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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 1806 (March 30, 2024).

49 Pa. Code § 20.42. Standards of professional conduct.

§ 20.42. Standards of professional conduct.

 (a)  A massage therapist shall:

   (1)  Maintain current knowledge of the application of massage therapy, including indications, contraindications and precautions.

   (2)  Undertake a specific technique or use a product or equipment only if the massage therapist has the necessary knowledge, training or skill to competently execute the technique.

   (3)  Base decisions and actions on behalf of a client on sound ethical reasoning and current principles of practice.

   (4)  Provide treatment only where there is an expectation that it will be advantageous to the client.

   (5)  Refer to an appropriate health care professional when indicated in the interest of the client.

   (6)  Discuss with clients which massage therapy modalities and techniques will be utilized and the benefits of these modalities and techniques, the objectives, and that participation is voluntary and that consent to treatment or participation may be withdrawn at any time.

   (7)  Obtain written consent prior to performing breast massage.

   (8)  Modify or terminate the massage therapy session at any time upon request of the client.

   (9)  Keep client information private and confidential. This standard does not prohibit or affect reporting mandated under State or Federal law to protect children, older adults, or others.

   (10)  Use safe and functional coverage/draping practices during the practice of massage therapy when the client is disrobed. Safe and functional coverage/draping means that the client’s genitals and gluteal cleft and the breast area of female clients are not exposed and that massage or movement of the body does not expose genitals, gluteal cleft or breast area. With voluntary and informed consent of the client, the gluteal and breast drapes may be temporarily moved in order to perform treatment of the area.

   (11)  Act to safeguard clients from incompetent, abusive or illegal practices of other massage therapists or caregivers.

   (12)  Continuously maintain current CPR certification.

   (13)  Be clean, fully-clothed and professional in dress and appearance.

   (14)  Display the massage therapist’s current license with expiration date in a location clearly visible to clients or, when practicing offsite, display the massage therapist’s wallet card.

   (15)  Include the massage therapist’s license number in all advertisements.

   (16)  Conspicuously display the massage therapist’s name and the title L.M.T. or the words ‘‘Licensed Massage Therapist’’ on an identification badge or directly on clothing worn in the public areas where massage therapy services are being provided.

   (17)  Cooperate with the Board, the Department of State or the Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation in the investigation of complaints filed under the act.

   (18)  Provide massage therapy records immediately upon demand of the Board or its authorized agents.

   (19)  Maintain massage therapy records for at least 3 years from the last date that services were provided to the client.

   (20)  Educate clients about maintaining the beneficial effects of massage therapy treatment when indicated by a massage therapy treatment plan.

   (21)  Obtain the written permission of a parent or guardian, or their representative, prior to providing massage therapy services to a minor.

   (22)  Require that a parent or guardian, or their representative, be physically present in the room during treatment of a minor.

 (b)  A massage therapist may not:

   (1)  Psychologically or physically abuse a client.

   (2)  Violate a client’s boundaries with regard to exposure, privacy or disclosure.

   (3)  Utilize techniques that are contraindicated based on the client’s condition.

   (4)  Falsify or knowingly make incorrect entries into the client’s record or other related documents.

   (5)  Intentionally expose a client’s genitals, gluteal cleft or the breasts of a female client except temporarily to perform therapeutic treatment of the area.

   (6)  Engage in sexual harassment, sexual impropriety, sexual violation or sexual abuse.

   (7)  Engage in sexual intimacies during the professional relationship.

   (8)  Perform or offer to perform any services for clients other than those connected with giving massage therapy treatments as defined in section 2 of the act (63 P.S. §  627.2), unless the massage therapist has additional training and licensure, if required, to perform those services.

   (9)  Knowingly permit another individual to use the massage therapist’s license or temporary permit for any purpose.

   (10)  Knowingly aid, abet or assist another person to violate or circumvent a law or this chapter.

   (11)  Misappropriate equipment, materials, property or money from an employer or client.

   (12)  Refuse a client’s request for a refund for the unearned portion of prepaid or packaged massage therapy services. This provision does not apply to gift certificate purchases.

Cross References

   This section cited in 49 Pa. Code §  20.13 (relating to required knowledge base); and 49 Pa. Code §  43b.23a (relating to schedule of civil penalties—massage therapists).

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