Massage Therapy Question

Nurses Entrepreneurs


I posted this in the General Nursing section; decided to post here also. Here goes:

I have a dear nurse friend who is totally burned out with nursing. She is older, with health problems, and has been through three or four disastrous hospital "reorganizations" during her career. These reorganizations were brutal and disastrous to the nursing staff in each instance. Now my friend can hardly stand the thought of nursing in a hospital anymore. Healing is still her passion, and she has taken courses on massage therapy and practices informally in her home. Only trouble with this, the State of North Carolina now has a Board of Licensed Massage Therapists which has instigated stiff practice and licensing requirements for massage therapists since 1998. (Just another instance of us nurses losing parts of our profession... we have lost physical therapy to our domain, as well as health education, nutrition and diet therapy, social work, what will be next????) Anyway, she wants to become a licensed massage therapist in North Carolina. Does anyone know if one can "place out" by taking an examination for massage therapy and thus achieve licensure without having to go through all the arduous classes, etc (it is a two-year program--yikes!!!!). Any thoughts or info would be most appreciated


111 Posts

Specializes in inpatient hospice house.

I'm sure you can test out on some of the subjects but not all of the subjects. This is how it is with any programs.


90 Posts

You wrote.......

"Healing is still her passion, and she has taken courses on massage therapy and practices informally in her home. Only trouble with this, the State of North Carolina now has a Board of Licensed Massage Therapists which has instigated stiff practice and licensing requirements for massage therapists since 1998."

It all depends on what kind of courses she has taken. If NC has had a Board since 1998, and your friend has taken classes and practiced since then, and she does not have a license, she could very well be illegal. Depends on how she portrays herself, what the state practice requirements are, etc. If the courses weren't from an approved school (Just like nursing) then the classes that she took probably wouldn't be accepted by a State Board approved school. That would be like someone taking nursing classes from a nurse who decided she could teach it, and then that person performing nursing duties. Both sides would be totally illegal.

Massage isn't something you just go to a few classes for and then do. There are probably courses that are less than the 2 years, she would just have to look for them.

And sorry, I disagree with the idea that massage is taken away from nurses. Of course, in the olden days we gave massages with pm cares, etc. and we still should. But the regulated practice of massage is so much more. I learned so much from my massage classes......I thought I knew A&P until I took it again in my massage classes......nursing anatomy does not come close to preparing you for all you need to know.

Those stiff regulations are there for a reason. I would think your friend probably does a good job, have a nursing background, but the regulations save the field by keeping out the people who just take a few classes and call themselves massage therapists.


Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork


202 Posts

I'm not a Licensed Massage Therapist. I'm an RN who loves the NICU. One of my co-workers attended Massage Therapy school on her days off (we work three 12 hours shifts each week). The course lasted 6 to 8 months or so as I remember. Anyway, she LOVED it and said she learned so much more than she ever thought she would.

Another thought: When I took my Anatomy & Physiology classes in college, we had lots of other people in the class too... some went on to be dental hygenists, respiratory therapists, etc. Anyway, I remember one day (this was in 1987) we were all complaining to our instructor about "why we have to learn so much about the muscles" and I distinctly remember her saying something very much like: "If you were in my A&P class I'm teaching to the massage therapy students you'd have reason to whine... I'm only asking you to know the names of each muscle and locate it on a skeleton... My massage therapy students not only have to learn the muscle but the origin and insertion points too." We shut up right away! LOL

Another instance: I had a terrible pain in my back and hip which kept me out of work for 7 weeks. As part of my therapy my physician suggested massage therapy. It worked like an absolute dream! The massage therapist did a blend of Swedish and Shiatsu massage techniques. We talked about her work and she explained how difficult the licensing exam is to pass... had to know incredible details about all the muscles, tendons, and etc. She said the massage therapists are trying to elevate themsleves from the old fashioned back-room (prostitute-type) massage "parlors" in order for today's world to realize the true and profound benefit they can provide.

I'd imagine your friend could take some of the tests and pass them, but I think she'd truly enjoy learning more about massage therapy since it is her passion. As I said, my co-worker absolutely loved it! And, I love to have a massage quite often myself.

Good luck. Hope this was of some help...


13 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, ICU/CCU.

I'm a nurse/licensed massage therapist. I took the full course in massage as a change from nursing. After i went through all that, I found out that I could do massage in my state under my nursing license! Check with the board that licenses massage therapists to findout if you can be "grandfathered in" or if they allow nurses to practice massage in your state.


859 Posts

Originally posted by Anaclaire

"If you were in my A&P class I'm teaching to the massage therapy students you'd have reason to whine... I'm only asking you to know the names of each muscle and locate it on a skeleton... My massage therapy students not only have to learn the muscle but the origin and insertion points too."

O/T: Hey, how come I had to learn the origin and insertion points in MY nursing A & P class...? :o


90 Posts

Learning the origin and insertion is a Good Thing! And the innervation, and the Action, etc.

