1998 Regular Session

To: Public Health and Welfare

By: Senator(s) Burton (By Request), Johnson (19th) (By Request)

Senate Bill 3077



SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Mississippi Professional Massage Therapy Act."

SECTION 2. The Legislature finds that in the profession and practice of massage therapy there is a necessity to preserve and protect individual life and health, promote the public interest and welfare by establishing licensure and assuring public safety.

SECTION 3. (1) The provisions of this act shall not apply to the following:

(a) Persons authorized by the laws of this state to practice medicine, surgery, osteopathy, chiropractic or podiatry.

(b) Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses under the laws of this state.

(c) Registered or licensed physical therapists, licensed physical therapy assistants, licensed Kinesiotherapists, licensed occupational therapists and licensed occupational therapy assistants under the laws of this state.

(d) Registered and/or licensed hairdressers, cosmetologists, and estheticians under the laws of this state.

(e) Registered barbers under the laws of this state.

(f) Students enrolled in a State Board of Massage Therapy approved school while working in a clinical internship, or other state accredited school offering instruction in the professions listed as exempt in this section.

(g) Nationally Certified Feldenkrais Practitioners and Nationally Certified Reflexologists.

(2) Any exemption granted under this section is effective only insofar as and to the extent that the bona fide practice of the profession or business of the person exempted overlaps into the field comprehended by this law, and exemptions under this section are only for those activities which are currently authorized and performed in the course of the bona fide practice of the business or profession of the person exempted.

SECTION 4. For purposes of this act, the following terms shall have the meanings hereafter stated, unless otherwise stated:

(a) "Massage" or "massage therapy" means the profession in which the practitioner applies massage techniques, and may apply adjunctive therapies, with the intention of positively affecting the health and well-being of the client. "Massage" means effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement and vibration, and includes holding, positioning, causing movement of the soft tissues and applying touch and pressure to the body (excluding any osseous tissue manipulation or adjustment). "Therapy" means action aimed at achieving or increasing health and wellness. "Manual" means by use of hand or body. "Adjunctive therapies" may include (i) application of heat, cold, water, heliotherapy, oriental massage techniques, topical preparations not classified as prescription drugs, (ii) the use of hand-held vibrators, and (iii) instructed self care and stress management. Massage therapy may be applied in response to a legal prescription.

(b) "Massage therapist" means a person who is licensed pursuant to this act.

(c) "Board" means the State Massage Therapy Board created and outlined in this act.

(d) "Massage establishment" is a place of business where massage is being conducted.

(e) "PMTA" means "Professional Massage Therapy Act."

(f) "Pre-act practitioner" is an individual who has practiced professional massage therapy prior to January 1, 1998.

(g) "License" means a State Massage Therapy Board approved form of credential for the safe and ethical practice of massage therapy within the State of Mississippi.

(h) "Provisional permit" means a temporary license approved by the board when all requirements, other than licensure examination, have been met and until the next licensure examination occurs.

(i) "Approved massage therapy school" means a facility licensed by the board to meet established standards of training, curriculum and other standards, rules and regulations as stipulated by the board.

(j) "Board accepted hours" means hours of education accepted by the board to meet requirements of exemption and/or continuing education for pre-act practitioners and is different from board "approved" programs and/or "board approved school" hours.

(k) "Classroom hour" means no less than fifty (50) minutes of any one (1) clock hour during which the student participates in a learning activity in the physical presence of a member of the faculty of the school.

(l) "Examination" means the State Massage Therapy Board approved examination for licensure.

(m) "Apprenticeship" means a noncompensated program of study, practice and training of one (1) individual directed, taught and trained by one or more licensed massage therapist(s) in a program approved by the board.

(n) "Professional" means requiring minimum standards of conduct, ethics, and education.

SECTION 5. (1) There is hereby created a State Board of Massage Therapy.

(2) The board shall consist of five (5) members, and a first and second alternate to ensure continuity, who are residents of the State of Mississippi. One member shall be a licensed health professional in a health field other than massage therapy. One member shall be a lay person. The remaining three (3) members and alternates shall be qualified massage therapists having not less than three (3) years' experience of credentialed massage therapy practice with at least one (1) year of that practice in this state. The initial board shall be appointed by the Governor with advice and consent of the Senate. Appointment shall be made within ninety (90) days from the passage of this act.

(3) The term of each initial board member shall be three (3) years from and after the date of appointment, and/or until a successor is appointed. Thereafter, board members and alternates shall serve for two (2) years and the chairman shall serve for three (3) years. No board member shall serve more than two (2) consecutive terms at a time.

