As an RN, am I allowed to give a massage to my clients without having an additional CMT license?

By | 2022-02-03T17:21:07-05:00 January 7th, 2008|0 Comments


Dear Nancy,

As an RN, am I allowed to give a massage to my clients without having an additional CMT license? When I went to school, giving a massage was part of our training, and it was also expected that each patient would get a massage every night during preparations for bedtime. How does this affect my private holistic practice?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Sylvia,

Nursing practice has changed considerably during the past several years, both in terms of the addition of patient care responsibilities that once were seen as only belonging to medicine (e.g., APNs prescribing medications and treatments) and in terms of some patient care responsibilities being “transferred” to other healthcare practitioners. In addition to the example in your question, nurses did respiratory therapy treatments for patients at one time.

Nursing has also incorporated additional models of care, including holistic nursing. Private practice, too, is something many nurses never had the option of considering.

What is important to evaluate after a transfer of what was once part of nursing practice but is now part of another healthcare provider’s practice is whether the transfer became an “exclusive” one or not. Your state legislature may have granted certified massage therapists the “exclusive” right to do massage therapy. Or, the statute that regulates massage therapy may provide an exception to allow other healthcare providers, such as nurses, the ability to provide massage therapy without a license required by the massage therapy act.

To obtain a specific opinion about your holistic nursing practice and the role massage may play in it, consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who is familiar with regulatory law and understands nursing and massage therapy.


Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.


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