Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations Governing Massage Clinics and Sauna Establishments
DOH Administrative Order No. 2010-0034

December 10, 2010


SUBJECT : Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations Governing Massage Clinics and Sauna Establishments

I. Rationale

Traditional medicine throughout the world recognizes the significance of therapeutic massage in managing stress, illnesses or chronic ailments. Massage therapy is considered the oldest method of healing that applies various techniques like fixed or movable pressure, holding, vibration, rocking, friction, kneading and compression using primarily the hands and other areas of the body such as the forearms, elbows or feet to the muscular structure and soft tissues of the body.

Massage therapy can lead to significant biochemical, physical, behavioural and clinical changes in the person receiving the massage as well as the person giving the massage. It contributes to a higher sense of general well-being. Recognizing this, many healthcare professionals have begun to incorporate massage therapy as a complement to their routine clinical care.

To effectively carry out the provisions of Section XIII of

The implementing rules and regulations need to be revised to among others adopt current trends and modern practices of massage; so as to ensure that massage therapists become more competent and globally competitive, and thus improve the quality of health service delivery.

II. Objectives

General: To improve the quality of health service delivery of governing massage facilities providing massage services


1. Upgrade the quality of health services being accorded to the public by massage facilities; EDSAac

2. Delineate the scope of functions of massage therapists and offices responsible in the management of the practice;

3. Recognize the specific offices responsible relative to the management of facilities providing massage services; and

4. Instil the essence of compassionate service to the public/clients.

III. Scope

These implementing rules and regulations shall apply to all facilities providing massage services, and the practitioners thereof.

IV. Definition of Terms

To provide the implementers/stakeholders a common frame of reference in the interpretation of the guidelines, the following terms as used in this Order are herein defined:

1. Accreditation This refers to the act of recognition or a method of determining that an eligible organization, institution, individual or program complies with the approved standards.

2. Assessor This refers to the person with expertise in the area of massage, who is appointed by the chairperson of the Committee of Examiners for Massage Therapy (CEMT) to conduct practical assessment of the candidates undergoing DOH Massage therapy oral and practical licensure examination.

3. Certificate of Registration This refers to a written commendation issued by the DOH-CEMT authorizing a person to practice massage therapy as a profession.

4. Committee This refers to the Department of Health Committee of Examiners for Massage Therapy (CEMT).

5. Continuing Massage Therapy Education (CMTE) This refers the acquisition of knowledge, skills, ethical and moral values by a massage therapist after his/her initial registration, to improve and enhance his/her technical competence in massage therapy.

6. Health Certificate This refers to a written commendation issued by the city or municipal health officer to persons providing massage services after the same has passed the required physical and medical examinations, to include the required immunizations and the following diagnostic tests:

6.1 X-Ray/Fluoroscopic examination

6.2 Stool and other examination required

7. Licensed Massage Therapist This refers to a trained person who passed the licensure examination for massage therapists. He/She is a holder of a valid Certificate of Registration (COR) and license for massage therapists issued by the Department of Health (DOH) Committee of Examiners for massage therapy (CEMT). ICcDaA

8. Massage Therapy This refers to a system of assessment, evaluation and manual application techniques used in a scientific manner taking into account the muscle locations, stress points and other anatomical considerations of the human body. It includes adjunctive external application of water, heat and cold, stretching, passive and active joint movement within the normal physiologic range of motion as a means of promoting pain relief, injury rehabilitation or health improvement.

V. General Guidelines


Organization, Structure and Functions

SECTION 1. Committee of Examiners for Massage Therapy (CEMT).

1.1. Membership

1.1.1 There shall be a Committee of Examiners for Massage Therapy, hereinafter referred to as the "Committee", created by the Department of Health, through a Department Personnel Order which shall be directly under the Secretary of Health. The "Committee" shall be composed of a chairperson, vice-chairperson and members coming from the following offices/organizations and shall hold office for three (3) years or until their successors shall have been appointed and duly qualified without prejudice to reappointment for another term.

