Massage Therapy has been licensed as a medical profession in the state of Ohio since 1916, remaining unchanged until 1975,
with additional changes in 1992.
The Scope of Practice for massage therapists was changed to its current form in 2004. Following is the Scope of Practice as it currently is written into Ohio law.


(A) Massage therapy is the treatment of disorders of the human body by the manipulation of soft tissue through the systematic external application of massage techniques including touch, stroking, friction, vibration, percussion, kneading, stretching, compression, and joint movements within the normal physiologic range of motion; and adjunctive thereto, the external appliction of water, heat, cold, topical preparations, and mechanical devices.

(B) A massage therapist shall not diagnose a patient's condition. A massage therapist shall evaluate whether the application of massage therapy is advisable. A massage therapist may provide information or education consistent with that evaluation, including referral to an appropriate licensed health care professional, provided that any form of treatment advised by a massage therapist falls within the scope of practice of, and relates directly to a condition that is amenable to treatment by, a massage therapist. In determining whether the application of massage therapy is advisable, a massage therapist shall be limited to taking a written or verbal inquiry, visual inspection including observation of range of motion, touch, and the taking of a pulse, temperature and blood pressure.

(C) No person shall use the words or letters "massage therapist," "licensed massage therapist," "L.M.T." or any other letters, words, abbreviations, or insignia, indicating or implying that the person is a licensed massage therapist without a valid license under Chapter 4731, of the Revised Code.

(D) A massage therapist may treat temporomandibular joint dysfunction provided that the patient has been directly referred in writing for such treatment to the massage therapist by a physician currently licensed pursuant to Chapter 4731, of the Revised Code, by a chiropractor currently licensed pursuant to Chapter 4734, of the Revised Code, or a dentist currently licensed pursuant to Chapter 4715. of the Revised Code.

(E) All persons who hold a certificate to practice massage therapy issued pursuant to section 4731.17 of the Revised Code shall prominently display that certificate in the office or place where a major portion of the certificate holder's practice is conducted. If a certificate holder does not have a primary practice location, the certificate holder shall at all times when practicing keep the wallet certificate on the holder's person.

(F) Massage therapy does not include:

  1. The application of ultrasound, diathermy, and electrical neuromuscular stimulation or substantially similar modalities;
  2. Colonic irrigation;
  3. The practice of chiropractic, including the application of a high velocity-low amplitude thrusting force to any articulation of the human body;
  4. The use of graded force applied across specific joint surfaces for the purpose of breaking capsular adhesions;
  5. The prescription of therapeutic exercise for the purpose of rehabilitation or remediation of a disorder of the human body;
  6. The treatment of infectious, contagious or veneral diseases
  7. The prescribing or administering of drugs; and
  8. The performing of surgery.

(G) As used within this rule:

  1. "External" does not prohibit a massage therapist from performing massage therapy inside the mouth or oral cavity; and
  2. "Mechanical devices" means any tool or device which mimics or enhances the actions possible by the hands that is within the scope of practice as defined in section 4731.17 of the Revised Code and this rule.

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