SHB 1252

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

C 18 L 15

Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Prescribing penalties for allowing or permitting unlicensed practice of massage therapy or reflexology.

Sponsors: House Committee on Public Safety (originally sponsored by Representatives Wylie, Harris, Moeller, Jinkins, Vick and S. Hunt).

House Committee on Public Safety

House Committee on General Government & Information Technology

Senate Committee on Health Care


Reflexology. Generally, reflexology is a health care service involving the application of pressure with fingers to the lower one-third of the extremities, feet, hands, and outer ears. It does not include the diagnosis of, or treatment for, specific diseases or joint manipulations.

Massage. Generally, massage and massage therapy are health care services involving the external manipulation or pressure of soft tissue for therapeutic purposes. Massage therapy includes techniques such as tapping, compressions, friction, reflexology, Swedish gymnastics or movements, gliding, kneading, shaking, and facial or connective tissue stretching, with or without the aids of superficial heat, cold, water, lubricants, or salts. Massage therapy does not include diagnosis or attempts to adjust or manipulate any articulations of the body, spine, or mobilization of these articulations by the use of a thrusting force, or genital manipulation.

Practice of Reflexology and Massage. A person practicing reflexology or massage or representing himself or herself as a reflexologist or massage practitioner is required either to be certified as a reflexologist or licensed as a massage practitioner by the Department of Health (DOH). In order to be certified, the person must be at least 18 years of age, have successfully completed a course of study, and have passed an examination administered or approved by the DOH.

An applicant may be certified without examination in limited situations. In addition, there are exemptions from the certification requirement provided for:

Reflexologists and massage practitioners are subject to the Uniform Disciplinary Act for health professions, and the Secretary of the DOH is the disciplining authority.

Misdemeanor and Gross Misdemeanor Offenses. A misdemeanor offense is punishable by a sentence of up to 90 days in jail, or a maximum fine of $1,000, or both imprisonment and a fine. A gross misdemeanor offense is punishable by a sentence of up to 364 days in jail or a maximum fine of $5,000, or both imprisonment and a fine.


It is unlawful for an owner of a massage business or reflexology business, where massage therapy or reflexology takes place, to allow the unlicensed practice of massage therapy or reflexology. A violation is a misdemeanor offense when the owner knowingly or with criminal negligence allows or permits the unlicensed practice of massage therapy or reflexology to be committed within his or her place of business. Each subsequent violation is a gross misdemeanor offense.

Votes on Final Passage:








July 24, 2015