(4) The Governor shall appoint subsequent board member(s) and other such officers as he deems necessary. A majority of the board may elect an executive secretary and other such employees, including an attorney, as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act. The board may hold additional meetings at such times and places as it deems necessary. A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum and a majority of the board shall be required to grant or revoke a license. The board shall promulgate such rules and regulations as necessary to carry out the provisions of this act. Affected practitioners shall be sent relevant changes no less than once per license renewal.

SECTION 6. Before entering upon discharge of the duties of the office, the executive secretary of the board shall furnish a bond, approved by the board, to the state in the sum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) conditioned upon the faithful discharge of the duties of the office, premium on which shall be paid from funds paid into the State Treasury by the secretary of the board, and such bond shall be deposited with the Secretary of State. Each month, monies received by the secretary of the board shall be deposited by him into the State Treasury and placed in a special fund to be known as the "State Board of Massage Therapy Fund" for the use of the board in carrying out the provisions of this act. The board shall receive no appropriations from any state funds for its support except from the special fund deposited into the State Treasury by the board.

SECTION 7. Each member of the State Board of Massage Therapists shall receive the per diem authorized under Section 25-3-69, Mississippi Code of 1972, for each day actually discharging his official duties, and shall receive reimbursement for mileage and necessary expense incurred, as provided in Section 25-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972. The expenses of the board in carrying out the provisions of this act shall be paid upon requisitions signed by the chairman and/or secretary of the board and warrants signed by the State Fiscal Officer from the fund in the State Treasury for the use of the board. Such expenses shall not exceed the amount paid into the State Treasury under the provisions of this act. The fees and charges established under this act shall not exceed the cost of administering the regulatory program of the board pertaining to the purpose for which the fee or charge is established.

SECTION 8. The State Board of Professional Massage Therapy shall:

(a) Adopt an official seal and keep a record of its proceedings, persons licensed as massage therapists, and a record of the licenses which have been revoked or suspended.

(b) Keep on file all examination papers for a period of at least ninety (90) days after such examination. A transcript of an entry in such records, certified by the secretary under the seal of the board shall be evidence of the facts therein stated.

(c) Annually, on or before February 15, make a report to the Governor and Legislature of all of its official acts during the preceding year, its total receipts and disbursements, and a full and complete report of relevant statistical and significantly notable conditions of massage therapists in this state as uniformly stipulated by the board.

(d) Evaluate the qualifications of applicants for licensure under this act. Advise applicants as to the acceptance or denial of licensure with any reasons for denial within forty-five (45) days.

(e) Issue licenses to applicants who meet the requirements of this act.

(f) Inspect, or have inspected, when required, the business premises of any licensee during regular business hours, so long as such inspection does not infringe on the privacy of any therapists clients.

(g) Establish minimum training and educational standards for obtaining a license hereunder, provided that requirements do not decrease.

(h) Establish a procedure for approval of educational standards required by this act.

(i) Investigate persons suspected of engaging in practices which may violate provisions of this act.

(j) Revoke, suspend or deny a license in accordance with the provisions of this act.

(k) Adopt an annual budget.

(l) Establish policies with respect to continuing education.

(m) Administer massage therapy examinations herein provided for and as defined in this act.

(n) Adopt rules:

(i) For apprenticeships; establish a minimum training program and fees therein meeting the same or greater requirements of study and training as that of a board approved massage therapy school;

(ii) Specifying standards and procedures for issuance of a provisional license and a provisional permit;

(iii) Specifying licensing procedures for practitioners desiring to be licensed in this state who hold an active license or credentials from another state board;

(iv) Establishing requirements for a temporary reciprocal license; and

(v) Setting standards relating to practical demonstrations for licensure applicants to ensure practical knowledge and safety.

(o) Make available all forms necessary for carrying out all provisions of this act and any and all necessary business of the board.

(p) Establish written duties of the executive secretary.

(q) Establish a set of reasonable and customary fines and penalties for violations of this act, and fees, including refund policies, which shall be standardized and not exceeded unless amended with at least thirty (30) days' notice to all members.

(r) Establish rules, policies, and/or standards to carry out the provisions of this act.

Each board member shall be held accountable to the Governor for the proper performance of all duties and obligations of such board member's office. Board members shall be immune from civil liability pertaining to any legal functions involving the carrying out of the activities and responsibilities of this act.

