AMTA Timeline

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Since 1943, AMTA has been working to advance the profession while providing our members with the strongest benefits. Here's a timeline documenting key milestones in AMTA's history.


  • August 16, 1943 – Postgraduate class of College of Swedish Massage in Chicago met in an open forum, decided to form a new professional association called the American Association of Masseurs and Masseuses (AAMM).  Basis of Pledge of membership was commitment to service, ethical practice and the massage therapy profession. 
  • 1946 – AAMM organization formalized, adopted constitution and bylaws, stating, “The purpose of this association is to foster the spirit of cooperation, the exchange of ideas and techniques among its members, and to advance the science of massage so as to merit the respect and confidence of all people, and benefit mankind.”
  • 1949 – Began official efforts to help legitimize massage therapy through state laws.  Massage Registration Act created as model law for states to register legitimate massage therapists. 


  • 1958 – Name changed to American Massage & Therapy Association (AM&TA)


  • 1960 – Incorporated as a non-profit organization and Code of Ethics developed. 


  • 1983 – Name changed to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).  Removal of “&” supported practice of massage therapy as legitimate professional field unto itself, separate from physical therapy.
  • 1988 – adoption of a revised mission statement
  • 1989 – National Office opened in Chicago, relocated to Evanston, IL in 1992 and to its current quarters in 2004. 


  • 1990s – Established National Certification Program for Massage Therapists (now the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork), AMTA Commission on Massage Training Accreditation & Approval (now the Commission on Massage
    - Provided testimony to national presidential and congressional bodies on efficacy of massage and standards for the profession.
  • 1992 – First Strategic Plan adopted to guide AMTA’s direction and planning
    - Chapter Relations Program established to support chapter officers, by providing them with information, training and other services.
  • 1997 – Began promoting National Massage Therapy Awareness Week® as means to better inform news media and public about the efficacy of massage and the professionalism of AMTA massage therapists. 
    - Commissioned first annual consumer survey on attitudes and usage of massage therapy;   annual results now most consistent gauge of massage usage and consumer attitudes on massage.
    - Launched AMTA website


  • 2000 – Public statement of view that there are cornerstones of any profession that need to be clearly expressed – accreditation, licensure, certification and research.  Association commitment to ensure these cornerstones established for the massage therapy profession.
  • 2001 – Began support of Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) and membership in Academic Consortium of Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC).
  • 2002 – Contributed report on massage to White House Commission on CAM Policy. 
    - Began relationship with American Medical Association (AMA) to work toward future clarity on use of Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Codes for massage therapy
  • 2004 – Mission statement updated to current version, to reflect focus of the association – “The mission of the American Massage Therapy Association is to serve AMTA members while advancing the art, science and practice of massage therapy.”
    - Finalized process to publicly express the views of the association on aspects of massage therapy through official position statements. 
  • 2005 – Volunteer Development Program begun to match skills and time commitments of potential volunteers with work AMTA needs at national and chapter levels.
  • January 2006 – Released first summary overview of entire massage therapy industry, continued in 2007 with first state of the industry report.
  • 2006 – Centralized government relations program and focused it to advocate fair and consistent licensure in all U.S. states, to eventually achieve portability of practice between states. 
    - Expanded continuing education opportunities to online courses.  Within three years, courses had been accessed 15,400 times.
    - House of Delegates approved first AMTA position statement, “It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association that massage therapy can be effective for stress relief.” 
  • 2006/07 – Bylaws reformed and streamlined
  • January 2009 – Announced view that Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx), developed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), is best choice for a licensing exam that can lead to portability of massage practice.
  • 2009 – Election of national board of directors via electronic vote, fostering member participation and making more information about candidates available to members.
    - Launched multi-faceted social networking program for members and consumers using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
  • Spring 2010 – Number of states that regulate profession is 43, plus Washington, D.C. 
    - Revised AMTA Code of Ethics

July 2010

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© American Massage Therapy Association 2010

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"As a professional member of AMTA, I have found comfort in knowing that all the effort I put into obtaining my massage certification is recognized and protected. AMTA standards validate the profession."

Kim K., AMTA member since 2003

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AMTA has long been the leading choice among massage therapists looking to establish themselves within the profession. We provide our members with the strongest benefits and promote massage therapy to the public and health care community.

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