Since 1943, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has been working to advance the massage therapy 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 Therapy  Accreditation)
  • 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.
    • 2002 – Contributed report on massage therapy 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 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.
    • 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.
      - 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
    • 2007 – Published first state of the massage therapy industry report – The Massage Therapy Profession Report.
    • January 2009 – Announced view that Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx), developed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), is the best choice for a licensing exam that can lead to portability of massage practice.
    • 2009 – Launched multi-faceted social media program for members and consumers using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.


  • 2010 – AMTA Vision Statement approved – As the most trusted professionals in massage therapy, American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) members are integral to health care and wellness. 
    - Board of Directors revised/updated AMTA Code of Ethics
    - Began publication of a series of AMTA career guides for massage therapists working in a variety of venues (e.g. health care, sports massage, franchises, etc.)
  • 2012 – Launched a multi-faceted, long term consumer awareness program to increase public knowledge of the health benefits of massage therapy and the value of choosing AMTA massage therapists for their massage. The program reached tens of millions of Americans.
    - Began student and school scholarships to foster the development of outstanding new massage therapists.
  • 2012-14 – Collaborated with the coalition of massage therapy organizations on the Entry-Level Analysis Project (ELAP).
  • 2013 – Began specialized support of the Massage Therapy Foundation through Boston Marathon runners for research.
  • 2014 – Published The Value and Efficacy of Massage Therapy in Integrated Health Care, summarizing research on the therapeutic value of massage therapy, integration of massage therapy in emerging health care systems and the economic value of massage therapy.
    – Began sponsorship of para-cycling Team Roger C. Peace and support of data gathering on impact of massage on para-athletes.
    – Announced national partnership with the American Red Cross to collaborate on massage therapy services for Red Cross Volunteers locally in both emergency and non-emergency community events.
  • 2015 – Launched a free mobile Study Guide App to help students and recent massage school graduates prepare to take the MBLEx.
    Consumer research conducted by Zogby & Associates showed AMTA is the most trusted and most respected name in massage therapy, more than double of any other massage organization.

View the full timeline »

April 2016

© American Massage Therapy Association 2018

"Being a member of AMTA has totally opened my business and career wide open."

Kelly L., AMTA member since 2010