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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 26: Professions and Occupations

Chapter 105: MASSAGE THERAPISTS, BODYWORKERS, AND TOUCH PROFESSIONALS

  • Subchapter 001: GENERAL PROVISIONS
  • § 5401. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) “Director” means the Director of the Office of Professional Regulation.

    (2)(A) “Establishment” means any place of business that:

    (i) offers the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork or where the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork is conducted on the premises of the business; or

    (ii) represents itself to the public by any title or description of services incorporating the words “touch professional,” “bodywork,” “massage,” “massage therapy,” “massage therapist,” “massage practitioner,” “massagist,” “masseur,” “masseuse,” “energy work,” or other words identified by the Director in rules.

    (B) A “place of business” includes any office, clinic, facility, salon, spa, or other location not otherwise exempted under section 5404 of this chapter where a person or persons engage in the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork.

    (3) “Practice of massage” and “practice of bodywork” mean offering or engaging in massage or bodywork in exchange for consideration.

    (4)(A) “Massage” and “Bodywork” mean systems of structured touch that are:

    (i)(I) applied to the superficial, soft or deep tissue, muscle, or connective tissue of another person by manual means, including friction, gliding, rocking, tapping, kneading, and nonspecific stretching; or

    (II) designed to affect the energy fields of the body for the purpose of promoting and maintaining health and well-being; and

    (ii) provided to clients in a manner in which the clients have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    (B) Massage and bodywork may include the use of therapies such as heliotherapy or hydrotherapy; the use of moist, hot, and cold external applications; and the use of oils or other lubricants.

    (C) Neither massage nor bodywork include the diagnosis of illness, disease, impairment, or disability.

    (5) “Massage therapist, bodyworker, or touch professional” means a person who holds a registration from the Office to practice massage or practice bodywork or both. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)

  • § 5402. Prohibitions

    (a) An individual shall not engage in or offer the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork unless the individual is registered with the Office.

    (b) It shall be a violation of this chapter for any individual to engage in the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork, or to offer to engage in the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork, if the individual’s registration has been suspended or revoked.

    (c) An individual shall not use in connection with the individual’s name any letters, words, titles, or insignia indicating or implying that the individual is offering or engaging in the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork, including the terms “massage therapist,” “bodyworker,” or “touch professional,” unless the individual holds a registration in accordance with this chapter. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)

  • § 5403. Unauthorized practice

    Any individual who engages in the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork without a registration from the Office shall be subject to the penalties provided in 3 V.S.A. § 127 (unauthorized practice). (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)

  • § 5404. Exemptions

    (a) The following shall not require a registration under this chapter:

    (1) the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork by a student as part of a professional massage or bodywork education program;

    (2) the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork by an apprentice as part of a massage or bodywork apprenticeship; or

    (3) the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork provided to clients in a manner in which the clients do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    (b) The provisions of this chapter requiring individuals to be registered shall not apply to individuals who engage in or offer the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork in the course of their customary duties as physicians, podiatrists, physician assistants, nurses, including advanced practice registered nurses, osteopaths, acupuncturists, athletic trainers, barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, electrologists, chiropractors, midwives, naturopathic physicians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, or respiratory care practitioners.

    (c) Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a massage therapist, bodyworker, or touch professional from engaging in or offering the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork at a location that is not an establishment, so long as prior to engaging in that practice at that location, the registrant and his or her client agree that the location is acceptable. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)


  • Subchapter 002: ADMINISTRATION
  • § 5411. Duties of the Director

    (a) Generally. The Director shall:

    (1) provide general information to applicants for registration as a massage therapist, bodyworker, or touch professional;

    (2) receive applications for registration and provide registrations to applicants qualified under this chapter;

    (3) administer fees as established by law;

    (4) refer all disciplinary matters to an administrative law officer;

    (5) explain appeal procedures to applicants and registrants; and

    (6) explain complaint procedures to the public.

    (b) Rules.

    (1) The Director shall adopt rules requiring a massage therapist, bodyworker, or touch professional to disclose to each new client before the first treatment the following information:

    (A) the professional qualifications and experience of the registrant;

    (B) actions that constitute unprofessional conduct;

    (C) the method for filing a complaint against a registrant; and

    (D) the method for making a consumer inquiry with the Office.

    (2) The Director shall adopt rules regarding the display of:

    (A) the registrations of employed or contracted massage therapists, bodyworkers, or touch professionals at an establishment; and

    (B) information regarding unprofessional conduct and filing complaints with the Office.

    (3) The rules described in this subsection shall include provisions relating to the manner in which the information disclosed shall be distributed or displayed and a requirement that a massage therapist, bodyworker, or touch professional and his or her client sign an acknowledgement that the information was disclosed.

    (4) The Director may adopt other rules as necessary to perform his or her duties under this chapter. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)

  • § 5412. Advisor appointees

    (a) The Secretary of State shall appoint three advisors of suitable qualifications, as described in this section, to advise the Director on matters relating to the practice of massage and the practice of bodywork.

    (b) The Secretary shall appoint the advisors to serve, at the Secretary’s pleasure, for five-year staggered terms. To stagger the advisors’ terms, the Secretary may initially appoint two of the advisors for less than a five-year term.

    (c) Two of the three advisors shall be massage therapists, bodyworkers, or touch professionals registered under this chapter who have been actively engaged in the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork, or both, for the three-year period immediately preceding appointment. These two advisors shall maintain their registrations in this State and be actively engaged in the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork, or both during their incumbency.

    (d) Director shall seek the advice of the advisors in carrying out the provisions of this chapter. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)


  • Subchapter 003: REGISTRATIONS
  • § 5421. Application

    A person who desires to be registered under this chapter shall apply for a registration in the manner specified by the Director, accompanied by payment of the required fee. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)

  • § 5422. Registration by endorsement

    The Director may issue a registration to an individual under this chapter if the individual holds a license, registration, certification, or other authorization to practice massage therapy or bodywork from a U.S. or Canadian jurisdiction. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)

  • § 5423. Establishments; designee and inspection

    (a) An establishment shall designate a massage therapist, bodyworker, or touch professional to be responsible for ensuring the establishment complies with the requirements of this chapter and the rules adopted by the Director.

    (b) A person authorized by the Director may enter any establishment for the purpose of inspection when a complaint has been filed with the Office regarding the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork at that establishment. A fee shall not be charged for any inspection under this subsection. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)

  • § 5424. Registration renewal

    (a) A registration under this chapter shall be renewed every two years by submission of a new, completed application and shall be accompanied by payment of the required fee.

    (b) A registration that has lapsed shall be renewed upon payment of the biennial renewal fee and the late renewal penalty. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)

  • § 5425. Fees

    Applicants and persons regulated under this chapter shall pay those fees set forth in 3 V.S.A. § 125(b). (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)

  • § 5426. Display of registration

    A massage therapist, bodyworker, or touch professional shall conspicuously display his or her registration in any establishment where the registrant is engaged in the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)

  • § 5427. Unprofessional conduct

    Unprofessional conduct means the conduct set forth in 3 V.S.A. § 129a and the following:

    (1) engaging in activities in violation of 13 V.S.A. § 2605 (voyeurism);

    (2) engaging in a sexual act with a client;

    (3) conviction of a crime committed while engaged in the practice of massage or the practice of bodywork;

    (4) performing massage or bodywork that the massage therapist, bodyworker, or touch professional knows or has reason to know has not been authorized by a client or the client’s legal representative; and

    (5) engaging in conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public. (Added 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. April 1, 2021.)