? Make this clear to your therapist, unless you have spoken with them already or checked their website to see if their services fit your criteria for an effective massage treatment.

Let's end #metoo and arm ourselves with #informed consent

If you are uncomfortable at any point from walking into the establishment, to a perceived vibe during initial consultation, or during any minute lying naked or mostly naked, under a sheet on the table it is imperative that you communicate your discomfort. If the therapist does not change something to alleviate this discomfort and it is within their scope and practice to do so, leave. Please keep in mind, that while massage therapists are accountable by law to maintain integrity, they are also allowed to refuse service and end a session should a client cause verbal or nonverbal discomfort in any form.

Stay up to date with my blog for future posts on energy transference, what to expect during a massage, and acceptable conversation topics. For a checklist on looking for the right massage therapist for your needs, see my post, "How to Find the Right Massage Therapist."

Much love!

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