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Do I Need A Massage Establishment License To Offer Massage Therapy In My Chiropractic Office?

massage therapy in chiropractor officeBy: Zach Simpson

A question that I am frequently asked is do I actually need a Massage Establishment License for my chiropractic practice? The answer is it depends on the employment status of licensed massage therapist, and whose patients the massage therapist is treating.

Chapter 480, Florida Statutes, regulates the practice of massage therapy in Florida. Pursuant to this law, the facility where massage therapy is administered must be licensed separately as a massage establishment license unless it is the residence or office of the client. Under the Chiropractic Medicine Act, a chiropractic physician prescribing massage therapy for his or her patients in the chiropractic physician’s office does not need to have a massage establishment license. However, the office, does need a massage establishment license if the massage therapist is permitted to bring his or her own clients into the office for massage therapy.

In addition, the key question that many offices need answered is if your Licensed Massage Therapist is an Independent Contractor do you need to have a massage establishment license? The answer is yes, because the operative sentence of the exemption reads: “This section does not apply to a physician licensed under… chapter 460 who employs a licensed massage therapist to perform massage on the physician’s patients at the physician’s place of practice.” Be aware that an independent contractor is not an employee, and therefore the exemption will never apply if the massage therapist is an independent contractor.

Application Process For A Massage Establishment License

  1. Submit an application with the appropriate fees to the board office.
  2. Complete the Livescan screening process unless the proposed establishment qualifies for an exemption.
  3. Once the entire application has been received and reviewed, either additional information will be requested or the facility will be flagged for inspection.
  4. Once the Board staff receives a passing inspection result a license will be issued and should be received in the mail within 7-10 working days.

Additional Massage Establishment Application Takeaways

In order to apply for a Massage Establishment license you will need to provide both your ownership information and a Designated Establishment Manager on the application.

An “Establishment Owner” means a person who has ownership interest in a massage establishment. The term includes an individual who holds a massage establishment license, a general partner of a partnership, an owner or officer of a corporation, and a member of a limited liability company and its subsidiaries who holds a massage establishment license.

A “Designated Establishment Manager” is defined as a massage therapist who holds a clear and active license without restriction, who is responsible for the operation of a massage establishment in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, and who is designated the manager by the rules or practices at the establishment. Please be aware that health care practitioners other than massage therapists cannot serve as the Designated Establishment Manager.

Please be aware that the owner(s) are required to maintain property damage and bodily injury liability insurance coverage on the massage establishment. In addition, please be aware of the following:

  • Proof of insurance must list the exact business name, address and owners of the establishment as listed on the application
  • Only the licensed massage therapist who is the owner of the establishment may use insurance from a professional association to satisfy this requirement for establishment licensure.


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