Florida Massage Laws

Florida massage Laws are designed to protect the public from unqualified massage practitioners by ensuring that massage therapists “have a knowledge of anatomy and physiology and an understanding of the relationship between the structure and the function of the tissues being treated, and the total function of the body.” Massage therapy is strictly regulated in Florida by the Florida Board of Massage Therapy under the Florida Department of Health.

For a complete list of the Laws governing massage therapists and massage establishment owners, please refer to the official government website.  Below is my interpretation of some of the more important Florida Massage Laws and is only meant to give the reader some idea of the rules and regulations that may apply. In addition to the various state statutes, there may be county laws, rules, and regulations that apply to a specific location or in a specific scenario.

Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida

What is Massage?

According to the Florida Board of Massage Therapy, massage is “the manipulation of the soft tissues of the human body with the hand, foot, arm, or elbow, whether or not such manipulation is aided by hydrotherapy, including colonic irrigation, or thermal therapy; any electrical or mechanical device; or the application to the human body of a chemical or herbal preparation.”

Qualifications to Become a Massage Therapist in Florida

In order to become a massage therapist in Florida a person must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Pass a background check including criminal and health history.
  • Complete a 12-month apprenticeship program or a course of study of at least 500 hours from a school approved by the Florida Board of Education.
  • Complete a medical errors course.
  • Complete a course on human trafficking
  • Complete HIV/AIDS course.
  • Complete the Florida Laws and Rules course.
  • Pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.

There are also continuing educational requirements that must be satisfied in order to retain a license once one has been granted of approximately 25 hours every two years. 

Florida Draping Laws?

Draping is the technique of uncovering only the part of the body that is being worked on during a massage. Draping allows the client to be totally nude underneath a sheet or other cloth and still feel safe, warm, and unexposed.  Draping also provides the massage therapist the freedom to massage all parts of the body without being encumbered by the client’s clothing.

Some states require draping while others do not.  The Florida Administrative Code 64B7-30.001  provides that draping is required “UNLESS the client gives specific informed consent to be undraped.”

Appointment of Designated Establishment Manager

As of July 1, 2019 every massage establishment must name a Designated Establishment Manager under Section 480.043 of the Florida Statutes.

Post Information Regarding Human Trafficking

Massage Establishments are required to implement a procedure for reporting suspected human trafficking by January 1, 2021 and have a sign outlining that procedure posted in their establishment.


Each massage therapist or massage establishment licensed in Florida must include the license number in any advertisement of massage services appearing in a newspaper, airwave transmission, telephone directory, or other advertising medium.

Hours of Operation

The hours that a massage establishment can be open for business is regulated by the state. Massage establishments may not be open between midnight and 5am, with certain exceptions when acting under the prescriptions of certain physicians and their assistants.

Documents Required by Massage Therapists at Work

Any person providing massage services to the public, or owner of an establishment providing such services, must be able to present a valid government issued identification card (driver’s license, passport, etc.) Each massage therapist must have a current massage license and each massage establishment owner must have a current massage establishment license and insurance coverage.

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