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Board of Massage Therapists

Frequently Asked Questions

The Practice of Massage Therapy

Where can I find the Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, and Establishment Standards of Operation?

It is important to review the Board of Massage Therapists Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice, and Establishment Standards of Operation. Failure to comply with these standards may result in licensing action.

What is the legal definition of the practice of massage therapy?

It is not legal to practice massage therapy for any form of compensation with techniques consistent with the following definition while not holding a current massage therapy license.

(5) "practice of massage therapy" means the provision, for compensation, of a service involving the systematic manipulation and treatment of the soft tissues, including the muscular and connective tissues of the human body, to enhance the functions of those tissues and promote relaxation and well-being; in this paragraph, "manipulation and treatment."

(A) includes manual techniques applied with the intent to physically affect local soft tissues, such as pressure, friction, stroking, percussion, kneading, vibration, muscular assessment by palpation, range of motion for purposes of demonstrating muscle exertion for muscle flexibility, nonspecific stretching, and application of superficial heat, cold, water, lubricants, or salts;
(B) does not include diagnosis, the prescription of drugs or medicines, the practice of physical therapy, attempts to manipulate any articulation of the body or spine, or mobilization of these articulations by use of a thrusting force.

I’m a licensed massage therapist in Alaska, am I required to have liability insurance?

It is not a requirement that massage therapists carry liability insurance. However, the Board of Massage Therapists strongly recommends you do carry insurance to protect your clients, yourself, and your business.

What does SOP #2 mean when it says to “maintain a record of daily clientele including name and date of service and adequate progress notes when applicable”?

12 AAC 79.900 and Standards of Practice (SOP) #2 is about chart noting and HIPAA compliance.

Therapists must keep chart notes in patient files on patients presenting with a prescription and diagnosis from a clinician. Charting for files in clinician offices/settings are to remain with the clinician’s office and should not be removed by therapists. Keeping in compliance with HIPAA, files are kept secure and out of public view.

Therapists must keep a daily log of clients and patients. This log will be made available to legal or investigative staff if requested.

LMT’s are not expected to keep detailed chart notes for walk in/cash paying clients, but a log and/or record of daily clients must be kept according to Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice.

For more information about HIPAA and how it affects LMT’s in Alaska, please go to HHS's HIPAA for Professionals webpage.

Can Licensed Massage Therapists use or sell CBD Oil?

In the December 6-7, 2018 meeting, the board was informed that CBD oil is not officially legal until the regulatory framework established by the passage of SB 6, an industrial hemp bill that is being completed by the Department of Natural Resources*.

The board understands that CBD is currently readily available and is being used in conjunction with massage therapy. The board does not intend to prioritize complaint cases of a licensed massage therapist's use of lotions or oils unless a significant impact to life, health, and safety such as a severe allergic or psychotropic reaction has been demonstrated. CBD oil complaint cases are seen as a poor use of Division resources and licensing fees by this board. The board would advise caution until the regulatory process is in place and urge licensees and clients to read the alert issued by the Alaska Department of Law prior to use of CBD oil.

Alaska Department of Law CBD Consumer Alert
If and when a complaint is filed regarding the use of illegal lotions or oils, the board is obligated to uphold the regulation included in the Standards of Practice requiring licensees to obey all applicable local, state, and federal laws when pertaining to massage therapy.

For more information on CBD or the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, please e-mail: IndustrialHemp@Alaska.Gov or refer to the following links:

*In the summer of 2019, this office was notified by the Department of Natural Resources that the regulatory framework being drafted was suspended indefinitely due to budget cuts introduced by the Governor’s office.

Licensing of Massage Therapy

How do I get a license?

Currently, initial applications are not processed online and will need to mailed with the required FD-258 fingerprint card.

Qualifications for application can be found on the Board of Massage Therapists Website.

What is the application process? How long will it take to get my license?

