2010 Florida Statutes
This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Massage Practice Act.”
s. 1, ch. 78-436; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 4, ch. 91-429.
The Legislature recognizes that the practice of massage is potentially dangerous to the public in that massage therapists must have a knowledge of anatomy and physiology and an understanding of the relationship between the structure and the function of the tissues being treated and the total function of the body. Massage is therapeutic, and regulations are necessary to protect the public from unqualified practitioners. It is therefore deemed necessary in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare to regulate the practice of massage in this state; however, restrictions shall be imposed to the extent necessary to protect the public from significant and discernible danger to health and yet not in such a manner which will unreasonably affect the competitive market. Further, consumer protection for both health and economic matters shall be afforded the public through legal remedies provided for in this act.
s. 2, ch. 78-436; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 49, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-429.
As used in this act:
“Board” means the Board of Massage Therapy.
“Department” means the Department of Health.
“Massage” means 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.
“Massage therapist” means a person licensed as required by this act, who administers massage for compensation.
“Apprentice” means a person approved by the board to study massage under the instruction of a licensed massage therapist.
“Colonic irrigation” means a method of hydrotherapy used to cleanse the colon with the aid of a mechanical device and water.
“Establishment” means a site or premises, or portion thereof, wherein a massage therapist practices massage.
“Licensure” means the procedure by which a person, hereinafter referred to as a “practitioner,” applies to the board for approval to practice massage or to operate an establishment.
“Board-approved massage school” means a facility which meets minimum standards for training and curriculum as determined by rule of the board and which is licensed by the Department of Education pursuant to chapter 1005 or the equivalent licensing authority of another state or is within the public school system of this state.
s. 3, ch. 78-436; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 50, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 2, ch. 81-318; s. 76, ch. 83-329; ss. 1, 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 50, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 169, ch. 94-218; s. 67, ch. 95-144; s. 149, ch. 97-264; s. 116, ch. 2001-277; s. 1025, ch. 2002-387.
Nothing in this act shall modify or repeal any provision of chapters 458-464, inclusive, or of chapter 476, chapter 477, or chapter 486.
Athletic trainers employed by or on behalf of a professional athletic team performing or training within this state shall be exempt from the provisions of this act.
The state and its political subdivisions are exempt from the registration requirements of this act.
An exemption granted is effective to the extent that an exempted person’s practice or profession overlaps with the practice of massage.
s. 4, ch. 78-436; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 1, ch. 87-267; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 150, ch. 97-264.
Board of Massage Therapy.—
The Board of Massage Therapy is created within the department. The board shall consist of seven members, who shall be appointed by the Governor and whose function it shall be to carry out the provisions of this act.
Five members of the board shall be licensed massage therapists and shall have been engaged in the practice of massage for not less than 5 consecutive years prior to the date of appointment to the board. The Governor shall appoint each member for a term of 4 years. Two members of the board shall be laypersons. Each board member shall be a high school graduate or shall have received a graduate equivalency diploma. Each board member shall be a citizen of the United States and a resident of this state for not less than 5 years. The appointments will be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
The Governor may at any time fill vacancies on the board for the remainder of unexpired terms. Each member of the board shall hold over after the expiration of her or his term until her or his successor has been duly appointed and qualified. No board member shall serve more than two terms, whether full or partial.
The board shall, in the month of January, elect from its number a chair and a vice chair.
The board shall hold such meetings during the year as it may determine to be necessary, one of which shall be the annual meeting. The chair of the board shall have the authority to call other meetings at her or his discretion. A quorum of the board shall consist of not less than four members.
Board members shall receive per diem and mileage as provided in s. 112.061 from the place of residence to the place of meeting and return.
The board has authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this chapter.
s. 5, ch. 78-436; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 51, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 2, 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 51, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 170, ch. 94-218; s. 411, ch. 97-103; s. 151, ch. 97-264; s. 151, ch. 98-200.
Accountability of board members.—
Each board member shall be held accountable to the Governor for the proper performance of all duties and obligations of such board member’s office. The Governor shall cause to be investigated any complaints or unfavorable reports received concerning the actions of the board or its individual members and shall take appropriate action thereon, which may include removal of any board member for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, commission of a felony, incompetency, or permanent inability to perform official duties.
s. 6, ch. 78-436; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 4, ch. 91-429.
