2011 marked another very successful calendar year for the American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) as it worked to fulfill its mission of serving its members while advancing the massage therapy profession. The association provided new and enhanced benefits to its members, introduced a mentoring program to foster success for its newest members and brought information about massage therapy to tens of millions of Americans.
Here are some of AMTA’s top stories of 2011:
The American Massage Therapy Association’s annual meeting for massage therapy schools and educators in San Francisco, CA drew together massage therapy school owners, administrators, educators and exhibitors in February to examine the challenges facing massage therapy schools and future massage therapists. With the theme, Thriving in Change, the event included discussion and networking focused on innovative solutions to the many issues facing both the financial health of massage therapy schools and the future of massage therapy education. This important annual community-building event gives AMTA school members and their colleagues’ practical tools to implement in their schools and programs. It also provides a face-to-face opportunity for valuable input to AMTA’s leadership that reflects the school voice in the association’s dialogue and decisions.
Registration is open for the 2012 Schools Summit to be held February 16-17 in Chicago, IL.
The American Massage Therapy Association fourth annual summary research on the state of the massage therapy profession indicated both the impact of the poor economy on massage in the past three years and how massage therapists have adjusted their practices. Released at the AMTA Schools Summit, the full report is a member benefit for AMTA’s Schools Members. Highlights of the research were released as a fact sheet for AMTA members, others in the profession and the public, to provide incites into what is happening in the massage therapy profession. It provides a strong resource for massage therapists and massage therapy schools for their marketing plans. And, it is used heavily by journalists who cover health and wellness issues, and those who watch trends in business. Members, download your free copy of the AMTA 2011 Massage Profession Research Report.
The American Massage Therapy Association published the second in its series of career success guides titled, Working in a Health Care Environment in the spring. Following up on the previous publication for massage therapists who want to work in a spa, this booklet focuses on what a massage therapist can expect when working in a health care location, how to prepare for this kind of work and the likely employment opportunities for massage therapists in health care in coming years.
Provided to AMTA members as an insert in the association’s magazine, MTJ, it also features profiles of two massage therapists who work in different types of health care situations.
The third in the career success guide series, titled, Working in a Franchise Environment was published as an insert in the winter issue of MTJ. It gives candid answers to questions about what it is really like to work in a massage therapy franchise environment.
This career guide also includes comments by massage therapists on their experiences working in a franchise, as well as information provided by major massage therapy franchise executives.
On January 25, AMTA formally launched its new mentoring program to improve communications skills, goal-setting and success planning for AMTA members just entering the massage therapy profession. By March, nearly 300 AMTA members had volunteered their time and expertise to serve as mentors in the program. By January 1, 2012 the number of confirmed mentoring relationships exceeded 170 and the number of volunteers surpassed 400.
The mentoring relationship fosters the development of both participants. Mentors develop their leadership skills, expand their professional networks and give back to the profession. Mentees learn from those with more experience, to help build their careers.
In May, AMTA announced that it was the first massage therapy organization to offer a free mobile credit card reader designed by Square. The card reader plugs into a smart cell phone or iPad and allows massage therapists to accept credit card payments from any location where they have a cell phone signal. AMTA’s relationship with Square provides additional product support to AMTA members. In 2011, more than 2,500 AMTA members used the Square reader in their practices.
AMTA was recognized in May by Association Media & Publishing (AM&P) for the excellence of its social media strategy and the Career Guidance area of its website. The association’s social media innovation, especially its approach as a nonprofit association to use of Facebook, was awarded a Gold EXCEL Award, while its website Career Guidance section received a Silver Award. As of January 1, 2012 AMTA’s Facebook page has more than 17,000 followers.
