A Policy Statement from Northwestern Health Sciences University

Massage Therapists who practice in Minnesota are currently not licensed, registered or otherwise regulated at a State level in a manner similar to other health professionals – or even cosmetologists, barbers and body art technicians.

Minnesota is one of only four remaining states that lack such a regulatory mechanism, and the only one in the upper Midwest. In the majority of states where massage therapy is regulated, massage therapists must meet legal requirements to practice which include standard minimum hours of entry-level training in a school or program accredited by a national organization and may have annual continuing education requirements.

A nationally accredited examination to license or certify the massage therapist, administered by the state, is also a requirement.

In Minnesota, however, most massage therapists are regulated by local municipalities, which often have different licensing requirements, standards for practice and fees. In essence, the current arrangement regulates these professionals as business entities rather than healthcare providers. This creates wide variability in educational requirements, practice standards, fees paid by practitioners, an unnecessary administrative burden on cities, and most importantly an opportunity for illicit activity to occur under the guise of massage therapy. This is a disservice to the public, patients and other healthcare professionals who work with massage therapists.