About doing massage as a nurse. Kansas does not require anything for massage therapy. I was looking at starting a program in our hospital and called our state board of nursing. They said that a nurse may do massage therapy. It is not expecially under the scope of practice, but since it is not regulated by any other agency, board, etc., then Anyone can do it, so nurses can, too. Just because a nurse can do it doesn't mean that she is Qualified, because if you go to a good MT school, you know how much you learn.

I have now stopped working at the hostpial and am working full time as a Massage therapist, again doing Medical Massage. And I am beginning to teach school. I am an On Site Trainer for a school in Utah that does distance education. I love it!!!

and I am doing treatments for insurance thru the local Medical Clinic and the hospital (they set it up different than my first hospital where i tried to get it started.) They do all the paperwork, and I just get to work on my people and do my own notes and they take out a little bit, and i get paid well from insurance!!

And I use A&P origin, insertion, action, and sometimes innvervation every day!!!



4 Posts

Honey, you don't need a licence to practice massage, just a licence to touch people!!! (Those who are licenced to touch people without it being called battery are nurses, MD's, physical therapists, ministers, chiropractors and the like). You can legally massage people as long as you don't claim to BE a massage therapist. In other words, the massage you do it basically under your RN licence and an extension of what you learned in nursing school- giving a backrub.

I have practiced massage in my home for 3 years after purchasing a professional massage video, watching it many times, refining my routine and then inviting friends and family over for free massages for practices and feedback on what I could improve, then when I got good, I charged a minimal price for my "beginner " massages, then after I felt real good about my service, I charged full price. I have had repeat customers who have raved about my product and given me thank you gifts!!! It also helped that I have HAD many massages and learned in that way what makes a good massage.

I have a history form that asks about health conditions, and includes a disclaimer in the unlikely case of injury and which they sign. Be sure to use your nursing knowledge re: asking about clotting problems, cellulitis, etc. so that you don't unwittingly aggravate any current conditions, and do not try to treat anything- refer them to the doctor for any joint conditions, previous injuries, etc.

Be sure to register your business name with the state (for about $25), then you can use your business expenses as tax write-offs! (Keep good records!) Write off all your start-up costs on your taxes. You are allowed to take a loss on a new business for three years, then you must declare a year of profit. My start up costs were about $1500!

Make sure to have a good massage table, a nice heated pad, great smelling oils, beautiful music and warm hands! This will keep 'em coming back!

You can also sell your homemade crafts, jewelry, etc. or buy products from companies at wholesale under your business name and mark them up and sell them to your customers when they come over to make extra $! (You must charge sales tax.) It's an adventure! Don't waste time with classes, just go for it!!! You already have the licence and the foundational knowledge!!! I'm pullin' for ya!!!


4,516 Posts

I suppose someone could get around the rules by calling themselves a 'massage tech' or similar if the law prohibits the word 'massage therapist' as a title without the proper credentials.

I agree Stargazer...I had to learn all the origins, insertions, and innervations in my AP class too. Today's nursing students seem to have watered down "nursing' AP, micro and chem....but I sure didn't. Took it alongside pre PT and premeds. And I'm from a lowly diploma program.

Intellikat, thanks for the good suggestions. This would be a good business for an entrepeneur type! and one you could do out of your home. I like that idea!


184 Posts

I became a certified MT 10 years ago before PA required a license? I took many Deep tissue massage classes (from Ted Looen sp? in San Fran and other CE classes) - but not from a year long school. I was wondering the same thing...when I become an RN will I be allowed to practice MT?

Good question...



4 Posts

Sure!!! Just don't call yourself a massage therapist!!!


90 Posts

IntelliKat.......... if you don't call yourself a massage therapist, what do you call yourself?

Sorry, I can't agree with you. You have a nursing license, not a massage license or certification. Of course you can do it, but in my opinion, it is not professional. Part of being professional is following the rules, in my opinion. If your state does not require certification or a license, then, unfortunately, you are OK ( for now)

The professional organizations are lobbying the legislatures in all the states that do not require any regulation. (about 20) and in many of those states, regulation is being discussed. And state legislatures are following recommendations of professional organizations and the other states who do require regulation, and looking at a minimum of 500 hours of approved schooling, and often the National Certification test.

And those who don't have documentation of schooling will have to take it. They won't be automatically grandfathered in.

You can check this info out yourself from the leading professional massage association, the American Massage Therapy Association, AMTA

When I joined the AMTA, they sent a Code of Ethics. In a nutshell

* Demonstrate commitment to provide highest quality massage therapy

* Acknowledge the inherent worth and individuality of each person

* Demonstrate professional excellence thru self assessment and continued educaiton and training

*Acknowledge confidential nature of the professional relationship

"*Conduct all business and professional activities within their scope of practice, the law of the land, and project a professional image."

*Accept responsibility to do no harm

*Refrain from engaging in any sexual conduct with clients


Some things to think about. It sounds like you probably do a good job, but go the extra mile to show your professionalism.

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