In late spring, AMTA released an annual summary of its relationships within health care and how they impact the massage therapy profession. The goals and objectives of the association’s ongoing interactions with health care, wellness and medical organizations are:
- To influence the health care community so it acknowledges the value of massage therapy and professional massage therapists;
- To educate all in the health care and wellness industries about the benefits of massage therapy and the growing body of research that supports its value;
- To increase collaboration between AMTA, its members and other health care and wellness industry leaders;
- To enhance the potential for massage therapists to practice in collaboration with other health care providers and in integrative care; and,
- To increase the overall acceptance of massage therapy and advance professional opportunities for all massage therapists.
AMTA launched a fascial therapy continuing education program designed to keep massage therapists current in the profession and to advance their knowledge and skills. This in-depth, two-part program outlines fundamental information on the numerous techniques related to fascial therapy and is designed as a learning tool for massage therapists. The first face-to-face workshop was held at the AMTA National Convention in Portland.
For the fourth year in a row, AMTA participated in the American Heart Association’s Metro Chicago Heart Walk in the Chicago area, September 23-October 1, 2011. AMTA massage therapists from Illinois provided 10-minute massages to Walk participants as a way to give back to the community.
AMTA’s 15th annual consumer survey found more consumers are using massage therapy for pain relief and other health issues. The number of adults in the U.S. who had at least one massage in the previous 12 months remained at 18 percent.
The American Massage Therapy Association House of Delegates approved three position statements for the association, while the Board of Directors chose Denver, CO as the site for AMTA’s 2014 national convention. The position statements approved are:
- It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association that massage therapy can be effective in reducing the symptoms of depression.
- It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association that massage can be an effective therapy for those who suffer from tension headaches.
- It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association that those who participate in exercise programs, as well as athletes in training, can benefit from massage therapy.
Featuring a special education track for massage as part of integrated health, the American Massage Therapy Association national convention brought together more than 1,400 participants from October 19 to 22 in Portland, Oregon, for one of AMTA’s largest conventions. The association presented a ceremonial check for $420,000 to the Massage Therapy Foundation, announced preliminary findings from research on massage in a hospital environment, and announced mobile access to AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist® national locator service. The expanded Exhibit Marketplace included more companies than in 2010, offering attendees nearly 80 exhibits of massage therapy products and services. Meanwhile, attendees were able to earn more than 20 hours of continuing education credit. And, people could follow the events through Twitter and Facebook posts throughout the convention.
AMTA President Glenath Moyle announced that the Governor of Oregon had proclaimed it American Massage Therapy Association Week in Oregon. And, keynote speaker Kevin Carroll, founder of The Katalyst Consultancy and author of Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, captivated the audience, describing his life experience, engaging attendees with his approach to life and relating it to choices massage therapists make that can help them be successful.
AMTA's 15th annual National Massage Therapy Awareness Week® (NMTAW) activities and public relations reached a media audience of 240 million the last week of October. AMTA reinforced the value of massage for health and wellness for existing and potential massage therapy clients. Major online publications and news services published information from AMTA’s annual consumer survey and featured stories on the growing acceptance of the health benefits of massage therapy. These included placements on Reuters Health, Women’s Health Magazine, AOL and Yahoo! AMTA chapters and members in nearly all states reached out to the public with information about massage, massage demonstrations and charity events during the week.
In 2011, AMTA continued its relationships with spas and spa organizations to improve the opportunities for massage therapists who choose to work in spas. In November, the association participated for the fifth year in the International Spa Association (ISPA) Annual Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, NV.
The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) announces the results of its 2011 national election, conducted electronically among its Professional members. Winona Bontrager of Pennsylvania was voted President-Elect. She will serve in that position from March 1, 2012 through February 28, 2013 when she will assume the position of President. On March 1, 2012 current President-Elect, Cynthia Ribeiro of California, will become AMTA President.
Rachel Mann (NC) and Jeff Smoot (OK) were elected as Vice Presidents and will serve two-year terms beginning March 1, 2012. Three Members-at-Large of the Board also were elected: John William Kelley (TX), Dolly Wallace (MI) and Richard Wedegartner (MA).