Florida Board of Massage Therapy » Massage Therapists- Licensing, Renewals & Information (2024)

Table of Contents
Are additional certifications available for massage therapists (e.g., medical massage)? Are massage therapists required to display their licenses? Are massage therapists required to report criminal offenses? Are massage therapists responsible for knowing if an establishment is licensed? Can a body wrapper practice massage therapy? Can a cosmetologist, barber or full specialist practice massage therapy? Can a massage therapist display a copy of their license? Can a massage therapist practice colonic irrigation? Can a massage therapist practice in an establishment if the establishment license is delinquent? Can a massage therapist work in a physician’s office that does not hold an establishment license? What are the requirements for posting a picture on my license? Can a massage therapist work outside a massage establishment? Can a massage therapist who is licensed in another state practice with that license in Florida? Can the address be hidden on a massage therapist’s license verification? Do massage therapists need to register a fictitious name to advertise? Is there a way to find massage therapists in my area? Can a massage therapist work in multiple establishments? Is a massage therapist license required to practice reiki? Is a massage therapist license required to practice reflexology? Do massage therapists need to include their license number when advertising? Do massage therapists need identification when working in a massage establishment? What is massage therapy? What is a massage therapist? What is colonic irrigation? Can massage therapists work anywhere? Where can a massage therapist practice colonic irrigation? Who can be a massage therapist?

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Are additional certifications available for massage therapists (e.g., medical massage)?

Yes. Massage therapists may add a colonic irrigation certification to a massage therapist license. While there are many other professional certifications, no other certifications are officially recognized under Florida law.

Are massage therapists required to display their licenses?

Yes. Massage therapists are required to display their licenses when working in a massage establishment A photocopy of the license may be displayed in lieu of the original license. All displayed licenses must also have a photograph of the licensee affixed to the license.

Are massage therapists required to report criminal offenses?

Yes. Massage therapists are required to report all criminal convictions even if the adjudication was withheld and pleadings of guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) within 30 days of the entry of the conviction or plea.

Are massage therapists responsible for knowing if an establishment is licensed?

Yes. Massage therapists are responsible for knowing if the massage establishment they are working in is licensed and can be disciplined for working in an unlicensed establishment.

If you are unsure whether a massage establishment is properly licensed, we would encourage you to search for a license by establishment name or address using the Department of Health’s license verification portal.

Can a body wrapper practice massage therapy?

No. A massage therapist license is required to practice massage therapy in the state of Florida.

Massage is defined in Chapter 480.033(3), Florida Statutes as

…the manipulation of the soft tissues of the human body with the hand, foot, arm, or elbow, whether or not such manipulation is aided by hydrotherapy, including colonic irrigation, or thermal therapy; any electrical or mechanical device; or the application to the human body of a chemical or herbal preparation.

Body wrapping is regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and is defined in Chapter 477.013(12), Florida Statutes as

…a treatment program that uses herbal wraps for the purposes of cleansing and beautifying the skin of the body, but does not include:
(a) The application of oils, lotions, or other fluids to the body, except fluids contained in presoaked materials used in the wraps; or
(b) Manipulation of the body’s superficial tissue, other than that arising from compression emanating from the wrap materials.

The practice of massage without a massage therapist license is a violation of Florida Statutes, and may carry penalties including citation and fines, administrative action, or criminal prosecution.

If you believe a person is practicing massage without a license or a massage therapist is practicing beyond the definition above, we encourage you to file a complaint with the Department of Health.

Can a cosmetologist, barber or full specialist practice massage therapy?

No. A massage therapist license is required to practice massage therapy in the state of Florida, though cosmetologists, full specialists, and barbers can perform massage related to the hands, feet, and scalp in accordance with their practice acts.

Massage is defined in Chapter 480.033(3), Florida Statutes as

…the manipulation of the soft tissues of the human body with the hand, foot, arm, or elbow, whether or not such manipulation is aided by hydrotherapy, including colonic irrigation, or thermal therapy; any electrical or mechanical device; or the application to the human body of a chemical or herbal preparation.

Cosmetology and specialties thereunder are regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and are defined in Chapter 477.013, Florida Statutes. Barbering is also regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and is defined in Chapter 476.034, Florida Statutes.

The practice of massage without a massage therapist license is a violation of Florida Statutes, and may carry penalties including citation and fines, administrative action, or criminal prosecution.

If you believe a person is practicing massage without a license or a massage therapist is practicing beyond the definition above, we encourage you to file a complaint with the Department of Health.

Can a massage therapist display a copy of their license?

Yes. A photocopy of a massage therapist license may be displayed. A photograph of the licensee must be affixed to the photograph.

Can a massage therapist practice colonic irrigation?

Yes, if they are certified to do so. This certification is shown as “COLONIC” on the face of the license of a certified massage therapist, and can be verified using the Department of Health’s license verification portal.

Can a massage therapist practice in an establishment if the establishment license is delinquent?

No. A massage therapist may not practice in a massage establishment whose license is delinquent.

Can a massage therapist work in a physician’s office that does not hold an establishment license?

Yes, in some circ*mstances. 480.043(14), Florida Statutes provides exemption from the requirement of massage establishment licensing when working in a physician’s (MD, DO, or DC) place of practice if the massage therapist is practicing on the physician’s patients:

Except for the requirements of subsection (13), this section does not apply to a physician licensed under chapter 457, chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 460 who employs a licensed massage therapist to perform massage on the physician’s patients at the physician’s place of practice. This subsection does not restrict investigations by the department for violations of chapter 456 or this chapter.

What are the requirements for posting a picture on my license?

Effective September 1, 2013, licensed massage therapists must attach to the displayed license a 2 by 2 inch photograph of the individual whose name appears on the certificate. The photograph must have been taken within the previous two years.