Your My Alaska Account is the best way to track your application status. When your initial application is processed, you will receive a prompt in your email informing you that you can now check the status of your application through our web Portal, MYLICENSE. The subject line will read, ‘State of Alaska – Professional License Authorization’ and will be sent from This email includes your authorization code, which is embedded in the link titled, ‘Complete Authorization.’

Applications have many contributors besides the person submitting it. In addition to the portion you submit, the licensing examiner must also receive your transcript and exam scores (if applying by Examination) directly from the institution or organization. These items cannot be accepted from the applicant.

Here is an idea of what this process looks like:

  1. You mail in your application:
    Alaska is BIG and Juneau can be far away from where you are mailing your application from. It could take 5-7 business days for your application to arrive at the State Office Building.
  2. Your application arrives at the State Office Building:
    The licensing examiner does not personally check the incoming mail or fax machine. All incoming mail goes to a mail room that sorts correspondence for the entire state! It can take up to 10 business days for mail to be sorted and sent to the correct department.
  3. Your application is delivered to the correct department:
    All applications are processed in the order they are received. Licensing examiners strive to do your initial application review within 10 business days. When your application has been reviewed, you will be sent an initial status update to your preferred method of contact that was indicated on your application. This status update will confirm that your application has been received and what documentation is needed for your file to be complete.
  4. Your file is complete:
    Once all your documents have been received, the licensing examiner will do a last review to make sure your file is complete. When this is verified, your application file will be sent to the Board of Massage Therapists for review and vote.
  5. Your file is sent to the board for review:
    The Board of Massage Therapists reviews applications twice a month. Please allow them 10 business days to render their votes.
  6. The board votes on your application:
    There are four possible outcomes to this process:
    1. Your license is approved! You will receive a status update letting you know the good news and that your license is active as of that day. A hard copy will be mailed to your address within 5 business days.
    2. Your license is approved pending.This means the board needs to see additional information in order to make a decision. You will be notified of this outcome by your preferred method of contact. Once you have submitted the requested information, the board will reconsider your application.
    3. Your application is “tabled." This means that the board could not reach a majority vote. Your application review will be put on hold until the next scheduled board meeting. You will be notified of this outcome by your preferred method of contact.
    4. Your license is denied. The board decided by a majority vote to deny your license in compliance with a statute from AS 08. You will be given the option to appeal if you choose. You will be notified of this outcome by certified mail.
Can I still apply by Transition?

The deadline to apply by Transition ended on July 1, 2017 (12 AAC 79.120).

What are Board Approved Schools?

Sec. 08.61.100. Definitions. In this chapter,
(1) "approved massage school" means a massage therapy school or program that
(A) has an authorization to operate from the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education or a similar entity in another state; or
(B) is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency;

What are the education requirements?

An applicant for a massage therapy license must show successful completion of not less than 625 hours of in-class supervised instruction and clinical work from an approved massage school. The practical application portion of the approved massage school curriculum is not more than 20 percent of the total hours of the massage therapy program.

“In-class supervised instruction” means education received either in a physical classroom or through online distance education.

“Practical application” means a hands-on application of various clinical modalities dedicated to the practice of massage therapy.

How do I get my transcripts if my school is closed?

The board must receive official transcripts directly from the institution or agency when applying for licensure. If your school has closed, normally state agencies assume responsibility for those transcripts. Please contact the state licensing agency for more information on where they house those transcripts.

In Alaska, the Alaska Commission on Post-Secondary Education houses transcripts for closed schools. Please use their Transcript Request Form.

I have completed a massage program, but it was less than the required hours, can I still apply?

A course of study of at least 625 hours of in-class supervised instruction and clinical work from an approved massage school is required to qualify when applying by examination. If you do not meet this requirement, it is recommended that you complete additional massage therapy education before applying for a license.

My license application is in process; may I start work?

No. No one may practice as a massage therapist without a current/unrestricted license issued by the State of Alaska.

