NCBTMB Announces Change in Energy Work Acceptance, Introduces New Instructor Qualifications

Burr Ridge, Ill. (June 19, 2017)—The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) announced today key updates to its Approved Provider for Continuing Education Program, including a change to Energy Work Acceptance and the addition of Instructor Qualifications for all new Approved Providers. Both changes are effective immediately.

The full statement is below:  

In 2013, NCBTMB began a new adventure in elevating its Approved Provider for Continuing Education Program in response to the needs of an evolving profession. The evolution of this program has led to further improvements within the massage therapy and bodywork profession by purposefully evaluating the needs of the profession; including massage therapists, peer organizations, continuing education providers, and state boards.

Energy Work Acceptance

As stated in NCBTMB’s past communications, its APCE program will continue to evolve as the profession grows. To this end, NCBTMB has worked with the profession regarding the acceptance of energy work.

There are several types of energy work that have been created and built upon throughout the years. In truth, some forms exceedingly reach outside of the Massage Therapy Scope of Practice, according to state laws and NCBTMB’s policies for acceptable content. This means that though a massage therapist may practice such techniques, and courses containing such content may have been previously accepted, NCBTMB will continue to re-evaluate courses and policies to align with the needs and demands of the profession.

In refining this category, NCBTMB will only accept energy work courses that include “the application of professional therapeutic touch” as of June 19, 2017. Translated, this means that distant healing, aura techniques, crystal work, Qi Gong, Tai Chi and other techniques that do not include professional touch between therapist and client will no longer be accepted. Courses that are currently approved will be honored through the Approved Provider’s expiration date; however, when the time comes for an Approved Provider to renew his/her/its status, any energy work course (not including anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, ethics, professionalism, research, pathology, business, safety) that does not include "the application of professional therapeutic touch” will be retired.

NCBTMB will continue to accept home study and distant learning course delivery in subject matter that is within its acceptable content, following the above guidelines. As a reminder, a full breakdown of NCBTMB Approved Provider Program Structure and Rules is available here.

Instructor Qualifications for All New Approved Providers

NCBTMB continues to monitor instructor qualifications within Approved Provider applications to ensure that instructor knowledge matches courses taught. On June 19 2017, NCBTMB will implement instructor qualifications for all NEW Approved Providers of Continuing Education applicants.

All Approved Providers must follow state rules prior to applying. In addition to state rules, Approved Providers must meet one of the bulleted points below:

  • Holds a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or a substantially equivalent accrediting body of a foreign sovereign state, with a major in a subject directly related to the content of the program to be offered;
    OR
  • Has completed at least five years of professional experience in the practice of massage therapy; AND
  • Has a minimum of two years teaching experience in the subject matter;
    OR
  • Has completed a NCBTMB approved teacher training program in the modality of interest;
    OR
  • Has completed at least 100 hour of non-entry level education in the subject matter to be offered and has a minimum of two years of professional experience in the subject
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