SECTION 9. The State Board of Massage Therapy may adopt rules:

(a) Establishing reasonable standards concerning the sanitary, hygienic and healthful conditions of premises and facilities used by massage therapists.

(b) Relating to the methods and procedures used in the practice of massage.

(c) Governing the examination and investigation of applicants for the licenses issued under this act and the issuance, renewal, suspension, and revocation of such licenses.

(d) Setting standards for certifying classes and licensing schools.

(e) Requiring that massage therapists supply the board with the accurate, current address or addresses where they practice massage.

(f) Establishing the educational, training and experience requirements for licensing by reciprocity.

(g) Establishing requirements for issuance and retention of an inactive license and/or provisional permits.

SECTION 10. (1) The board may report to the proper district attorney all cases that in the judgment of the board warrant prosecution.

(2) No city, township, or county governmental body, agency or department shall enact or enforce restrictions or requirements regarding massage therapists which are not equally enacted or enforced regarding all licensed health care practitioners.

(3) This act supersedes any regulation adopted by a political subdivision of this state relating to the licensing or regulation of any massage therapist and/or massage establishment.

(4) Any civil penalty imposed under this section shall become due and payable when the person incurring the penalty receives a notice in writing of the penalty. The notice shall be sent by registered or certified mail.

(5) The person to whom the notice is addressed shall have thirty (30) days from the date of mailing of the notice in which to make written application for a hearing.

(6) Any person who makes application as provided for in subsection (5) of this section shall be entitled to a hearing. The hearing shall be conducted as a contested case hearing.

(7) When an order assessing a civil penalty under this section becomes final by operation of law or on appeal, unless the amount of penalty is paid within ten (10) days after the order becomes final, it may be recorded with the circuit clerk in any county of this state. The clerk shall thereupon record the name of the person incurring the penalty and the amount of the penalty in his lien record book.

(8) Where the board proposes to refuse to grant or renew a license or proposes to revoke or suspend a license, an opportunity for a hearing shall be accorded. The board may designate any competent person(s) to preside at such hearing.

(9) Promulgation of rules, conduct of hearings, and issuance of orders shall be provided for.

(10) The board may adopt rules requiring any person, including, but not limited to, licensees, corporations, organizations, health care facilities and state or local governmental agencies, to report to the board any conviction, determination or finding that a license holder has committed an act which constitutes unprofessional conduct, or to report information which indicates that the license holder may not be able to practice his profession with reasonable skill and safety to consumers as a result of a mental, emotional or physical condition.

(11) If such entity fails to furnish a required report, the board may petition the circuit court of the county in which the entity resides or is found, and the court shall issue to the entity an order to furnish the required report. A failure to obey the order is a contempt of court.

(12) A person is immune from civil liability, whether direct or derivative, for providing information to the disciplining authority.

(13) Upon the complaint of any citizen of this state, or upon its own motion, the State Board of Massage Therapy may investigate any alleged violation of the Mississippi Professional Massage Therapy Act.

(14) In the conduct of investigations, the board may: take evidence; take the depositions of witnesses, including the person charged; compel the appearance of witnesses, including the person charged, before the board in person the same as in civil cases; require answers to interrogations; and compel the production of books, papers, accounts, documents, and testimony pertaining to the matter under investigation.

(15) The board shall make available, upon request, written appeals procedures for anyone whose license has been denied, suspended, or revoked, and/or for anyone accused of violating any provisions of this act.

(16) Any time the board intends to deny an application for licensure, or suspend or revoke an existing license, the board shall give the person an opportunity for a hearing prior to taking final action.

SECTION 11. (1) No person may advertise massage or practice massage for compensation in this state unless he is licensed as a massage therapist by the board. No person may use the title of or represent himself to be a licensed massage therapist or use any other title, abbreviations, letters, figures, signs or devices that indicate that such person is a licensed massage therapist unless he is licensed to practice massage therapy pursuant to the provisions of this act.

(2) The following are requirements for licensure:

(a) An applicant must be twenty-one (21) years of age, or older, on the date the application is submitted.

(b) An application must provide proof of high school graduate equivalency.

(c) An applicant must be of legal status not only to receive a license, but also to work in the State of Mississippi with such license.

(d) An applicant must supply proof of current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (C.P.R.) first aid of at least eight (8) hours of training, including practical testing.

(e) All required fees for licensure must be submitted by the applicant.

(f) Any and all requirements regarding good moral character and competency, as provided for in this act and in accepted codes of ethics, shall be met.

