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Defining Manual and Massage Therapy Medical Codes
2005: Volume 2, Number 1


Christopher Breuleux, PhD, RMT

President, Medical Wellness Association


Massage therapy has proven beneficial as a growing number of physicians; chiropractors and other healthcare practitioners prescribe manual and physical treatments for their patients. Research findings show that therapeutic massage programs in medical facilities continues to grow as the American Hospital Association (AHA) confirms the number of registered massage therapists that work in medical centers has significantly increased. (1) The Medical Wellness Association (MWA) confirms that there are numerous benefits to offering massage in a medical setting. (2)


The American Medical Association (AMA) updates the manual each year that contains the codes for known medical procedures and treatments. The procedures manual is revised quarterly due to the always-changing field of medicine. The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes offer a concise description of the medical professional’s actions. CPT codes, descriptions and other medical data for 2005 are copyrighted and CPT is a trademark of the AMA. Only practitioners, employees and agents are authorized to use CPT- authorized materials internally within your organization. Use is limited to Medicare, Medicaid or other programs administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Standard Massage Therapy Definitions and Terms
The increased regulation of massage makes the medical and physician referral and insurance reimbursement more common. Massage therapy means the manipulation of soft tissue by hand or through a mechanical or electrical apparatus for the purpose of body massage and includes: effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (percussion), compression, friction, vibration and nerve strokes. The terms "massage," "therapeutic massage," "massage technology," myotherapy," "body massage," "body rub," or any derivation of those terms are synonyms for "massage therapy." (3)

Massage therapy constitutes a medical and health care service if the massage therapy is for therapeutic purposes. The terms "therapy" and "therapeutic" when used in the context of massage therapy practice do not include a service or procedure for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, or podiatry is required by law. (3)

Medical massage is an adjunct to medical treatment and enhances the effectiveness of therapeutic care. Medical massage works with patients who have health problems or injury that requires physician or hospital care. Massage therapy referrals are growing in popularity by the public and acceptance by the medical community. As a profession, massage is a scientifically proven health and medical modality which has gained widespread popularity and consumer demand.

1. Berland, Theodore. Hospitals Embrace Massage, Massage Therapy Journal, January 2004, p60.
2. Breuleux, Christopher. Therapeutic Massage for Healthcare Services, Medical Wellness Journal, Vol.1, No 2, 2004, p14.
3. 2005 Texas Administrative Code, Secretary of State, Department of State Health Services, September, 2004.


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