ACRONYM MUMBO JUMBO!
If you would like to confirm whether or not a particular health professional, therapist, or business is properly licensed, you can visit TDLR to do a quick & easy search:
Licensed Massage Therapist
While regulations vary from state to state, health professionals with the “LMT” designation in Texas are allowed to perform soft-tissue manipulation & bodywork therapy(s) on their clients. Only those with this designation may use the word “massage” in their practice.
Approximately 46 states entrusts the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards’ (FSMTB) Massage Boards Licensing Exam (MBLEx) to ensure best practices are upheld. The MBLEx is a rigorous, two (2) hour exam using Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) programming.
Additionally, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) hold LMTs across the United States to the highest professional ethical standards. Look for these seals when searching for a quality health professional:
Massage Therapy Instructor
With this designation, health professionals may teach bodywork and/or massage therapy courses according to their states’ laws.
Again, regulations vary from state to state, but the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR) states the following requirements:
1. Be a current licensed massage therapist.
2. Engaged in massage practice for at least one year and conducted at least 500 hours of hands-on experience.
3. High school diploma (or higher)
However, the “gold standard” of MTI’s licensing falls to the NCBTMB AP Instructor Qualifications:
1. Holds a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university by the U.S. Department of Education***OR***
2. 5 years of professional experience***OR***
3. 2 years minimum teaching experience***OR***
4. Completed NCBTMB teacher training program
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Master of Physical Therapy
The three key differences between an LMT and DPT:
1. Length of schooling. Most DPT programs take 3-4 years to complete; LMT programs range from 6 to 24 months.
2. Scope of Practice. A DPT is able to give official diagnoses & create treatment protocols.
3. Health Insurance Billing. The majority of health insurance plans do not cover massage therapy sessions.
In an effort to exact the highest professional standards and provide patients with excellent care, the American Physical Therapist Association (APTA) will ensure physical therapy is provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy by the year 2020. Essentially, raising the bar for those wish to provide care, rehabilitation, & medical therapy to patients.
A seemingly minor distinction, but one that makes a tremendous difference in qualifications, training, & regulation. Regulation varies from state-to-state.
For those who identify as a “Personal Trainer” - there is next to zero mandatory minimum qualifications and/or training required to work as a “Personal Trainer.” Essentially, anyone can create their own business & call themselves a “Personal Trainer.” While there are several, quality private training institutions (Ex. Nike Pro Training; Onnit Academy) to choose from, they are entirely voluntary. If you are interested in finding a Personal Trainer, be sure to ask for their background, training and qualifications.
An “Athletic Trainer” on the other hand, adheres to a strict set of professional ethics & guidelines and fall under TDLR regulation. In the state of Texas, “Athletic Trainers” can apply for licensing by completing 1 of 4 methods:
1. Apprenticeship (1,800 hours under an accredited ATC at an accredited university/collegiate athletic program; Bachelor’s degree; at least 24 credits of relevant coursework; current CPR/AED certification)
2. Board of Certification (Current certification by the Board of Certification (BOC); current CPR/AED certification)
3. Physical Therapy (Bachelor’s (or higher) degree in physical therapy; complete 720 clock-hours at an accredited university/collegiate ATC program; current CPR/AED certification)
4. Commission on Accreditation of AT Education (original AT program transcript from an accredited AT university/college; CPR/AED certification)
In my experience, there are many excellent Personal Trainers out there, ready to help you achieve your fitness goals. At the same, clients with specific limitations, treatment protocols, or sensitive clinical/medical goals may benefit from the additional education & experience of an Athletic Trainer.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Chiropractors provide physician level care to clients in need of postural adjustments, pain relief, and various rehabilitative services as a part of a recognized health team. As such, major health institutions such as Medicaid, Medicare, Federal Workers’ Compensation, etc… acknowledge & cover the costs of chiropractic services. In 2015, the American Medical Associaton (AMA) and the Joint Commission (committee responsible for accrediting over 20,000 healthcare systems in the US) both acknowledged the effectiveness of spinal adjustments in treating lower back pain. A major step towards a more comprehensive, holistic approach to patient care.
As of this writing, there are currently 17 Doctorate of Chiropractic Programs (DCPs) accredited by the Concil of Chiropractic Education (CCE). The Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB) administers the mandatory, nationwide chiropractic exam to gain licensure.
In March 2019, approximately 77% of chiropractic patients described their care of “very effective.”
Registered Yoga Teacher
Starting in May of 1997, the Yoga Alliance has become the de facto standard of quality for training new yoga teachers. Over the last 20+ years, the Yoga Alliance’s “RYT” designation has become almost mandatory for finding employment as a yoga instructor.
There is currently no regulation or requirements for individuals to provide yoga services or operate a yoga studio in Texas.