The department shall provide all investigative services required in carrying out the provisions of this act.
s. 9, ch. 78-436; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 3, 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 4, ch. 91-429.
Massage therapists; qualifications; licensure; endorsement.—
Any person is qualified for licensure as a massage therapist under this act who:
Is at least 18 years of age or has received a high school diploma or graduate equivalency diploma;
Has completed a course of study at a board-approved massage school or has completed an apprenticeship program that meets standards adopted by the board; and
Has received a passing grade on an examination administered by the department.
Every person desiring to be examined for licensure as a massage therapist shall apply to the department in writing upon forms prepared and furnished by the department. Such applicants shall be subject to the provisions of s. 480.046(1). Applicants may take an examination administered by the department only upon meeting the requirements of this section as determined by the board.
Upon an applicant’s passing the examination and paying the initial licensure fee, the department shall issue to the applicant a license, valid until the next scheduled renewal date, to practice massage.
The board shall adopt rules:
Establishing a minimum training program for apprentices.
Providing for educational standards, examination, and certification for the practice of colonic irrigation, as defined in s. 480.033(6), by massage therapists.
Specifying licensing procedures for practitioners desiring to be licensed in this state who hold an active license and have practiced in any other state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States or any foreign national jurisdiction which has licensing standards substantially similar to, equivalent to, or more stringent than the standards of this state.
s. 10, ch. 78-436; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 52, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 25, 47, ch. 82-179; s. 77, ch. 83-329; ss. 4, 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 61, ch. 87-225; s. 52, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 153, ch. 94-119; s. 152, ch. 97-264.
The board shall prescribe by rule the method for renewal of biennial licensure which shall include continuing education requirements not to exceed 25 classroom hours per biennium. The board shall by rule establish criteria for the approval of continuing education programs or courses. The programs or courses approved by the board may include correspondence courses that meet the criteria for continuing education courses held in a classroom setting.
ss. 5, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 53, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 230, ch. 94-119; s. 153, ch. 97-264.
The board shall specify by rule the general areas of competency to be covered by examinations for licensure. These rules shall include the relative weight assigned in grading each area, the grading criteria to be used by the examiner, and the score necessary to achieve a passing grade. The board shall ensure that examinations adequately measure an applicant’s competency. Professional testing services may be utilized to formulate the examinations.
The board shall ensure that examinations comply with state and federal equal employment opportunity guidelines.
The department shall, in accordance with rules established by the board, examine persons who file applications for licensure under this act in all matters pertaining to the practice of massage. A written examination shall be offered at least once yearly and at such other times as the department shall deem necessary.
The board shall adopt rules providing for reexamination of applicants who have failed the examination.
All licensing examinations shall be conducted in such manner that the applicant shall be known to the department by number until her or his examination is completed and the proper grade determined. An accurate record of each examination shall be made; and that record, together with all examination papers, shall be filed with the State Surgeon General and shall be kept for reference and inspection for a period of not less than 2 years immediately following the examination.
s. 11, ch. 78-436; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 53, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 154, ch. 94-119; s. 412, ch. 97-103; s. 154, ch. 97-264; s. 96, ch. 2008-6.
Massage establishments; requisites; licensure; inspection.—
No massage establishment shall be allowed to operate without a license granted by the department in accordance with rules adopted by the board.
The board shall adopt rules governing the operation of establishments and their facilities, personnel, safety and sanitary requirements, financial responsibility, insurance coverage, and the license application and granting process.
Any person, firm, or corporation desiring to operate a massage establishment in the state shall submit to the department an application, upon forms provided by the department, accompanied by any information requested by the department and an application fee.
Upon receiving the application, the department may cause an investigation to be made of the proposed massage establishment.
If, based upon the application and any necessary investigation, the department determines that the proposed establishment would fail to meet the standards adopted by the board under subsection (2), the department shall deny the application for license. Such denial shall be in writing and shall list the reasons for denial. Upon correction of any deficiencies, an applicant previously denied permission to operate a massage establishment may reapply for licensure.
