Unless you have experienced the relief that comes from a professional therapeutic massage, you may not have considered the respect that a therapist holding a massage therapy license deserves. Massage therapy is a medically recognized therapy and its practitioners occupy the same level of achievement as any other kind of physical therapist. More than half of the states have requirements that must be met for a therapist to receive a massage therapy license and the standards are stringent.
Education and Training
All of the states that have standards for licensing require a thorough education from an accredited school of massage and bodywork. Each state requires at least 500 hours of education in medical subjects and massage. Many states require substantially more than 500 hours of education for a massage therapy license. Some states require that an applicant earn national certification before applying for a state license. The national certification also requires at least 500 hours of training and massage therapy education in an acceptable school.
The training must include at least 125 hours of anatomy and physiology, 200 hours of massage and/ or bodywork theory and application, 40 hours of pathology, 10 hours of business and ethics and at least 125 hours of related coursework. A practitioner with 500 hours of training and experience and knowledge of the required areas can also submit a personal portfolio for examination.
The national certification exam contains at least 160 questions covering all of the required areas of massage therapy education. To remain in good standing, a professional must be re-certified every four years. Besides state standards, many communities also set standards. Standards in the Canadian provinces with requirements begin at 2,000 hours.
Of course, the requirement to earn a massage therapy license is good for patients and good for professional message therapists. The licensing standards guarantee that a “real” massage therapist is a medical professional who can be trusted, who can receive payment from health insurers and who can be regarded as more than just someone with a table and talented hands.
The need for a massage therapy license keeps the quacks out of the business and allows problem practitioners to be policed and, if necessary, punished by the revocation of the massage therapy license. That is why all professions impose such demands on themselves. A beginning massage therapist has already proved his or her abilities by having attained a massage therapy license.