Massage therapy schools are licensed by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. Massage therapist must attend an approved massage therapy school, pass a licensing exam, complete a background check and apply for a massage therapy license. They also have additional training in understanding human trafficking and also implicit bias training. You can look up licenses here to confirm they are a massage therapist.
People may practice Feldenkrais, Structual Integration, Trager, Polarity/Polarity Therapy, Asian Bodywork Therapy, Reiki, Shiatsu or Reflexology without atttending massage school or applying for massage licensing. These modalities do require specific training in each method.
Michigan massage therapists use the titles like:
“licensed massage therapist”, “massage therapist”, “masseur”, “massagist”, “certified massage therapist”, “clinical massage therapist”, “medical massage therapist”, “manual massage therapist”, “board certified massage therapist”, “massage technician”, “myomassologist”, “masseuse”, “l.m.t.”, “m.m.t.”, and “c.m.t.”, or similar words or initials that indicate that the individual is a massage therapist. PUBLIC HEALTH CODE (EXCERPT) Act 368 of 1978 333.17953. Use of certain titles, words, or initials. Sec. 17953.
The practice of massage therapy in Michigan means: (from the PUBLIC HEALTH CODE (EXCERPT) Act 368 of 1978 333.17951 Definitions. Sec. 17951.)
(“d) “Practice of massage therapy” means the application of a system of structured touch, pressure, movement, and holding to the soft tissue of the human body in which the primary intent is to enhance or restore the health and well-being of the client. Practice of massage therapy includes complementary methods, including the external application of water, heat, cold, lubrication, salt scrubs, body wraps, or other topical preparations; and electromechanical devices that mimic or enhance the actions possible by the hands. Practice of massage therapy does not include medical diagnosis; practice of physical therapy; high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust to a joint; electrical stimulation; application of ultrasound; or prescription of medicines.”
There are various methods that are exempt from licensing but they do require their own training and certificates. (333.17957 Massage therapy; license required; exceptions.)These include:
- The Feldenkrais method which is a movement awaress based modailty that focuses on changing the physical habits of the body. Only people personally trained by Dr. Feldenkrais, or graduates of the Feldenkrais Guild Accredited Training Programs are eligible to be certified by, and to become members of FGNA, and to use the registered service marks Awareness through Movement®, ATM®, Functional Integration®, FI®, Feldenkrais Method®, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitionercm, and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher®.
- The Trager approach which is a gentle rocking method of working with the body. The Trager® Approach is not a technique. “It is an individual approach to your very own wellbeing based on the practitioner’s soft, questioning attitude, gentle movements and the experience of something new and pleasant.” Also called Psychophysical Integration. See more at Trager International.
- The affectation of the human energy system or acupoints or qi meridians of the human body while engaged within the scope of practice of a profession with established standards and ethics and as long as those services are not designated or implied to be massage or massage therapy.
These practices include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
Polarity or polarity therapy
Asian bodywork therapy – These are specific types of massage and bodywork that come from Asia and are based on the theories of Traditional Medicine’s meridian concept and other theories. They will use the formal names of these modalities in their list of services: Acupressure, Amma, AMMA Therapy®, Chi Nei Tsang, Five Element Shiatsu, Integrative Eclectic Shiatsu, Japanese Shiatsu, Jin Shin Do® Bodymind Acupressure®, Jin Shou Tuina™, Macrobiotic Shiatsu, MedicalQigong, Nuad Bo ‘Rarn (Traditional Thai Bodywork), Shiatsu, Shiatsu Anma Therapy, Tuina, and Zen Shiatsu.
Reiki – traditionally based energetic therapy said to realign the body’s energy systems.
Shiatsu – see Asian Bodywork above.
Reflexology – system based on the idea that are zones in the feet and hands that correlate to various areas of the body. Reflexology is different that Foot massage.
Structural integration – specific method of working with the body that focuses on the alignment of the body in gravity and posture. Look for a Certified Structural Integtator.
Massage therapists in MI will be providing care that ensures the safety and benefit of the client and will refer you to other providers when necessary. As a massage client, you have the right to end the session at any time for any reason. Your massage sessions will be charted by the massage therapist to keep a record of your health and what they found in the session.
PART 5. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS R338.751 Professional ethics.
About Licencing and Reglatory Affairs: LARA
Organization Details: Orlene Hawks Director
611 W. Ottawa
P.O. Box 30004
Lansing, MI 48909
Hours: Monday – Friday
8:00 am – 5:00 pm EST