New Massage Therapy Rules in New Mexico: 16.7 NMAC

The New Mexico Massage Therapy Board adopted several new rule changes effective November 15, 2019.

The rule amendments address the changes made to the Massage Practice Act per 19 SB 200. The rules impact multiple subject areas; however, the largest change is to allow individuals other than Registered Instructors to teach continuing education. ABMP has summarized the changes below, and you can view the full text here:

General Provisions 16.7.1

The board condensed and reworded the massage therapy scope of practice:

“As defined by the Massage Therapy Practice Act, the practice of massage therapy consists of the assessment of the soft tissue structures of the body; the treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain of soft tissue; and joint movement within normal physiologic range of motion to relieve pain or to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function.”

Additionally, the board amended existing definitions and added new language:

  • A continuing education provider is:
    • an individual who was an active, registered, and independent New Mexico massage therapy instructor (Registered Instructor) on February 4, 2019;
    • a regulated massage therapy school;
    • a professional association for massage therapists;
    • an individual or an organization approved by a massage therapy continuing education approval agency;
    • a healthcare professional organization; or
    • an accredited postsecondary educational institution
  • Curriculum: this new section defines curriculum as the subject taught, including knowledge, skills, and abilities in the course syllabus.
  • Hands-on: refers to a massage technique involving the palpation or manipulation of soft tissue.
  • Inactive status period: a period of time, of no more than two years, in which a massage therapist cannot practice massage therapy.
  • Massage therapy: the definition was reworked slightly and the following language was added: “Massage therapy does not include the diagnosis or treatment of illness or disease or any service or procedure for which a license to practice medicine, nursing, chiropractic, physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture or podiatry is required by law.”
  • Syllabus: this new section defines a syllabus as a detailed course outline including the course name, description, goals and objectives, prerequisites, number of educational hours and timeline, required texts and reading resources, instructional materials and handouts, successful completion requirements, makeup work provisions, and methods of evaluation.

Professional Conduct 16.7.2

The new rules stipulate that applicants cannot be convicted of any crime that substantially impacts the qualifications, functions, or duties of a massage therapist. What crimes apply have not been identified.

Continuing Education 16.7.11

The new rules revise who can provide continuing education in New Mexico. Now, continuing education does not have to be provided solely by someone who was a Registered Instructor prior to February 4, 2019. If you were previously a Registered Instructor, you must submit to the board a course syllabus and a one-time fee (see below at 16.7.3) for each new course not previously approved by the Board. Additionally, there is no need moving forward for these Registered Instructors to renew their instructor registration, as this registration is no longer required per statute.

CE providers who were not active and Registered Instructors by February 4, 2019, are now allowed to provide CE in New Mexico upon board approval. The board reserves the right to deny an application if the instructor has violated the Massage Therapy Act or rules, committed a disciplinary offense in another state, or submitted a dishonest application.

To apply, applicants must submit the following:

  • Completed application form
  •  Course syllabus
  • Copy of the applicable out-of-state license or certification
  • Proof of a minimum of two years’ teaching experience
  • Up-to-date resume
  • Fee (see below at 16.7.3) 

Note for licensed massage therapists: If a technique course is taught by a “non-CE provider,” (one who was not registered prior to February 4, 2019) the course must be completed live and in-person.

Fees 16.7.3

As Registered Instructors no longer hold a separate registration, the Registered Instructor fees were removed. There will be a one-time $50 fee per course taught by Registered Instructors who were registered by February 4, 2019, for all new courses not previously approved by the Board. The other category of CE providers will be charged a one-time $50 application fee per course.

Requirements for Licensure 16.7.4

The new rules require a minimum of twenty hours of business and eight hours of hydrotherapy training as part of the massage school curricula.

Requirements for Schools 16.7.5

Part 6 of the previous rules was deleted, and the language regarding massage therapy instructors was revised and moved to Part 5. New requirements for massage therapy instructors require that those teaching hands-on massage therapy instruction must have:

  • A valid massage therapist license in New Mexico;
  • Completed at least 50 contact hours of instructional experience of professional teaching or workshop instruction; and
  • Practiced massage therapy for a minimum of two of the last three years.

Massage therapy schools must submit to the board a list of all instructors providing hands-on massage therapy instruction. This list must be included in the initial registration application and at each renewal period. Schools must also submit to the board an instructor’s qualifications if such documentation was not previously received. The documentation requirements can be found at in the hyperlink above.


Please note: We have recently updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Learn more...