Can a massage therapist work outside a massage establishment?

Yes, in specific locations listed in statute.

Chapter 480.046(1)(o), Florida Statutes provides places where a massage therapist may work outside a massage establishment:

(1) The following acts constitute grounds for denial of a license or disciplinary action, as specified in s. 456.072(2):
(o) Practicing massage at a site, location, or place which is not duly licensed as a massage establishment, except that a massage therapist, as provided by rules adopted by the board, may provide massage services, excluding colonic irrigation, at the residence of a client, at the office of the client, at a sports event, at a convention, or at a trade show.

Chapter 480.043(14), Florida Statutes provides additional exemption when working in a physician’s (MD, DO, or DC) place of practice when practicing on the physician’s patients:

Except for the requirements of subsection (13), this section does not apply to a physician licensed under chapter 457, chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 460 who employs a licensed massage therapist to perform massage on the physician’s patients at the physician’s place of practice. This subsection does not restrict investigations by the department for violations of chapter 456 or this chapter.

Can a massage therapist who is licensed in another state practice with that license in Florida?

No. Holding a license in another state does not authorize a massage therapist to practice massage in Florida.

Can the address be hidden on a massage therapist’s license verification?

No. Practitioner addresses are public record, and cannot be hidden unless the massage therapist is exempt from public records disclosure pursuant to Chapter 119.071, Florida Statutes.

Do massage therapists need to register a fictitious name to advertise?

Yes, massage therapists are required to register a fictitious name if advertising their practice under a name that is not their legal name.

More information about fictitious name registration can be found on the Division of Corporations website at www.sunbiz.org.

Is there a way to find massage therapists in my area?

Yes. The Department of Health license verification portal can be used to search for licensees by city, county, or zip code.

Can a massage therapist work in multiple establishments?

Yes. Massage therapists are health care practitioners who are licensed under the Massage Practice Act (Chapter 480, Florida Statutes).

Health care practitioner is defined in 456.001(4), Florida Statutes, as

…any person licensed under chapter 457; chapter 458; chapter 459; chapter 460; chapter 461; chapter 462; chapter 463; chapter 464; chapter 465; chapter 466; chapter 467; part I, part II, part III, part V, part X, part XIII, or part XIV of chapter 468; chapter 478; chapter 480; part I or part II of chapter 483; chapter 484; chapter 486; chapter 490; or chapter 491.

Is a massage therapist license required to practice reiki?

Yes. The practice of reiki falls under the definition of massage.

Florida law does not provide for the licensing of reiki practitioners apart from a massage therapist license, nor exempt reiki practitioners from the requirement to hold a massage therapist license to receive compensation for their practice.

Is a massage therapist license required to practice reflexology?

Yes. The modality of reflexology falls under the definition of massage.

Florida law does not provide for independent licensing of the modality of reflexology and does not exempt reflexologists from massage therapist licensing requirements.

Do massage therapists need to include their license number when advertising?

Yes. Massage therapists are required to include their license number when advertising.

Do massage therapists need identification when working in a massage establishment?

Valid government identification includes any of the following:

  • A valid, unexpired driver’s license issued by any state, territory, or district of the United States
  • A valid, unexpired identification card issued by any state, territory, or district of the United States
  • A valid, unexpired United States passport
  • A naturalization certificate issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security
  • A valid, unexpired alien registration receipt card (green card)
  • A valid, unexpired employment authorization card issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security

What is massage therapy?

Massage is defined in Chapter 480.033(3), Florida Statutes, as

…the manipulation of the soft tissues of the human body with the hand, foot, arm, or elbow, whether or not such manipulation is aided by hydrotherapy, including colonic irrigation, or thermal therapy; any electrical or mechanical device; or the application to the human body of a chemical or herbal preparation.

What is a massage therapist?

Massage therapist is defined in Chapter 480.033(4), Florida Statutes, as

…a person licensed as required by this act, who administers massage for compensation.

What is colonic irrigation?

Colonic irrigation is defined in Chapter 480.033(6), Florida Statutes, as

…a method of hydrotherapy used to cleanse the colon with the aid of a mechanical device and water.

Can massage therapists work anywhere?

No. Massage therapists may work in massage establishments, and in specific places outside a massage establishment as provided in statute.

Chapter 480.046(1)(o), Florida Statutes provides places where a massage therapist may work outside a massage establishment:

(1) The following acts constitute grounds for denial of a license or disciplinary action, as specified in s. 456.072(2):

(o) Practicing massage at a site, location, or place which is not duly licensed as a massage establishment, except that a massage therapist, as provided by rules adopted by the board, may provide massage services, excluding colonic irrigation, at the residence of a client, at the office of the client, at a sports event, at a convention, or at a trade show.

Additionally, a massage therapist employed by a physician to practice on the physician’s patients may practice at that physician’s place of practice. In this circ*mstance, an establishment license is not required. This exemption can be found in Chapter 480.043(14), Florida Statutes:

Except for the requirements of subsection (13), this section does not apply to a physician licensed under chapter 457, chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 460 who employs a licensed massage therapist to perform massage on the physician’s patients at the physician’s place of practice. This subsection does not restrict investigations by the department for violations of chapter 456 or this chapter.

Where can a massage therapist practice colonic irrigation?

Where can a massage therapist practice colonic irrigation?

A massage therapist can practice colonic irrigation in a massage establishment that is operating in compliance with 64B7-26.003, Florida Administrative Code, which includes that the establishment maintain colonic irrigation equipment in a safe and sanitary condition and maintain sterilization equipment if non-disposable colonic attachments are used.

Who can be a massage therapist?

A person can be a massage therapist in Florida by meeting the licensing requirements, submitting an application and fees, and receiving their license.

Florida Board of
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