(1) The Board requires licensed therapists and licensed establishments to uphold professional and ethical standards that allow for the proper discharge of their responsibilities to those served, that protect the integrity of the profession, and that safeguard the interests of individual clients. To ensure compliance with these professional ethical standards, licensed therapists, and, when applicable, licensed establishments, must:
(a) Accurately inform clients, other health care practitioners, and the public of the scope and limitations of their discipline; and
(b) Acknowledge the limitations of and contraindications for massage and bodywork and, when appropriate, refer clients to appropriate health professionals; and
(c) Avoid any interest, activity or influence which might be in conflict with the licensee's obligation to act in the best interests of the client or the profession; and
(d) Comply with all applicable Tennessee statutes and regulations as well as Orders issued by the Board pursuant to its disciplinary and/or declaratory order authority; and
(e) Conduct their business and professional activities with honesty and integrity, and respect the inherent worth of all persons; and
(f) Consistently maintain and improve professional knowledge and competence, striving for professional excellence through regular assessment of personal and professional strengths and weaknesses and through continued education training; and
(g) Exercise the right to refuse to treat any person or part of the body for just and reasonable cause; and
(h) Have a sincere commitment to provide the highest quality of care to those that seek their professional services; and
(i) Provide treatment only where there is reasonable expectation that it will be advantageous to the client; and
(j) Refrain, if the licensees are owners or employees of a massage therapy educational program approved by the Board pursuant to Rule 0870-02-.02, from dating or having a sexual relationship with any student of such program while the student is enrolled, including the period of time between semesters of attendance; and
(k) Refrain, if the licensees are owners or employees of a massage therapy educational program approved by the Board pursuant to Rule 0870-02-.02, from soliciting any student of such program to be a client or customer for massage therapy services while the student is enrolled, including the period of time between semesters of attendance; and
(l) Refrain from providing services when the licensee is either physically or mentally incapable of safely doing so. The term "safely" as used in this rule means safety of the massage therapists and anyone they come in contact with during the course of professional practice; and
(m) Represent their qualifications honestly, including their educational achievements and professional affiliations, and provide only those services which they are qualified and licensed to perform; and
(n) Respect the client's boundaries with regard to privacy, disclosure, exposure, emotional expression, beliefs, and autonomy, as well as the client's reasonable expectations of professional behavior; and
(o) Respect the client's right to refuse, modify, or terminate treatment regardless of prior consent given; and
(p) Respect the client's right to treatment with informed and voluntary consent by obtaining and recording informed voluntary written consent of the client, or client's advocate, before performing:
1. Therapeutic treatments beyond the normal narrowing of the ear canal and normal narrowing of the nasal passages; or
2. Therapeutic treatments in the oropharnyx; or
3. Therapeutic same-gender breast massage; and
(q) Safeguard the confidentiality of all client information, unless the client provides written permission to release such information; or
1. Unless such information is requested during a formal investigation by representatives of the State of Tennessee or other law enforcement agencies; or
2. Unless required to do so pursuant to any action in a court of law; or
3. Where required by law to report to state or federal agencies; and
(r) Refrain from practicing in an unlicensed establishment; and
(s) Launder or sanitize, before reuse, all materials, equipment and supplies utilized for each client.
(2) Violation of any provision listed in paragraph (1) is grounds for disciplinary action, as provided in Rule 0870-01-.13.


Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0870-01-.19
Original rule filed May 30, 2003; effective August 13, 2003. Amendment filed October 4, 2004; effective December 18, 2004. Amendment filed March 24, 2006; effective June 7, 2006. Amendments filed June 16, 2006; effective August 30, 2006. Amendment filed February 2, 2007; effective April 18, 2007. Amendment filed April 9, 2012; effective July 8, 2012. The Government Operations Committee filed a stay of the rules on July 2, 2012; new effective date August 3, 2012. The Government Operations Committee filed a second stay of the rule on July 13, 2012; new effective date September 6, 2012. Amendments filed May 19, 2017; effective 8/17/2017.

Authority: T.C.A. ยงยง 4-5-202, 4-5-204, 63-18-108, and 63-18-111.

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