Idaho has joined the growing roster of U.S. states requiring licensure of massage therapists.

To be eligible for licensure, massage therapists will be required to obtain 500 hours’ of massage education. The law also stipulates that the therapist must pass a nationally recognized competency examination in massage therapy that is approved by the board, but does not name a specific examination.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed the bill just days ago, and “Under the new rules, therapists will have 18 months to become licensed and pay a $200 annual fee,” according to a news report by Bloomberg Businessweek. “This changes the professional landscape significantly since anyone can [currently] claim to be a massage therapist and charge for the service,” the article stated.

Practitioners of Feldenkrais, craniosacral therapy, Asian bodywork, acupressure, polarity therapy, jin shin do, qi gong, reiki, shiatsu, Hellerwork, reflexology, Rolfing, body-mind centering and Trager work are exempt from the law.

According to a statement from the American Massage Therapy Association, “The law also provides a definition of massage therapy scope of practice, an avenue for consumer complaints and pre-emption of local ordinances currently in effect.”

Forty-three states, the District of Columbia and five Canadian provinces have passed laws to regulate the massage profession—usually through licensure, certification or registration.

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