(g) An applicant must have completed a board approved continuing education course on communicable diseases, including H.I.V./AIDS information and prevention.

(h) The applicant's official and certified transcript(s) from the applicant's massage therapy school. Such transcript must verify that the applicant has completed a board approved training program of no less than the minimum requirement for supervised in-class massage therapy instruction and clinical internship, with a minimum grade requirement of "C" or better in every course of instruction, as stated for school requirements; or if applicant is submitting criteria from an apprenticeship program, all required documentation, forms and other board stipulated requirements must be met.

(3) The following pre-act practitioners are exempt from having to take any examination for licensure, but must fulfill all other requirements as stated in this act, except for the requirements in subsection (2)(g) and (h) of this section:

(a) Those having more than three hundred (300) documented, board accepted in-class hours of massage therapy education prior to January 1, 1998.

(b) Those having more than three (3) years and no less than twelve hundred (1200) hours of documented, professional massage therapy experience in the State of Mississippi.

(c) Those having no formal training, but have successfully passed the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

(d) All grandfathering exemption allowances as stated in this section shall cease on January 1, 2000. Individuals may apply for a license until January 1, 2000, but may not practice massage beyond the allowed grace period as stated in the last section of this act unless a valid massage therapy license is obtained.

All other pre-act practitioners and anyone not practicing massage therapy prior to January 1, 1998, must take and pass the licensure examination and follow the requirements herein to practice massage therapy for compensation in Mississippi.

SECTION 12. (1) The purpose of requiring examination is to determine that each applicant for licensure possesses the minimum skills and knowledge to practice competently.

(2) The Mississippi State Board of Massage Therapy shall accept as evidence of competency, in addition to all other requirements as stated in this act, the successful completion of "The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork" (NCETMB) and/or any other nationally or internationally accredited exam approved by the board.

(3) Eligibility requirements to take the NCETMB are set by The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork as stated in the NCETMB candidate handbook.

(4) An applicant for licensure who has been previously licensed may be required to take the NCETMB and achieve a passing score before relicensure under any one of the following circumstances:

(a) The applicant has been unlicensed voluntarily for more than thirty-six (36) calendar months; or

(b) The board may require reexamination in any disciplinary order, based upon the findings and conclusions relative to the competency of a licensee to practice massage before issuing an unconditional license.

(5) Whenever reexamination is required, the licensee shall pay all appropriate fees.

SECTION 13. (1) An applicant may be licensed by demonstrating proof that the applicant holds a valid, current license in another state with at least the same or greater educational requirements than those required by Mississippi law, and that all other Mississippi licensure requirements are met. This is subject to investigation by the board and excludes grandfathering by other states.

(2) If an individual who is licensed in another state that has licensing standards substantially equivalent to Mississippi applies for a license, the board may issue a temporary reciprocal permit authorizing the applicant to practice massage pending completion of documentation that the applicant meets the requirements for a license under this act. The temporary permit may reflect statutory limitations on the scope of practice.

(3) A massage therapy license issued by the board shall at all times be posted in a conspicuous place in any massage therapy business establishment of the licensee, doing business during business hours.

(4) A license issued pursuant to the massage therapy act is not transferable or assignable.

SECTION 14. (1) Massage therapy licenses issued by the board will have renewal procedures, requirements, dates, and fees as set by the board.

(2) A person licensed under this act to practice massage therapy may move to an inactive status by notifying the board in writing. Following approval by the board and upon payment of the appropriate fee(s), the applicant will be placed in inactive status. During the period of any inactive or lapsed status, no such person may practice massage for a fee in the State of Mississippi beyond any grace period as set by the board.

(3) An inactive license may be reactivated upon payment of the fee(s) for an active license and proof of compliance with continuing education requirements as established by the board.

(4) A massage therapy license shall be considered lapsed if an individual fails to pay licensing fees when due or fails to meet continuing education requirements. A license in lapsed status shall not be placed in inactive status.

(5) A lapsed license may be activated within three (3) years upon payment of current licensing fees and proof of compliance with continuing education requirements.

(6) If a license has been in any combination of inactive or lapsed status for five (5) consecutive years, the licensee may be required to reapply in the same manner as a new applicant.

SECTION 15. (1) The board may refuse to issue or renew or may deny, suspend or revoke any license held or applied for under this act upon finding that the licensee or applicant:

(a) Is guilty of fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in procuring or attempting to procure any license provided for in this act.

(b) Attempted to use as his own the license of another.

