How Can I Find a Qualified Massage Therapist?


Quick Answer

A good rule of thumb is to look for the word "licensed" in a massage therapist's title. Licensing qualifications vary from state to state, but most states demand upwards of 500 hours of training and passing a written and/or practical exam, reports Massage.Ca. The American Massage Therapists' Association, or AMTA, has a search function on its site, AMTAMassage.org. This allows the public to search by location and specialty.

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Note that in a handful of states, for example New Hampshire, Virginia and New Jersey, the usual term for a qualified massage therapist is simply "massage therapist," even when licensed, as stated on Massage.Ca. Some states, including Washington, prefer the term "massage practitioner" for a qualified massage therapist.

Some states require 500 hours of practical training as well as passing of both a written and a practical exam. Arkansas is such an example. South Dakota requires just 100 hours of practical training plus the written exam, whereas in New York a massage therapist must complete 1,000 hours of practical training as well as passing both a practical and written exam, according to Massage.Ca.

In New York state, an aspiring massage therapist must be "of good moral character," at least 18 years old, meet education criteria and have completed a CPR course within three years of application, according to NYSED.gov.

Massage therapy treats various conditions, from arthritis, back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome to migraine and postural disorders, notes Massage.Ca. Certain occupations, such as work that requires sitting at a desk, or physical labor, leads to patients seeking relief through massage therapy.

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