About Us

image-20240117233304-1The New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists, Inc. (NYSSMMT) is a 501(C)(6) Not-for-Profit professional association.  Its main purpose is to educate and advance the Massage Therapy profession. The Society is primarily composed of members from the New York Tri-State Area and beyond who hold a New York State license in massage therapy.

NYSSMMT strives to preserve and elevate the profession by serving our members, students, schools, employers and consumers in all regions. It’s this spirit of leadership that keeps NYSSMMT aiming to develop new leaders in the profession as it takes early preparation to mark a centennial milestone.  Ask yourself, are you a leader?  If the answer is yes, then NYSSMMT is for you.



Licensure in the State

Established in 1927, NYSSMMT paved the way as one of the first professional associations for massage therapy in the US making the organization over 90 years old.  NYSSMMT owns the achievement in New York State of the successful lobbying efforts resulting in massage therapy becoming a license healthcare profession (see picture to the right) and to have the title “masseur” legally changed to “massage therapist”  while ensuring title protection of both titles meaning a provider must be licensed to call themselves a massuesse/masseur or massage therapist .  The name change was led by our current NYSSMMT Legend members, Dr. Carol Kessler Ph.D, LAc, MS, LMT and Barbara Joel, BS, LMT. in the mid 1990s.    Today, NYSSMMT has its own lobbyist, a New Yorker who knows New York, solely dedicated to New York LMTs without accommodation to other massage therapy states needs to help advance its advocacy goals. 


Dec 2022

Successfully advocated for Gov. to sign Opioid Prevention Bill for Physicians to consider massage therapy before prescribing Opioid.

On December 23, 2022, Gov. Hochul signed bill S4640./A273.  NYSSMMT wrote letters of support to the Governor encouraging the signing of the bill.  This bill will require Physicians to promote massage therapy and other alternative healthcare treatments before prescribing opioids.


Dec 2021

Abolished classification term "Massage Parlor" in North America - Dec 21, 2021

On December 21, 2021, The White House's Office Of Management and Budget  (conducts the Census of citizens and businesses) officially announced accepting NYSSMMT's rationales and recommendation to replace "massage parlor" with "massage wellness spa/centers" in the 2022 NAICS:  North American Industry Classification System, a business resource with industry codes for businesses in reporting and analyzing North American economic activity.  This guide is used by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States to describe economic activity in North America.  Click here to learn more. 

Since May 20, 2020,  NYSSMMT led the call to action to have "massage parlor" removed from NAICS.  Massage Therapy is listed in two categories in the system: Healthcare and Personal Care.  In previous editions of the NAICS, the term "massage parlor" was categorized as Personal Care and being more popularized over "massage therapists" in the Healthcare category by government officials and the media during the pandemic.   To view the new description and rationale provided by NYSSMMT, scroll to page 7 to view the updated classification of massage therapy by clicking here.


Removing Special Permit to practice massage in NYC - Dec 16, 2021

With NYSSMMT's endorsement, NY City Council approved the end of the special permit to practice massage therapy in NYC on December 16, 2021.    The special permit, a relic from the 70's, burdened massage therapists with restrictions on where to practice in the 5 boroughs and imposed expenses to open any type of business model with massage therapy.  With the Council's approval of this law, massage therapy is now considered ambulatory care in commercial real estate and a massage therapist can practice anywhere in the 5 boroughs without going through a deep and expensive background.

In April 2021, NYSSMMT was invited by the NYC Dept of City Planning to provide guidance and endorsement of the proposal to rezone licensed massage therapy in commercial real estate as ambulatory care.  To learn more about this current effort, click here. 



A Licensed Massage Therapist, becoming duly elected into membership of the New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists, Inc., pledges to uphold the Bylaws and the following Code of Ethics.

  1. To conduct their practice in an ethical manner.
  2. To abide by the Medical Practice Act.
  3. Not to diagnose, nor to prescribe to any person or patient any form of medication.
  4. Not to disclose confidential information in the course of treatment of a patient to anyone other than the patient's caregivers, legal guardian, and recommending physician, and to respect all confidences. This obligation shall extend beyond the period of professional services.
  5. Massage Therapists shall assume the foregoing obligations with a free will, in full appreciation of the privilege and opportunity to place the practice of this profession in a position of honor and distinction.


  1. To provide continuing education opportunities to members so that excellence in the field of applying Massage Therapy techniques will be maintained. .
  2. To seek enactment of laws to promote a high standard for the profession of Massage Therapy.
  3. To uphold the ethical standards for the profession of Massage Therapy for members and consumers.
  4. To assist local authorities and jurisdictions with their efforts to prevent abuses by unethical and illegal practitioners.
  5. To educate health care and related medical providers about the benefits of Massage Therapy.
  6. To educate our consumers and the public in general about the established and documented benefits of Massage Therapy.
  7. To promote an inclusive environment of medical,clinical, and pharmacological components within the massage industry.