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Massage Today
May, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 05

Kentucky Becomes 32nd State to Regulate Massage

By Editorial Staff

Kentucky has become the 32nd state to enact statewide regulation of massage therapy. House Bill 268, signed into law by Governor Paul E. Patton on March 12, 2003, establishes the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Massage Therapy: a seven- member, Governor-appointed board that includes two public members (one of whom may hold another health care license) and five professional members, one of whom must own or direct a "board-approved massage therapy training program."

Initially, the law will extend licensing to existing practitioners who have completed a minimum of 200 hours of massage education and have practiced massage for at least one year.

New licensees must have graduated from a 500-hour board-approved program and passed an exam approved by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA); effectively, this limits examinations to those administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

Two years following enactment of the law, the massage education requirement increases to 600 hours, and Kentucky therapists will be required to complete 24 hours of continuing education during each two-year license renewal period. Massage professionals from states with less stringent licensing standards may appeal to the board for a hearing to determine if their experience and education meet the criteria established under the new law.

The board reserves the right to impose sanctions up to and including denying, refusing or revoking licensure under several circumstances, including:

  • engaging in unprofessional conduct that has endangered or is likely to endanger the welfare of the public;
  • the applicant has been convicted of a felony for acts deemed to have a direct bearing on the trustworthiness as a massage therapist;
  • engaging in sexual contact with a client or attempting to engage in a lewd act;
  • engaging in fraud or deception in the delivery of professional services; or
  • evidence of gross negligence or incompetence in the practice of massage therapy.
Practitioners of Feldenkrais Method, Trager Approach and polarity therapy are exempted by name from the licensing act; practitioners of reflexology are exempted by definition, but not by name.

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