Health Human Resource Development Bureau Chairperson

Environmental Health Office Vice-Chairperson

Sanitary Engineer Member

Medical Practitioner Member

Physical Therapist Member

Legal officer Member

Massage Therapists Members/Assessors/Facilitators (active members of an organization of massage therapists)

1.1.2 The Health Human Resource Development Bureau (HHRDB) shall serve as the Committee Secretariat.

1.2 Powers, Duties and Functions of the Committee

1.2.1 To announce, schedule and hold examinations for massage therapists; to approve or disapprove applications for examination and to perform all other duties pertinent and related thereto;

1.2.2 To issue licenses to massage therapists who have satisfactorily passed the licensure examination and have complied with the requirements prescribed by law; to deny the issuance of license to any candidate and/or to cancel the license issued to any holder of certificate upon conviction of any criminal offence involving moral turpitude, or has been declared to be of unsound mind or physically unfit, or who has been found violating existing laws, rules and regulations as the case may be; TaIHEA

1.2.3 To issue certified true copies of lost or damaged licenses for massage therapists;

1.2.4 To conduct investigations all sworn complaints against licensed massage therapists and to submit its findings and recommendations to the Secretary of Health for appropriate action;

1.2.5 To accredit institutions, associations or trainers conducting training programs and review courses for massage therapists;

1.2.6 To establish criteria for the accreditation of institutions, associations or trainers who shall train the massage therapists;

1.2.7 It shall be the duty of the Department of Health (DOH) Committee of Examiners for Massage Therapy (CEMT) to cause the monitoring of massage therapists of massage establishment at least twice a year or as may be deemed necessary for the enforcement of the rules and regulations as applied to massage therapists.

1.2.9 *To perform other functions necessary to regulate, standardize, professionalize and uplift the practice of massage.

1.2.10 To perform such other related duties assigned by the Secretary of Health to implement pertinent provisions of the

1.3 Allowance

The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Members of the Committee shall receive a monthly allowance during their term of office. Likewise, they are allowed to receive honorarium as resource speakers/persons under Administrative Order No. 93, s. 2003 dated September 23, 2003.

SECTION 2. Continuing Massage Therapy Education Council (CMTEC).

2.1 Composition

2.1.1 In accordance with the provisions of

2.1.2 The CMTE Council shall be composed of a chairperson and two (2) members and will be assisted by the CEMT Secretariat. The chairperson shall be designated amongst the members of the CEMT. The first member shall be chosen from amongst the members of the DOH accredited training institutions for massage therapists by the members themselves. The second member shall be chosen from among the licensed massage therapists (active organization with the most number of massage therapist members) who are in active practice with valid certificate of registration and updated license and chosen among the members themselves.

2.2 Powers, Duties and Functions

2.2.1 Accept, evaluate and approve applications for accreditation of CMTE programs, activities or sources as to their relevance to the profession; and determine the number of CMTE credit units to be earned on the basis of the contents of the program, activity or source submitted by the CMTE providers; HDAaIc

2.2.2 Determine the appropriateness of the training fee vis- -vis the training course/programs, activities and sources to be offered;

2.2.3 Monitor the implementation of CMTE programs, activities or sources;

2.2.4 Assess periodically and upgrade criteria for CMTE programs, activities or sources; and

2.2.5 Perform such other related functions that may be incidental to the implementation of the CMTE programs, activities or sources.

2.3 Honoraria

The Chairperson and the two Members of the Council shall receive the same compensation/honorarium as resource speakers/persons under Administrative Order No. 93, s. 2003 dated September 23, 2003.


Examination, Registration and Practice

SECTION 3. Examination.

3.1 Date of Examination

Examination for massage therapists shall be conducted any day of the first week of June and December of every year. In exceptional cases, the committee may give examination on other dates outside the prescribed ones as may deemed necessary.

3.2 Place of Examination

3.2.1 The examination for massage therapists shall be conducted at the Department of Health, Manila, or

3.2.2 At any Department of Health or Center for Health Development (CHD) as determined by the committee upon the recommendation of the CHD Director.

