AMTA – 75 Years of Advancing the Profession

2018 AMTA Year In Review

Partnerships, Healthcare Acceptance and Public Education in 2018

In 2018, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) celebrated its 75th anniversary with new relationships, significant achievements and major steps forward for the profession.

As the non-profit organization representing the profession, with the largest membership in its history again this year, the association’s efforts included multiplying partnerships to advance massage therapy education and standards; expanding relations with a variety of health care associations to build respect for the profession; engaging state and federal government agencies and organizations to increase opportunities for integration of massage therapy into health care; and providing health insurance plans with information on the efficacy of massage therapy for pain.

AMTA continued to promote massage therapy to consumers and to enhance the future of the profession by providing free student memberships to those enrolled in massage therapy school, free MBLEx preparation and anatomy apps to students, and several free continuing education courses to all massage therapists.  And, for the third year in a row, we held one of the largest national conventions in AMTA history!

AMTA’s 2018 Efforts to Advance the Profession

Nationwide Radio Ads to Promote AMTA Members & The Profession 

AMTA mounted a nationwide radio advertising campaign this year on a variety of radio networks, such as I-Heart Radio Countdown with Mario Lopez. Because of the nature of the radio networks targeted, and reaching 1,400 stations, virtually every part of the U.S. was covered with the ads.

AMTA Consumer Outreach Promotes Massage Therapy Research  

AMTA issued multiple press releases to national consumer, business and healthcare media to educate the public on the growing body of massage therapy research. Each release reached approximately 80 million readers. Read more about AMTA’s consumer outreach to promote massage therapy research.

Academy of Integrative Pain Management (AIPM)

  • In the spring, AMTA Immediate-Past President Dolly Wallace provided a second article for the AAFP magazine, The Pain Practitioner, about the benefits of massage therapy for pain.
  • In October, AIPM asked AMTA to provide a post about massage therapy as an integrative approach to pain for their monthly blog.
  • AMTA was also an active participant in the AIPM national conference and the November Integrative Pain Care Policy Congress in Boston.

Public Education on Massage with Key Pain Organizations

  • AMTA began collaborating with the American College of Physicians and the AIPM on an educational campaign about the importance of integrative therapies such as massage therapy in changing approaches to pain management. And, AMTA’s representative participated in a healthcare panel at the November Alliance for Balanced Pain Management Summit in Washington, D.C.
  • Massage Therapy Instead of Opioids – AMTA published “Massage Therapy in Integrative Care & Pain Management” and began distributing it to health care organizations, insurers and national and state legislators. The document provides the first economic analysis of the cost savings of massage therapy for pain vs. opioids.
  • Medicare Advantage Insurance Plans Encouraged to Cover Massage – In September, AMTA sent a letter to 700 Medicare Advantage insurance programs about recommendations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) that they provide insurance coverage of massage therapy for pain, when the massage is given by a state-licensed massage therapist. CMS has already indicated 270 Medicare Advantage plans may provide coverage of massage for pain in 2019.  
  • AMTA Representatives Meet with NIH – In March, AMTA representatives met with senior staff at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The meeting focused on the necessity of increasing the amount of massage therapy research, as massage therapy has become more accepted as an important approach to managing pain.

American Medical Association

AMTA maintained its representation to the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Health Care Professional’s Advisory Committee. AMTA’s representatives provided input into decisions related to CPT code use by massage therapists. This is of direct benefit to massage therapists who seek insurance reimbursement.

Massage Therapy Foundation

AMTA continued to be the primary benefactor of the Massage Therapy Foundation with financial support exceeding $559,000.  The association directly supported the MTF’s fundraising and awareness-building efforts for the profession, including support for Boston Marathon runners, all of whom are AMTA members.

2018 National Convention Filled with Inspiration

The 2018 AMTA National Convention in Washington, D.C. this past August was a historic success filled with inspiration and positive energy from start to finish. Celebrating the association’s 75th anniversary, the Opening Session Keynote Speaker, Bert Jacobs, set the tone with his passion for optimism and giving back to others. He shared stories of the positive impact, Life is Good has had on the lives of many. 

The Closing Session focused on veterans and the impact massage can have on them. Sergeant Noah Galloway told his personal story and inspired the crowd with his humility, perseverance, and dedication. His veteran’s voice rounded out a panel of experts – Dr. Niki Munk, Nicole Miller and Dr. Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier – who discussed the science and benefits of massage therapy for military veterans. 

AMTA Announces Support for AFMTE and COMTA

In August, AMTA announced a $75,000 commitment to the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) and staff support to bring the Alliance’s Teacher Education Standards Project to the profession. And, the association announced its scholarship commitment to help schools who might have wanted to achieve accreditation from the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA),  but previously weren’t able to do so because of the expense.

AMTA-Funded Research Published in Prestigious Journal

Funded by AMTA through Team Roger C. Peace, research on the value of massage therapy for elite para-cyclists was published in January 2018 for open access online by the British Medical Journal: Sport & Exercise Medicine.

The research followed the impact of massage therapy on para-cyclists as they trained and competed in national and international events including the 2016 Summer Paralympic games in Rio.

“I am immensely proud of AMTA’s 75 years of achievement that have a real impact on the potential for massage therapists to receive the respect they and our profession deserve,” says AMTA President Joan Nichols. “AMTA demonstrates its commitment every day to our mission to serve our members and advance the massage therapy profession.”

The American Massage Therapy Association, the most trusted name in massage therapy, is the largest nonprofit, professional association for massage therapists in North America.  It is directed by volunteer leadership and fosters ongoing, direct member-involvement through its 51 chapters.  AMTA works to advance the profession through ethics and standards, the promotion of fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states, and public education on the benefits of massage.