(c) Allowed the use of his license by another.

(d) Has been adjudicated as mentally incompetent by regularly constituted authorities.

(e) Has been convicted, found guilty of a crime, or has charged or disciplinary action pending that directly related to the practice of massage therapy or to the ability to practice massage therapy; any plea of nolo contendere shall be considered a conviction for the purposes of this section.

(f) Is guilty of unprofessional or unethical conduct as defined by the code of ethics.

(g) Is convicted of alcohol or controlled substance related incidents.

(h) Is guilty of false, misleading or deceptive advertising; is guilty of aiding or assisting in the advertising of any unlicensed, or unpermitted person in the practice of massage therapy.

(i) Is grossly negligent or incompetent in the practice of massage therapy.

(j) Has had rights, credentials, or one or more license(s) to practice massage therapy revoked, suspended or denied in any jurisdiction, territory or possession of the United States or another country for acts of the licensee similar to acts described in this section; a certified copy of the record of the jurisdiction making such a revocation, suspension or denial shall be conclusive evidence thereof.

(2) Investigative proceedings may be implemented by a complaint by any person, including members of the board.

(a) Any person(s) found guilty of prostitution using as any advertisement, claim or insignia of being an actual licensed massage therapist or to be practicing massage therapy by using the word massage or any other description indicating the same, whether or not such person(s) have one or more such licenses for person(s) or establishment(s), shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or imprisonment of up to six (6) months, or both per offense, per person.

(b) Any person who knowingly participates in receiving illegal service(s) of any person found guilty as described in subsection (a) of this section shall be, upon conviction, punished by a fine not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or imprisonment of up to a month, or both. Persons officially designated to investigate complaints are exempt.

(c) Any person who violates any provision of this act other than violation(s) of paragraph (a) in this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or imprisonment of up to one (1) month in jail, or both, per offense.

SECTION 16. (1) Any massage therapist advertising by the use of radio, newspaper, television, electronic media, flyers, business cards, phone book or any other means shall include legibly, or clearly audible, the massage therapy license number issued to said therapist(s) on and/or with such advertising.

(2) Any and all advertising of any licensed massage therapist shall be of a professional and ethical nature and shall not be attached to or identified with any pornographic or other establishment that may be construed as unprofessional and/or unethical in the practice of professional massage therapy.

(3) No practice of, or advertisement by any means of, any type of therapy involving soft tissue movement by the use of any body part, instrument(s) or device(s), or any term that may be interpreted to involve massage or therapeutic touch shall be allowed within Mississippi law unless such person(s) are licensed or exempt as stated in this act.

(4) Providing information concerning continuing education of massage therapy shall not constitute advertising as that term is used herein. National massage publications and out-of-state instruction/education/information materials are exempt.

(5) The advertising of any designation of massage, including the word Swedish (as used in this context), shall not be allowed in conjunction with any other term that the Board finds questionable. Questionable terms may include bath, shampoo, and escort.

SECTION 17. All licensed massage therapists shall:

(a) Perform only those services for which they are qualified and represent their training and education.

(b) Acknowledge their professional limitations and refer the client to an appropriate health professional when necessary, in cases where massage may be or is contraindicated.

(c) Recognize and respect the rights of all ethical practitioners and cooperate with health professionals in a professional manner.

(d) Not diagnose or prescribe medicine, drugs or treatment.

(e) Obtain and keep an overview or profile of the client's state of being and health history and discuss any problem areas that may contraindicate massage.

(f) Keep accurate and up-to-date records regarding a client's condition before and after treatment in cases of a client being treated for a specific condition. Public, sports, and on-site seated massage sessions are exempt from post treatment documentation.

(g) Provide sensitive attention and response to client's comfort levels for pressure and touch; and shall not cause bruising with any regularity.

(h) Maintain clear and honest communications with their clients; acknowledge the confidential nature of the professional relationship with a client and respect rights to privacy.

(i) Abide by all laws which pertain to their work as a massage therapist.

(j) In no way instigate or tolerate any kind of sexual advance while acting in the capacity of a massage therapist.

(k) Provide and use draping to cover all genitalia; genitalia includes the midsagittal perineum of males and females in the areola/mammary area of females.

(l) In no way use any genitalia for the purpose of bracing and/or support of the client.

(m) Clean/disinfect his hands immediately before each massage session and/or use medical gloves.

SECTION 18. (1) Construction of the massage therapy establishment and items used therein shall be reasonably sanitary and in good repair.