3.3 Qualifications of Applicants

3.3.1 Applicants for the licensure examination must posses the following qualifications:

a. He/she must be a Filipino citizen, at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of the examination;

b. He/she must be of good moral character certified by the Barangay Captain of the community where the applicant resides.

c. He/she must submit a certification or clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) or provincial fiscal indicating that he/she is not convicted by the court of any case involving moral turpitude;

d. He/she must submit medical certificate from a government physician that he/she is physically and mentally fit to take the licensure examination;

e. He/she must be at least a high school graduate;

f. He/she must submit a certificate of training from any Department of Health accredited training provider that he/she has taken practical massage for at least sixty (60) hours;

g. He/she must submit certificate of training from any Department of Health accredited training institution that he/she had received basic instructions on the following: cHDaEI

Course Code
Course Title
Course Description
ANA-PHY Anatomy & Physiology General and Organ System Anatomy
PHY Physiology General and Organ System Physiology
PTH Pathology/Microbiology General Pathology and Microbiology
MT I Massage Therapy I Introduction to Massage Therapy
MT II Massage Therapy II Massage Therapy Application
MT III Massage Therapy III Practice of Massage Therapy

3.4 Application and Examination Fees

3.4.1 Applicants must submit to the committee secretariat the prescribed application form duly accomplished and notarized and accompanied by three (3) copies of passport size photograph taken within the last six (6) months;

3.4.2 Applicants shall pay an examination fee in the amount prescribed by the Department of Health Committee of Examiners for Massage Therapy; and

3.4.3 The application form and examination fee, including the necessary documents stated, must be filed two (2) weeks before the examination date in order for the applicant to be included in the list of examinees.

3.5 Scope of Examination

The examination shall be conducted in two (2) parts; theoretical and oral/practical. The theoretical examination shall be conducted in writing and shall comprise basic questions based on the prescribed curriculum (Article 2, Section 3.3). The oral/practical examination shall consist of three (3) phases: (1) pre-massage phase, (2) massage proper and (3) post-massage phase. EHcaAI

3.6 Passing Average

3.6.1 Only those who have passed the theoretical examination shall qualify to take the oral/practical examination.

3.6.2 All examinees who passed the theoretical examination shall take the oral/practical examination within one (1) month after official advice, otherwise, the results of the theoretical examination shall be deemed cancelled. He/she shall pay the fee prescribed by DOH;

3.6.3 For an examinee to pass the examination successfully, he/she must obtain a general average of 75% in the theoretical examination and a general average of 75% in the oral/practical examination.

SECTION 4. Certificate of Registration.

4.1 Issuance

4.1.1 All examinees who have passed the required examination shall be issued a certificate of registration duly signed by the chairperson of the committee and approved by the Secretary of Health.

4.1.2 The certificate of registration shall bear the recent picture and signature of the successful examinee and will be valid for three (3) years from the date of issuance. Payment of registration and miscellaneous fees shall be made to the Department of Health.

4.1.3 The certificate of registration shall be posted conspicuously in the establishment concerned.

4.2 Renewal of the Certificate of Registration

4.2.1 A massage therapist shall apply for the renewal of the certificate of registration and shall pay the miscellaneous fees covering three (3) years on his/her birth month in any Regional Health Office or Center for Health Development;

4.2.2 The following requirements shall be presented when applying for renewal of the certificate of registration:

a. Health certificate;

b. Current professional tax receipt;

c. Current community tax certificate;

d. Receipt of payment of the registration and miscellaneous fees covering three (3) years in the amount prescribed by the Department of Health;

e. Certificate of attendance to continuing education/training on massage conducted by accredited institutions/associations/trainers;

f. When all the requirements are found in order, the said certificate shall be stamped with the notation "VALIDITY UNTIL _______ " and the receipt number of the registration fee and the signature of the Regional Health Director concerned shall be affixed below.

4.2.3 The Regional Health Director concerned shall submit the list of massage therapists and their renewed license numbers to the Committee every last quarter of the year.

4.3 Suspension or Revocation of Certificate of Registration

4.3.1 The Committee and/or the Regional Health Office concerned shall recommend to the Secretary of Health the suspension or revocation of the certificate of erring massage therapists when found guilty after due investigation on any of the following grounds:

a. Conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction of any criminal offence involving moral turpitude; THIcCA

b. Insanity;

c. Fraud in the acquisition or renewal of the certificate of registration;

d. Gross negligence, ignorance or incompetence in the practice of his/her occupation;

e. Addiction to alcoholic drinks and prohibited drugs;

f. False or unethical advertisement and practice;

g. Physical incapacity which will impair the performance of duty as a massage therapist;

h. Failure to revalidate the certificate of registration for at least five (5) years; and

i. Other analogous grounds affecting the occupation.