If, based upon the application and any necessary investigation, the department determines that the proposed massage establishment may reasonably be expected to meet the standards adopted by the department under subsection (2), the department shall grant the license under such restrictions as it shall deem proper as soon as the original licensing fee is paid.
Once issued, no license for operation of a massage establishment may be transferred from one owner to another.
A license may be transferred from one location to another only after inspection and approval by the board and receipt of an application and inspection fee set by rule of the board, not to exceed $125.
A license may be transferred from one business name to another after approval by the board and receipt of an application fee set by rule of the board, not to exceed $25.
Renewal of license registration for massage establishments shall be accomplished pursuant to rules adopted by the board. The board is further authorized to adopt rules governing delinquent renewal of licenses and may impose penalty fees for delinquent renewal.
The board is authorized to adopt rules governing the periodic inspection of massage establishments licensed under this act.
s. 12, ch. 78-436; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 54, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 6, 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 156, ch. 97-264.
The board shall set fees according to the following schedule:
Massage therapist application and examination fee: not to exceed $250.
Massage therapist initial licensure fee: not to exceed $150.
Establishment application fee: not to exceed $200.
Establishment licensure fee: not to exceed $150.
Biennial establishment renewal fee: not to exceed $150.
Biennial massage therapist licensure renewal fee: not to exceed $200.
Massage therapist reexamination fee: not to exceed $250.
Fee for apprentice: not to exceed $100.
Colonics examination fee: not to exceed $100.
Colonics reexamination fee: not to exceed $100.
Application and reactivation for inactive status of a massage therapist license fee: not to exceed $250.
Renewal fee for inactive status: not to exceed $250.
The department shall impose a late fee not to exceed $150 on a delinquent renewal of a massage establishment license.
The board may establish by rule an application fee not to exceed $100 for anyone seeking approval to provide continuing education courses and may provide by rule for a fee not to exceed $50 for renewal of providership.
The department is authorized to charge the cost of any original license or permit, as set forth in this chapter, for the issuance of any duplicate licenses or permits requested by any massage therapist or massage establishment.
All moneys collected by the department from fees authorized by this act shall be paid into the Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund in the department and shall be applied in accordance with the provisions of s. 456.025. The Legislature may appropriate any excess moneys from this fund to the General Revenue Fund.
s. 13, ch. 78-436; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 55, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 7, 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 24, ch. 88-205; s. 54, ch. 89-162; s. 55, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 157, ch. 97-264; s. 127, ch. 98-166; s. 187, ch. 2000-160.
Grounds for disciplinary action by the board.—
The following acts constitute grounds for denial of a license or disciplinary action, as specified in s. 456.072(2):
Attempting to procure a license to practice massage by bribery or fraudulent misrepresentation.
Having a license to practice massage revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted against, including the denial of licensure, by the licensing authority of another state, territory, or country.
Being convicted or found guilty, regardless of adjudication, of a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of massage or to the ability to practice massage. Any plea of nolo contendere shall be considered a conviction for purposes of this chapter.
False, deceptive, or misleading advertising.
Aiding, assisting, procuring, or advising any unlicensed person to practice massage contrary to the provisions of this chapter or to a rule of the department or the board.
Making deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in the practice of massage.
Being unable to practice massage with reasonable skill and safety by reason of illness or use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material or as a result of any mental or physical condition. In enforcing this paragraph, the department shall have, upon probable cause, authority to compel a massage therapist to submit to a mental or physical examination by physicians designated by the department. Failure of a massage therapist to submit to such examination when so directed, unless the failure was due to circumstances beyond her or his control, shall constitute an admission of the allegations against her or him, consequent upon which a default and final order may be entered without the taking of testimony or presentation of evidence. A massage therapist affected under this paragraph shall at reasonable intervals be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate that she or he can resume the competent practice of massage with reasonable skill and safety to clients.
Gross or repeated malpractice or the failure to practice massage with that level of care, skill, and treatment which is recognized by a reasonably prudent massage therapist as being acceptable under similar conditions and circumstances.
Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law or accepting and performing professional responsibilities which the licensee knows or has reason to know that she or he is not competent to perform.
Delegating professional responsibilities to a person when the licensee delegating such responsibilities knows or has reason to know that such person is not qualified by training, experience, or licensure to perform.
Violating a lawful order of the board or department previously entered in a disciplinary hearing, or failing to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena of the department.
Refusing to permit the department to inspect the business premises of the licensee during regular business hours.
Failing to keep the equipment and premises of the massage establishment in a clean and sanitary condition.
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.
Violating any provision of this chapter or chapter 456, or any rules adopted pursuant thereto.
The board may enter an order denying licensure or imposing any of the penalties in s. 456.072(2) against any applicant for licensure or licensee who is found guilty of violating any provision of subsection (1) of this section or who is found guilty of violating any provision of s. 456.072(1).
The board shall have the power to revoke or suspend the license of a massage establishment licensed under this act, or to deny subsequent licensure of such an establishment, in either of the following cases:
Upon proof that a license has been obtained by fraud or misrepresentation.
Upon proof that the holder of a license is guilty of fraud or deceit or of gross negligence, incompetency, or misconduct in the operation of the establishment so licensed.
Disciplinary proceedings shall be conducted pursuant to the provisions of chapter 120.
s. 15, ch. 78-436; s. 2, ch. 81-318; s. 78, ch. 83-329; ss. 8, 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 1, ch. 88-233; s. 56, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 413, ch. 97-103; s. 45, ch. 2001-277; s. 21, ch. 2005-240.
Each massage therapist or massage establishment licensed under the provisions of this act shall include the number of the license in any advertisement of massage services appearing in any newspaper, airwave transmission, telephone directory, or other advertising medium. Pending licensure of a new massage establishment pursuant to the provisions of s. 480.043(6), the license number of a licensed massage therapist who is an owner or principal officer of the establishment may be used in lieu of the license number for the establishment.
ss. 9, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 2, ch. 88-233; s. 57, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-429.
It is unlawful for any person to:
Hold himself or herself out as a massage therapist or to practice massage unless duly licensed under this chapter or unless otherwise specifically exempted from licensure under this chapter.
Operate any massage establishment unless it has been duly licensed as provided herein, except that nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the teaching of massage in this state at a board-approved massage school.
Permit an employed person to practice massage unless duly licensed as provided herein.
Present as his or her own the license of another.
Allow the use of his or her license by an unlicensed person.
Give false or forged evidence to the department in obtaining any license provided for herein.
Falsely impersonate any other licenseholder of like or different name.
Use or attempt to use a license that has been revoked.
Otherwise violate any of the provisions of this act.
Any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
s. 16, ch. 78-436; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 10, 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 58, ch. 89-374; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 414, ch. 97-103; s. 158, ch. 97-264.
Sexual misconduct in the practice of massage therapy.—
The massage therapist-patient relationship is founded on mutual trust. Sexual misconduct in the practice of massage therapy means violation of the massage therapist-patient relationship through which the massage therapist uses that relationship to induce or attempt to induce the patient to engage, or to engage or attempt to engage the patient, in sexual activity outside the scope of practice or the scope of generally accepted examination or treatment of the patient. Sexual misconduct in the practice of massage therapy is prohibited.
s. 159, ch. 97-264.
As cumulative to any other remedy or criminal prosecution, the department may file a proceeding in the name of the state seeking issuance of a restraining order, injunction, or writ of mandamus against any person who is or has been violating any of the provisions of this act or the lawful rules or orders of the department.
s. 18, ch. 78-436; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 4, ch. 91-429.
Power of county or municipality to regulate massage.—
A county or municipality, within its jurisdiction, may regulate persons and establishments licensed under this chapter. Such regulation shall not exceed the powers of the state under this act or be inconsistent with this act. This section shall not be construed to prohibit a county or municipality from enacting any regulation of persons or establishments not licensed pursuant to this act.
s. 20, ch. 78-436; ss. 13, 15, 25, 30, 34, 56, 62, ch. 80-406; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 13, ch. 85-280; s. 4, ch. 91-429.