The Board of Massage Therapy was created in 2003. Current statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§32-4201 through 32-4260.
The Board of Massage Therapy (Board) was established to promote the practice of massage therapy by qualified professionals and to establish a comprehensive statewide licensing authority to replace redundant licensing and fee collections by local jurisdictions. See Laws 2003, Chapter 202, Section 8, Purpose.
The Board consists of five members, three licensed massage therapists and two public members, who are appointed by the Governor to five-year terms. The Board regulates the practice of massage therapy, licenses qualified applicants and is authorized to take enforcement actions and disciplinary actions against licensees.
The Massage Therapy Fund is administered by the Board. The Board deposits ten percent of the monies collected into the state General Fund for use as determined by the Legislature. The remaining ninety percent is deposited into the Massage Therapy Fund to be used for administration and enforcement purposes by the Board.
The House and Senate Health Committees of Reference (COR) met December 5, 2001 to consider a sunrise application for massage therapists. “Sunrise” is the statutory, legislative process of evaluating new or increased regulation of a health profession. After discussion and testimony, the COR recommended the sunrise application be accepted. See COR Meeting Minutes, December 5, 2001, page 6. Two bills were introduced in January, 2002 (SB 1044 and HB 2111). Neither measure passed.
On November 21, 2002, the Senate and House Health COR met to consider another sunrise application for massage therapists. Senator Gerard explained that lack of state General Fund monies prevented legislation from advancing, however “…the Naturopathic Board had agreed to take in this profession and advance monies, which will be paid back, since the Naturopathic Board is in the financial shape to do so.” After discussion and testimony, the COR moved to “recommend to the Legislature approval of regulation of massage therapists under the Naturopathic Board.” See COR Meeting Minutes, November 21, 2002, page 13.
Laws 2003, Chapter 202 established the Board, its powers and duties. The measure outlined qualifications for licensure, established educational requirements and fees, created the Massage Therapy Fund, listed grounds for disciplinary action, provided the Board with investigative authority and prescribed penalties. The measure allowed cities and counties to adopt and enforce regulations related to the practice of massage therapy as long as the regulations are consistent with statutory provisions. Massage therapists licensed by a city or political subdivision of the state prior to the effective date of the 2003 measure were grandfathered.
The measure also required the Executive Director of the Naturopathic Physicians Board of Medical Examiners (NPBME) to serve as the Executive Director of the Board of Massage Therapy. In addition, the staff of the NPBME was responsible for carrying out the administrative responsibilities of the Board of Massage Therapy. A separate account was established within the NPBME Fund for monies collected by the Board of Massage Therapy. The Board was authorized to use the monies in the separate account. (Note: the provisions related to the executive director, staffing and the separate account were repealed in 2013.) The measure appropriated $75,000 from the NPBME Fund in fiscal year 2003-2004 to the separate account established for the Board for start-up and operating costs. Repayment was required no later than June 30, 2006.
Laws 2004, Chapter 99 extended the deadline to obtain a massage therapist license from the Board, from July 1, 2004 to January 1, 2005. A second measure enacted in 2004 specified that massage therapy does not include occupational therapy or athletic training. See Laws 2004, Chapter 130.
Laws 2005, Chapter 160 extended the deadline to obtain a massage therapist license from the Board, from January 1, 2005 to July 1, 2005.
Laws 2007, Chapter 65 allowed the Board to issue a nondisciplinary order requiring a licensee to complete continuing education courses. This applied in cases where an investigation of an allegation was not serious enough to trigger a disciplinary action.
Laws 2013, Chapter 108 established the Board of Massage Therapy Fund and repealed the separate account for the Board within the NPBME Fund. The measure authorized the Board to hire an executive director and deleted the responsibility of NPBME staff to carry out administrative responsibilities of the Board as provided in the initial 2003 legislation.
Laws 2014, Chapter 151 outlined advertising requirements for massage therapists and massage therapy businesses, required a massage therapy business to retain proof of age for massage therapists whose services are offered in an advertisement, and established penalties for violations of the requirements.
Laws 2019, Chapter 195 allowed the Board to authorize its executive director to issue licenses, certifications, registrations, preceptorships, reinstatements and waivers to eligible applicants who meet the requirements identified in the statute. The measure addressed temporary licenses. Section 32-3124.I states: “This section applies to a health profession regulatory board to the extent that this section does not conflict with the board’s current statutory authority relating to temporary licensure.” https://www.azleg.gov/legtext/54Leg/1R/laws/0195.pdf The Board may adopt rules to carry out the new provisions.
A second enactment in 2019 requires the Board to regulate the unauthorized practice of the profession by investigating complaints and referring verified complaints to the county attorney or attorney general for prosecution. See Laws 2019, Chapter 227.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§32-4201 through 32-4260
- Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.) §§R4-15-101 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 2003, Chapter 202
- Laws 2004, Chapter 99 and Chapter 130
- Laws 2005, Chapter 160
- Laws 2007, Chapter 65
- Laws 2013, Chapter 108
- Laws 2014, Chapter 151
- Laws 2019, Chapter 195 and Chapter 227
Regulation of Health Professions (Sunrise process). See A.R.S. §§ 32-3101 et seq.
House of Representatives and Senate Health Committees of Reference Minutes of Meeting,
December 5, 2001. Arizona House of Representatives 45th Legislature, First Regular Session.
Senate Health and House Health Committees of Reference for Sunset Hearings and Sunrise
Hearings. Minutes of Meeting, November 21, 2002. Arizona State Legislature 45th Legislature, Second Regular Session.
Sunrise review of the massage therapists: Senate Health and House of Representatives Health Committee of Reference Report: Call number LG 9.2:M 17
Related Collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 233 – Arizona Board of Massage Therapy