(2) Lavatories or water basins provided with an adequate supply of both hot and cold running water shall be available. Lavatories or wash basins shall be provided with soap in a dispenser and paper, individual use towels, or air dryers.

(3) No alcoholic beverage or other intoxicant shall be displayed, served, ingested, or sold on the premises of any massage establishment during business hours.

(4) Any out call massage shall have a previous recording of the client's name, address where the therapy is to occur, estimated time of return, and phone number (if available) in a conspicuous record.

(5) Every massage establishment shall be equipped with a workable telephone for emergency calls.

(6) Have available during business hours a copy of the State of Mississippi Professional Massage Therapy Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

SECTION 19. (1) To obtain a massage therapy license, an applicant must submit to the board the applicant's official and certified transcript(s) from the applicant's massage therapy school. Such transcript must verify that the applicant has completed a board approved training program of not less than six hundred (600) hours of supervised in-class massage therapy instruction, and at least one hundred (100) hours of clinic internship, with a minimum grade requirement of "C" or better in every course of instruction, in the following subjects:

(a) 200 hours - massage theory and practicum;

(b) 200 hours - science of the human body;

(c) 200 hours - allied modalities; and

(d) 100 hours - clinical internship.

(2) "Massage theory and practicum" must include a minimum of the following classroom hours in the specified subject areas:

(a) (10 hours) legalities including Mississippi massage law;

(b) (20 hours) history, benefits, indications and contraindications;

(c) (100 hours) massage demonstration and supervised practice which must include client evaluation, effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, vibration, range of motion, draping and turning, and ethics; and

(d) (70 hours) The remaining seventy (70) hours may expand on any or all of the previous three (3) subject areas and/or be related to practical massage.

(3) "Science of the human body" must include a minimum of the following classroom hours in the specified subject areas:

(a) (20 hours) anatomy (including all body systems);

(b) (20 hours) physiology (including all body systems);

(c) (20 hours) myology/kinesiology;

(d) (20 hours) neurology;

(e) (20 hours) pathology; and

(f) (80 hours) The remaining eighty (80) hours may expand on any or all of the previous six (6) subject areas and/or be related to the science of the human body.

(4) "Allied modalities" must include a minimum of the following classroom hours in the specified subject areas:

(a) (7 hours) Eastern, European, Western theory/methods;

(b) (8 hours) C.P.R. and first aid;

(c) (10 hours) charting and documentation;

(d) (25 hours) hydrotherapy, heliotherapy/phototherapy, and instrumentation;

(e) (20 hours) referral methods (within the health care system); and

(f) (130 hours) The remaining one hundred thirty (130) hours may expand on any or all of the previous five (5) subject areas and/or be devoted to any approach to massage therapy and wellness (trigger points, management, communication, safety, oriental massage techniques, specialized populations, etc.).

(5) "Clinic internship" shall include at least thirty (30) practical hands-on one (1) hour massage therapy sessions, outside of class, to be evaluated on documents filed and kept on record at such school for a minimum of six (6) months. These evaluations are to be completed by the clients of such massage therapy sessions and shall include the client's name, address, reason for session, indications and contraindications, date and signature. Each completed session shall constitute two (2) hours of clinic internship. The remaining forty (40) hours shall be acquired in an actual clinical massage therapy establishment under the supervision of a licensed massage therapist. The remaining forty (40) hours shall also be documented.

(6) No massage therapy school shall offer a massage therapy program for licensure in the State of Mississippi unless it meets the minimum standards of curriculum for licensure as stated in this act.

(7) No massage therapy program shall consist of more than thirty-five (35) in-class clock hours per week.

(8) Hours credited through transfer credit shall not be recognized by the board unless the following transfer standards are met:

(a) The school shall be provided with a certified transcript from a school licensed or approved in that state;

(b) Courses for which credit is granted shall parallel in content and intensity to the course offered by the school; and

(c) Documentation of previous training shall be included in each student's permanent file.

(9) No course clock hour length may decrease from that previously required. These requirements pertain to educational curriculums, and do not affect previously licensed massage therapists who are legally practicing in Mississippi, pursuant to this Act.

SECTION 20. The grace period for licenses to be issued shall be ninety (90) days after the official appointment date of the initial board. Those meeting the minimum requirements as stated in this act, except for obtaining a license, may continue practice of massage therapy or instruction thereof. Anyone not meeting the minimum requirements as stated in this act shall not advertise massage therapy or instruction thereof until they meet the minimum requirement of this act.

SECTION 21. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.