Scope of Practice by state

Body of Knowledge Scope of Practice Definition

The scopes of practice of each state, as summarized by the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Task Force, assert the following: massage
therapy is a healthcare and wellness profession involving manipulation of soft tissue. The practice of
massage therapy includes assessment, treatment planning,and treatment through the manipulation of soft tissue, circulatory fluids, and energy fields, affecting and benefiting all of the body systems, for therapeutic purposes including, but not limited to, enhancing health and wellbeing, providing emotional and physical relaxation, reducing stress, improving posture, facilitating circulation of blood, lymph,and interstitial fluids, balancing energy, remediating, relieving pain, repairing and preventing injury,and rehabilitating.
Massage therapy treatment includes a hands-on component, as well as providing information, education,and non-strenuous activities for the purposes of self-care and health maintenance. The hands-on component of massage therapy is accomplished by use of digits, hands, forearms, elbows, knees,
and feet with or without the use of emollients, liniments, heat and cold, hand-held tools,or other external apparatus. It is performed in a variety of employment and practice settings. (



§ 34-43-3. Definitions.


. The mobilization of the soft
tissue which may include skin, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining
good physical condition. The term shall include effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, compression, vibration, stretching,
heliotherapy, superficial hot and cold applications, topical applications, or other therapy which involves movement either by
hand, forearm, elbow, or foot, for the purpose of therapeutic massage. Massage therapy may include the external application
and use of herbal or chemical preparations and lubricants such as salts, powders, liquids, nonprescription creams, mechanical
devises such as T-bars, thumpers, body support systems, heat lamps, hot and cold packs, salt glow, steam cabinet baths or
The term includes any massage, movement therapy, massage technology, myotherapy, massotherapy, oriental
massage techniques, structural integration, or polarity therapy. The term shall not include laser therapy, microwave, injection
therapy, manipulation of the joints, or any diagnosis or treatment of an illness that normally involves the practice of medicine,
chiropractic, physical therapy, podiatry, nursing, occupational therapy, veterinary, acupuncture, osteopathy, orthopedics,
hypnosis, or naturopathics







“Massage” or “massage therapy” means a system of structured touch, palpation, or movement of the soft tissue of another person’s body in order to enhance or restore the general health and well-being of the recipient. Such system includes, but is not limited to, techniques such as effleurage, commonly called stroking or gliding; petrissage, commonly called kneading; tapotement or percussion; friction; vibration; compression; passive and active stretching within
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the normal anatomical range of movement; hydromassage; and thermal massage. Such techniques may be applied with or without the aid of lubricants, salt or herbal preparations, water, heat, or a massage device that mimics or enhances the actions possible by human hands























NRS 640C.060  “Massage therapy” defined.

      1.  “Massage therapy” means the application of a system of pressure to the muscular structure and soft tissues of the human body for therapeutic purposes, including, without limitation:

      (a) Effleurage;

      (b) Petrissage;

      (c) Tapotement;

      (d) Compressions;

      (e) Vibration;

      (f) Friction; and

      (g) Movements applied manually with or without superficial heat, cold, water or lubricants for the purpose of maintaining good health and establishing and maintaining good physical condition.

      2.  The term does not include:

      (a) Diagnosis, adjustment, mobilization or manipulation of any articulations of the body or spine; or

      (b) The demonstration of a product on a person that applies a system of pressure to the muscular structure and soft tissues of the human body, provided that the demonstration is not longer than 2 minutes.

      (Added to NRS by 2005, 1119; A 2017, 1453)


New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





334-010-0025 Practice of Massage (PDF)
(1) Massage treatment may include, but is not limited to:
(a) Client intake and assessment;
(b) Practice of massage or bodywork;
(c) Post massage assessment and recommendation; and
(d) Documentation.
(2) Massage treatment does not include:
(a) The application of high velocity/low amplitude force further defined as thrust techniques directed toward joint surfaces;
(b) The use of equipment or devices that require a prescription; or
(c) Making a medical diagnosis.



 20.41. Scope of practice.

(a)  Massage therapists apply a system of structured touch, pressure, movement, holding and treatment of the soft tissue manifestations of the human body in which the primary intent is to enhance the health and well-being of the client. Massage therapy includes:

(1)  The external application of water, heat, cold, lubricants and other topical preparations.

(2)  Lymphatic techniques.

(3)  Myofascial release techniques.

(4)  The use of electro-mechanical devices which mimic or enhance the action of the massage techniques.

(b)  Massage therapy practice does not include:

(1)  The diagnosis or treatment of impairment, illness, disease or disability.

(2)  Medical procedures.

(3)  Chiropractic manipulation—adjustment.

(4)  Physical therapy mobilization—manual therapy.

(5)  Therapeutic exercise.

(6)  Ordering or prescribing drugs or treatments for which a license to practice medicine, osteopathic medicine, nursing, podiatry, optometry, chiropractic, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other healing art is required.

(7)  The application of high velocity/low amplitude force further defined as thrust techniques directed toward joint surfaces.

(8)  The use of equipment or devices that require a prescription (for example, ultrasound, diathermy or electrical neuromuscular stimulation).

(c)  Licensure under the act may not be construed as requiring new or additional third-party reimbursement or otherwise mandating coverage under 75 Pa.C.S. Chapter 17 (relating to financial responsibility) or the Workers’ Compensation Act (77 P. S. § §  1—1041.4 and 2501—2506).

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota


(13)Massage/bodywork/somatic–The manipulation of the soft tissues of the body with the intention of positively affecting the health and well- being of the client








RCW 18.108.010

(6) “Massage” and “massage therapy” mean a health care service involving the external manipulation or pressure of soft tissue for therapeutic purposes. Massage therapy includes techniques such as tapping, compressions, friction, reflexology, Swedish gymnastics or movements, gliding, kneading, shaking, and fascial or connective tissue stretching, with or without the aids of superficial heat, cold, water, lubricants, or salts. Massage therapy does not include diagnosis or attempts to adjust or manipulate any articulations of the body or spine or mobilization of these articulations by the use of a thrusting force, nor does it include genital manipulation.


West Virginia