WA State Massage Licensing

Physical Address
Town Center 2
111 Israel Rd SE
Tumwater, WA 98501

Contact Information

Listserve sign up – Keep informed of board meetings and latest rules/regulations

Approved Massage Schools

General Overview of Laws, Rules and Regulations.  For complete information and the latest information, please visit the Board of Massage Website and Ask the Board of Massage any questions that you have.

Examinations:  MBLeX



Definitions (Scope of Practice) :

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.

Reflexology” means a health care service that is limited to applying alternating pressure with thumb and finger techniques to reflexive areas of the lower one-third of the extremities, feet, hands, and outer ears based on reflex maps. Reflexology does not include the diagnosis of or treatment for specific diseases, or joint manipulations.

RCW 18.108.050 Exemptions.

  • Giving massage or reflexology to family members
  • Massage or reflexology practiced at a institution
  • Students in massage school or reflexology school
  • Somatic education programs approved by the state  – See list of programs.

RCW 18.108.070 Qualifications for licensure or certification.

  • Complete Board Approved Program or Apprenticeship program of Instruction in Massage  (See list of Approved Schools)
  • Pass Exam approved by board
  • Be 18 years old
  • Reflexologist Certification
(1) 500 hours.  An hour of training is defined as fifty minutes of actual instructional time. Certification in American Red Cross first aid and American Heart Association CPR or the equivalent shall be required. This requirement is in addition to the five hundred hours of training in massage therapy. These five hundred hours are not to be completed in less than six months and shall consist of the following:
(a)130 hours of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology including palpation, range of motion, and physics of joint function. There must be a minimum of forty hours of kinesiology.
(b) 50 of pathology including indications and contraindications consistent with the particular area of practice.
(c) 265 hours of theory and practice of massage to include techniques, remedial movements, body mechanics of the practitioner, and the impact of techniques on pathologies. A maximum of 50 of these hours may include time spent in a student clinic. Hydrotherapy shall be included when consistent with the particular area of practice.
(d) 55 hours of clinical/business practices, at a minimum to include hygiene, recordkeeping, medical terminology, professional ethics, business management, human behavior, client interaction, and state and local laws.
(2) To receive credit in an apprenticeship program for previous education, this education must have been completed within the five-year period prior to enrollment in the apprenticeship program.
(3) Students attending schools and programs outside the state of Washington shall acquire a working knowledge of the laws of Washington state applying to massage therapy.

Massage Transfers from other states must meet the requirements for WA State.

RCW 18.108.230 Animal massage practitioner :

one hundred hours of training in either large or small animal massage. Training must include animal massage techniques, kinesiology, anatomy, physiology, first aid care, and proper handling techniques.

WAC 246-830-435 Animal massage training

100 hours consisting of:

(a) Twenty-five hours of animal massage technique;
(b) Twenty-five hours of animal kinesiology;
(c) Twenty hours of animal anatomy and physiology;
(d) Four hours of animal first aid which includes knowledge of normal vital signs, identification of emergency or life threatening situations, emergency first-aid application, and legal boundaries of emergency situations; and
(e) Twenty-six hours of proper handling techniques which must include instruction on the ability to control the animal to minimize risk of harm to the animal and the animal massage practitioner.

RCW 18.108.250 Intraoral massage: Training must include intraoral massage techniques, cranial anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, hygienic practices, safety and sanitation, pathology, and contraindications.

WAC 246-830-490 Intraoral massage training.

To qualify for an intraoral massage endorsement you must complete the following training:

(1) Sixteen hours of direct supervised training must include:
(a) Hands-on intraoral massage techniques, cranial anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology; and
(b) Hygienic practices, safety and sanitation; and
(c) Pathology and contraindications.

WAC 246-830-475 Continuing education requirements.  24 hours every 2 years.


Special Laws of Interest:

WAC 246-830-040 Equipment and sanitation.

(4) Impervious material shall cover, full length, all massage tables or pads, directly under fresh sheets and linens or disposable paper sheets.
(5) All single service materials and clean linen such as sheets, towels, gowns, pillow cases and all other linens used in the practice of massage, shall be furnished by the practitioner for the use of each client. Linens shall be stored in a sanitary manner.
  • A massage practitioner’s name and license number to appear on all of his or her advertisements.
  • A massage practitioner to conspicuously display his or her license in his or her principal place of business.
  • A massage practitioner to have a copy of his or her license available for inspection while performing any activities related to massage therapy if it’s not his or her principal place of business.


(This could includes paying a percentage of the fees paid by client to the employer/lease holder. )