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Massage Today
April, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 04

South Dakota Adopts Massage Regulation

By Editorial Staff

South Dakota has become the 34th state to pass a massage licensing act. Introduced on Jan. 20, 2005, House Bill (HB) 1089 worked its way through both the House and Senate in under a month and was signed into law by Gov.

Mike Rounds on Feb.25. It takes effect on July 1. Rep. Joni M. Cutler-R, the bill's primary sponsor, said she believed the bill would positively benefit the 500 or so massage therapists currently practicing throughout the state.

The new law calls for the governor to appoint a five-member massage therapy board, consisting of four licensed massage professionals and one public member. Among the necessary licensing requirements, applicants must have a minimum of 500 hours of approved massage education and pass a licensing examination "administered by a national certification board accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies and in good standing with the National Organization of Competency Assurance." Licenses are valid for two years, and therapists must complete annual continuing education units to remain in compliance.

A grandfather clause, which will remain in effect for two years following the bill's effective date, specifies that therapists who possess a minimum of 100 hours of education and have been actively practicing for at least three years may qualify for a license. Licensed therapists from other states who meet the other South Dakota requirements are also exempt from taking the exam.

For more information, visit the state's Web site at or South Dakota's Department of Health Web site at


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