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Where Are the Best Trained Massage Therapists?

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Massage-therapy licensing requirements vary widely from state to state and sometimes, as is the case in California, from county to county. We were surprised to learn that certain states mandate no credentials at all. Others, though, have established rigorous training programs with supervised hands-on instruction, intensive exams, and classes ranging from neurology and pathology to ethics and business. According to Michael Ryan, head massage therapist at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, perfecting one’s skills in this way is extremely important. "I felt that I became an above-average therapist only when I hit the plateau of ten thousand massages," Ryan says. The number of required classroom hours runs from 1,000 on down, with Texas weighing in at the lowest with 300. Want to know how many hours your masseur has under his belt? Here’s a state-by-state list of requirements.


1,000 hours
New York, Nebraska

570–750 hours
New Hampshire, North Dakota, Mississippi, Alabama, New Mexico, Kentucky, Ohio, Utah, Wisconsin, Hawaii

500 hours
Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia

No state regulation
Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wyoming


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