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Professional therapeutic massage therapy in Kansas City, MO by Aaron Harris, BCTMB

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Choosing a California Certified Massage Therapist


You can avoid getting a bad massage, or worse, stumbling into a less-than-reputable massage business by choosing a California Certified Massage Therapist (CMT).

California Massage Therapy Council Certified Massage Therapy Council Seal
California Massage Therapy Council Certified Massage Therapy Council Seal

California Massage Certification

In California, certification is voluntary. This means that any person who performs massage for money does not have to be legally recognized by the state via a professional certification process. Some cities do require licensing, but this varies from town to town.

The certification process requires:

  • Therapist must be at least age 18.
  • Therapists must submit to a background check, including fingerprinting.
  • The therapist must pay a $200 certification fee that renews every two years.
  • A therapist must have undergone at least 500 hours of formal massage education, including at least 100 hours of training in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology (study of movement), hygiene, and professional ethics.

Current California state law makes it a crime for any persons not legally certified or licensed to use the following titles:

  • Certified Massage Therapist
  • CMT
  • Certified Massage Practitioner
  • CMP
  • “Licensed”
  • “Certified”

You can verify the current license of any California Massage Therapist online using the Certification Verification Tool.

Aaron Harris California Massage Therapist Certification Card
Aaron Harris California Massage Therapist Certification Card

We are required to list our certification number on any advertisements, websites, business cards, or other public facing marketing materials.

My certificate number is 44390 and is located in the footer on every page of this site.

We are also required to carry our certification card on our person at all times while working. We must also display our paper certificate at our principal business location.

Why Choosing a California Certified Massage Therapist Matters

The certification process ensures that the therapist treating you has received training and education that leads to therapeutic healing. Because the process is voluntary, you can feel assured that the therapist takes their work seriously and they have invested considerable time and money into their profession. Voluntary certification also demonstrates a desire to follow the law and keep bodywork designated as a legitimate healing art.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

It is your responsibility to verify that a therapist is currently certified. You have the right to request your massage therapist present their license to you for review.

You have the right to report any therapist for violations of the law or professional ethics. You can email complaints@camtc.org or file an online complaint from the CAMTC website.

You also have the right and responsibility to contact the police if you feel you have been the victim of sexual assault, have been offered sexual release during your massage, or suspect that your local massage “parlor” is involved in illegal activity.


Taking the time to verify the current certification of your massage therapist can lead to a higher degree of trust. Choosing California Certified Massage Therapists over unlicensed persons keeps you and the entire industry safe.

I have been California certified since 2012. I have received more than 1000 hours of training and education (far above the required 500) in massage therapy.

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