How do I know if my criminal history will keep me from getting a license?

The Board of Massage Therapists is tasked by the State of Alaska to protect public safety. If your criminal history is determined by the board to not impact your ability to practice competently and safely, you will not be denied a license for your criminal history if you disclose everything properly on your application.

What is the definition of a crime of moral turpitude?

12 AAC 79.910 provides the definition of moral turpitude:
(1) homicide;
(2) manslaughter;
(3) assault;
(4) stalking;
(5) kidnapping;
(6) sexual assault;
(7) sexual abuse of a minor;
(8) unlawful exploitation of a minor, including possession or distribution of child pornography;
(9) indecent exposure;
(10) unlawful distribution or possession for distribution of a controlled substance;
(11) prostitution;
(12) sex trafficking;
(13) murder;
(14) human trafficking;
(15) criminal sexual conduct;
(16) incest;
(17) robbery;
(18) extortion;
(19) forgery;
(20) theft;
(21) endangering the welfare of a child;
(22) endangering the welfare of a vulnerable adult;
(23) reckless endangerment.

License Renewal 2023-2025

Information for the 2023-2025 renewal requirements can be found here.

Massage Establishments

On March 25, 2020, regulation 12 AAC 79.930 went into effect requiring any person or business not exempt to register their massage establishment with the state of Alaska. Applications can be found on the Board’s Applications and Forms Webpage.

Per regulation 12 AAC 79.930, Massage Establishments are defined as a fixed or mobile place of business that engages in, conducts, or permits massage or massage therapy to be conducted for any form of compensation or uses the word “massage” in any solicitation or advertisement. This definition also applies to establishments that have employees who are massage therapists.

Am I considered a Massage Establishment?

A business owner who also holds a license in any of the following professions is exempt from having to register as a Massage Establishment:

  • Acupuncturist
  • Advanced practice registered nurse
  • Chiropractor
  • Direct-entry midwife
  • Massage therapist
  • Naturopath
  • Physician, osteopath, mobile intensive care paramedic, or physician assistant
  • Physical or occupational therapist

This means, if you own or work for an above licensed facility or professional (either as an employee or independent contractor) these businesses do not have to register as a Massage Establishment. If you own a business who has massage therapy employees AND you are NOT on the list of exemptions; you must register as a Massage Establishment.

Who's responsible for costs and paperwork for a Massage Establishment?

The owner of the establishment is responsible for filing, paying for and maintaining any documents necessary to be in compliance with 12 AAC 79.930.

Board of Massage Therapists

Who are the board members, and how do I apply to become a board member?

For information on board members and appointments click here.

How do I attend a board meeting, teleconference, or Zoom meeting?

The meeting schedule is posted on the Board of Massage Therapists Meetings and Agendas Webpage. Any licensed massage therapist that attends at least 80% of a regularly scheduled Board of Massage Therapists board meeting can receive 1 continuing education credit once every biennial licensing period. Please contact the licensing examiner for details. Zoom meeting information is available on posted agendas. If you would like to attend an in- person meeting, it will be in one of two locations:

  1. Juneau - State Office Building, 333 Willoughby Ave, 9th floor. (See agenda for room.)
  2. Anchorage - Robert Atwood Building, 550 W. 7th Ave. (See agenda for room.)

Persons wishing to address the board should reference the agenda for the time allotted for Public Comment.

Why can I NOT contact the Board members directly?

The board is appointed by the Governor and falls under the Open Meeting Act. What this means to the public is that the board cannot have contact, discuss board business, and/or correspond with the public in any way.

If you need to get information to the board, or have questions that you would like to have the board address, you can do one of 2 things:

  1. Write an email to the licensing examiner and request that it be presented to the board at its next regularly scheduled board meeting.
  2. Speak at a board meeting during the public comment period. You can call in or be present physically. The board’s meeting agendas are always posted on their home page with the public comment time.