Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx)
Most employers of massage therapists require that their employees be licensed to work in their facility. In fact, if a massage therapist is not licensed, it may send the message that the therapist is not qualified or reputable; therefore, obtaining a massage and bodywork license is strongly recommended.
The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) is offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). There are two ways to become eligible to take the FSMTB:
1. To be deemed eligible to take the MBLEx by the FSMTB, an application must be submitted, proof of education and training in the test areas, agree in writing to follow FSMTB’s policies, and pay a $195 application fee,
2. To be deemed eligible to take the MBLEx by a state licensing board or agency, the applicant must be approved by the board or agency, as well as agree in writing to follow the FSMTB’s policies, and pay a $195 application fee.
Candidates have 2 ½ hours to complete 125 multiple-choice questions. Tests are scored on a scaled basis. The lowest possible score a candidate can achieve on the examination is 300 and the highest score is 900. A minimum score of 630 is required to pass the test. An outline of content that candidates can expect to see covered on the examination is presented below:
Anatomy and physiology: 14 percent
• Special Senses
• Special Senses
Healthcare related and medical terminology
Tissue injury and repair
Concepts of energetic anatomy
Kinesiology: 11 percent
Components and characteristics of muscles
Concepts of muscle contractions
Locations, attachments, actions, and fiber directions of muscles
Joint structure and function
Range of motion
Pathology, contraindications, areas of caution, and special populations: 13 percent
• Site specific
• Pathology related
• Special populations
• Special applications
Areas of caution
Classes of medications
Benefits and physiological effects of techniques that touch and manipulate soft tissue: 17 percent
Identification of the physiological effects of soft tissue manipulation
Psychological aspects and benefits of touch
Benefits of soft tissue manipulation for specific client populations
Soft tissue techniques
• Types of strokes
• Sequence of applications
Hot and cold applications
Client assessment, reassessment, and treatment planning: 17 percent
Organization of a massage therapy session
Client consultation and evaluation (verbal intake and health history form)
Written data collection
Range of motion assessment
Goal setting and the formulation of a treatment strategy
Overview of massage and bodywork history, culture, and modalities: 5 percent
Ethics, boundaries, laws and regulations: 13 percent
Code of ethics violations
The therapeutic relationship
Massage and bodywork-related laws and regulations
Scope of practice
Guidelines for professional practice: 10 percent
Proper and safe use of equipment and supplies
Sanitation and cleanliness
Free MBLEx Practice Test Questions
1. Which three classes of lymphocytes circulate in the bloodstream?
A. Cytotoxic T cells, stromal cells, and plasma cells
B. B cells, NK cells, and stromal cells
C. Cytotoxic T cells, helper T cells, and suppressor T cells
D. Thymus-dependent T cells, bone marrow-derived B cells, and natural killer cells
2. When friction is applied to the skin, it increases the dissipation of heat by approximately ___.
3. What is the primary function of antidiuretic hormone (ADH)?
A. It stimulates cell growth and replication.
B. It increases production of melanocytes in the skin.
C. It decreases the amount of water lost from the kidneys.
D. It stimulates smooth muscle contractions in the wall of the uterus.
4. A client is experiencing pain related to exacerbation of rheumatoid arthritis and has requested a massage. Is massage during this period safe for the client?
A. Yes, as long as the client communicates her level of pain tolerance.
B. Yes, because gentle massage can reduce stress and provide comfort.
C. No, massage will worsen any inflammation during this period.
D. No, massage is not safe for individuals with RA either during symptom exacerbation or remission.
5. Which cranial nerve innervates the lateral rectus muscle?
Answers & Explanations
1. D: The three classes of lymphocytes that circulate in blood are thymus-dependent T cells, bone marrow-derived B cells, and NK (natural killer) cells. T cells make up approximately 80% of circulating lymphocytes, while B cells make up 10-15%, and the remaining 5-10% is made up of NK cells.
2. D: Friction raises skin temperature by bringing more blood to the surface, thereby increasing the production of heat. This causes a 95% increase in heat dissipation. Friction encourages circulation by accelerating the flow of the blood and the lymph by emptying the veins, lymph spaces, and channels.
3. C: The primary function of ADH is to control how much water is lost through the kidneys. With the loss minimized, water absorbed from the digestive tract will be retained, which reduces the concentrations of electrolytes in the extracellular fluid. ADH release is inhibited by alcohol, which is why there is an increase in fluid excretion after consuming alcoholic beverages.
4. C: Massage is contraindicated during an exacerbation period of rheumatoid arthritis because it will worsen the inflammation that is present. When in remission, it is safe to administer massage to a client with RA. Areas and nodules that are tender should be avoided. The massage can reduce stress and gentle stretches and joint mobilizations can help increase joint mobility.
5. A: The lateral rectus muscle is innervated by the abducens nerves (VI). This pair of nerves originates in the pons and passes through the superior orbital fissures of the sphenoid bone. They are the sixth pair of extra-ocular muscles and essentially cause abduction of the eye.