Interesting find in the massage law


So here it is!  The information you have been waiting for!

I went to the massage board meeting and they were discussing changes to the Rules and Regulations.  Of course, I had out my copy of the Law AND the Regs. Please understand this basic piece of information:

The law is written by legislators, in this case, your state representatives, not the massage therapy board.  The massage board has the obligation and authority, by this law, to uphold the law, approve licenses, discipline licensees and write rules and regulations based on the law.  The board has no authority to change the law.  Regarding the Rules and Regulations, however, the board does have the right to add, modify, change or omit any of the regulations but only after going through a process which includes gathering opinions from the public.  It also must be approved by other bodies, like the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and the Board of Professional and Occupational Affairs.


As they were discussing proposed changes I was looking through the Law and I noticed this:


Section 13.  Other professions Nothing in this act shall be construed as preventing, restricting or requiring licensure of any of the following activities:

                                (3) A student enrolled in a massage therapy education program who is:

                                                (i) conducting massage therapy activities under the supervision of:

                                                                (A) a Licensee


Ok, let that sink in a moment.  Here is what I found in the Rules and Regulations:


Section 20.14 Student Practice

                                (b) A student, while enrolled in an approved massage therapy program, may perform techniques learned in class under indirect supervision

                                (C) A student may not receive payment from the school, a client or other source for providing massage therapy services; however, a student may accept a nominal gratuity voluntarily given by a client in a clinical training program operated by the school in which the student is obtaining credit. 


Section 13 in the law seems to allow non-licensed massage therapy students to work in a facility that has licensed massage therapists on site provided they are supervised.  Section 20.14 states that they cannot receive any monies for doing so.  They can only accept a tip only in the clinical setting in the school under instructor supervision. My concern is that unscrupulous people will and can allow students in a massage program to massage clients at their spa.  The law states they can do this but only únder the supervision of a licensee, it doesn’t specify direct or indirect supervision.  But the Regulations seems to say that they can practice their massage techniques under indirect supervision. They cannot get paid for their work, so is this like an internship type of thing?  Can a spa owner, who has multiple therapists on staff, have a student come in and massage their clients and not pay them?  They would be breaking the law if they did pay them.


I spoke to the prosecuting attorney, the one who would be present in the court room representing the board. He said yes, I read it correctly.  He said, “how else can they learn how to do massage?”.  Interesting!  I did not ask him about a spa unofficially “hiring” them.  Perhaps when I see him again I will approach him about that.


So….. What are your thoughts? I totally understand how this can help a student learn and I think it could be beneficial for them.  Do you think this is a loop hole to allow unlicensed therapists to work in a massage setting?