SECTION 5. Practice of Massage.

5.1 Licensed massage therapists shall practice massage in accordance with the following:

5.1.1 Only persons holding valid certificate of registration issued by the Committee and approved by the Secretary of Health shall be authorized to practice massage as a profession in the Philippines;

5.1.2 Qualified or practicing massage therapist are absolutely prohibited to use the "Dr. sign before, or the letters "M.D." after his/her name in advertising his/her profession in the newspapers, cards, signboards or any other means of advertisement;

5.1.3 Massage therapists shall not engage in any other occupation which may infect his/her hands and may likely transfer the disease to another person. In case massage therapists shall inhibit themselves in the practice of massage until such time that they have been cured;

5.1.4 Massage therapists are not allowed to prescribe any form of drugs or medical therapy;

5.1.5 Massage therapists shall not use or apply substances or preparations of any kind containing chemicals or materials that are detrimental to human health and hygiene in performing massage to anyone;

5.1.6 Massage therapists shall comply with standard and scientifically accepted procedures and techniques in performing massage to any person;

5.1.7 Massage therapists shall possess an annual up-to-date health certificate secured from the Department of Health accredited government clinic or hospital;

5.1.8 Massage therapists shall clip their health certificate visibly in the upper left portion of their uniforms worn while working;

5.1.9 Massage therapist shall wear clean working garments when attending to clients;

5.1.10 Massage therapists shall wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water and apply 70% isopropyl alcohol before and after attending to clients;

5.1.11 Massage therapists are not allowed to render services, other than the proper standard massage to client;

5.1.12 Massage therapist shall render no more than eight (8) hours of work supervision a day. ECcTaS

5.2 Career Path

5.2.1 Human Resource Production, Utilization, Placement and Development

The Committee, in coordination with the accredited training institutions and accredited training providers, as well as the professional organizations, is hereby mandated to formulate and develop a comprehensive Massage Therapy Program indicating a continuing massage therapy education that includes a valid assessment of career performance and potential, towards, upgrading the level of skills of massage therapists in the country, such as but not limited to the areas of performing massage procedures as may be determined by the Committee.

5.2.2 Salary and Compensation

In order to enhance the general welfare and commitment to service and professionalism of massage therapists, the minimum base pay of licensed massage therapists working in massage clinics, sauna establishments, training institutions and areas relevant to the practice of the profession, shall not be lower than the prescribed minimum wage by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Provided, that for licensed massage therapist working in small establishments, adjustments of their salaries shall be in accordance with their number of clients per month as per agreement between the employer and the massage therapist.

SECTION 6. Functions/Responsibilities of the Regional Health Director/Center for Health Development Director.

6.1 The Regional Health Director/Center for Health Development Director shall:

6.1.1 Act on the application of renewal of the certificates of registration of massage therapists through the Human Resource Development Units (HRDUs);

6.1.2 Submit the list of massage therapists whose licenses have been renewed to the Committee every last quarter of the year;

6.1.3 Recommend to the Secretary of Health through the Committee, the suspension or revocation of the certificates of the erring massage therapist.


Penal Provisions

SECTION 7. Penal Provision.

7.1 Any person who shall violate, disobey, refuse, omit or neglect to comply with any of the provisions of these rules and regulations, interfere with or hinder, or oppose any officer, agent or member of the Department or of the bureaus and officers under it, in the performance of their duties as such under these rules and regulations, or shall tear down, mutilate, deface or alter any placard, or notice, affixed to the promises in the enforcement of these rules and regulations, shall be prosecuted before the Court of Justice as provided in Section 103 (a) and (b) of the

7.2 All massage therapist and other personnel who shall violate the provision of

SECTION 8. Separability Clause.

In the event that any rule, section, paragraph, sentence, clause or word of these implementing rules and regulations is declared invalid for any reason, the other provisions thereof shall not be affected thereby.

SECTION 9. Repealing Clause.

All rules and regulations which are inconsistent with the provisions of these implementing rules and regulations are hereby repealed or amended accordingly. As thus amended, all other provisions in this AO still stands in effect.

SECTION 10. Effectivity.

These rules and regulations shall take effect after fifteen (15) days from date of publication in the official gazette or newspaper of general circulation. EHSADc

Secretary of Health