Comment on Proposed Bylaw Changes
AMTA gives all members the opportunity to voice their thoughts on proposed bylaw changes. Bylaws govern your association, and your comments are weighed by the board before any decisions are made.
We encourage you to review the notification and provide input to Gilda Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than May 22, 2020.
Read the Proposed Bylaw Change here.
You must be a member to view the AMTA Policy Manual.
Mission of the American Massage Therapy Association
To serve AMTA members while advancing the art, science and practice of massage therapy.
- We are a diverse and nurturing community working with integrity, respect and dignity.
- We are a nonprofit member-driven organization of ethical professionals.
- We embrace consistency in education.
- We endorse professional standards.
- We affirm and promote the benefits of massage therapy as validated by research.
As the most trusted professionals in massage therapy, American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) members are integral to health care and wellness.
AMTA’s vision is a future where:
- AMTA members are devoted to professionalism and excellence in massage therapy practice.
- Quality research is the foundation for evidence-informed massage therapy education and practice.
- AMTA supports its members in expanding their knowledge through quality education.
- AMTA embodies the spirit of community in support of its members.
- AMTA promotes its members as the highest quality professionals in massage therapy.
- Massage therapy is easily accessible.
- Massage therapy is a vital component of health care and wellness.
Goal: AMTA members receive and potential members discover the rewards of AMTA membership.
Objective: To increase awareness among members and potential members of the value of AMTA membership.
Goal: Support high standards in massage therapy education.
Objective: Expand massage therapy education that elevates the professional competency of our members.
Advocacy and Influence
Goal: The health care and wellness industry accepts the value of massage therapy
Objective: Increase understanding of the benefits of massage therapy through education of the health care and wellness industry.
Image and Awareness
Goal: Consumers prefer massage therapy from AMTA members.
Objective: Increase consumer preference for massage therapy provided by an AMTA member.
Goal: AMTA is a respected leader within the health care and wellness industry.
Objective: Increase collaboration between AMTA, its members and other health care and wellness industry leaders.
Goal: AMTA members are aware of the importance of scientific research to the massage therapy industry.
Objective: Increase the opportunities for members to access massage therapy scientific research through AMTA sources.
Goal: AMTA works for effective licensing both to ensure the right to practice of massage therapists and to protect the public.
Objective: To establish portability of massage practice throughout the United States and its territories.
Goal: AMTA members experience a sense of community.
Objective: Increase opportunities for members to feel connected to AMTA nationally and locally.
Note: AMTA’s Future Directions was first developed in May 2003; submitted to the membership and other stakeholders in a call for comment in summer 2003; revised and approved by the AMTA board in October 2003. This edition of the strategic plan was developed in June 2010 with input from chapter leaders and the membership.
You must be a member to view the AMTA Bylaws.
These American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Standards of Practice were developed to assist the professional massage therapist to:
provide safe, consistent care
determine the quality of care provided
provide a common base to develop a practice
support/preserve the basic rights of the client and professional massage therapist
assist the public to understand what to expect from a professional massage therapist
This document allows the professional massage therapist to evaluate and adapt performance in his/her massage/bodywork practice. The professional massage therapist can evaluate the quality of his/her practice by utilizing the Standards of Practice in conjunction with the Code of Ethics, the Bylaws and Policies of AMTA, and precedents set by the AMTA Grievance, Standards and Bylaws Committees.
1. Conduct of the Professional Massage Therapist or Practitioner, hereinafter referred to as "Practitioner"
1.1 AMTA members must meet and maintain appropriate membership requirements.
1.2 Individual AMTA members who engage in the practice of professional massage/bodywork, shall adhere to standards of professional conduct, including the AMTA Code of Ethics.
1.3 The Practitioner follows consistent standards in all settings.
1.4 The Practitioner seeks professional supervision/consultation consistent with promoting and maintaining appropriate application of skills and knowledge.
2. Sanitation, Hygiene and Safety
2.1 Practitioner provides an environment consistent with accepted standards of sanitation, hygiene, safety and universal precautions.
2.2 Pathophysiology (Contraindications)
2.2.1 The Practitioner maintains current knowledge and skills of pathophysiology and the appropriate application of massage/bodywork.
2.2.2 The Practitioner monitors feedback from the client throughout a session.
2.2.3 The Practitioner makes appropriate referrals to other reputable healthcare providers.
3. Professional Relationships with Clients
3.1 The Practitioner relates to the client in a manner consistent with accepted standards and ethics.
3.2 The Practitioner maintains appropriate professional standards of confidentiality.
3.3 The Practitioner relates to the client in a manner which respects the integrity of the client and practitioner.
3.4 The Practitioner ensures that representations of his/her professional services, policies, and procedures are accurately communicated to the client prior to the initial application of massage/bodywork.
3.5 The Practitioner elicits participation and feedback from the client.
4. Professional Relationships with Other Professionals
4.1 The Practitioner relates to other reputable professionals with appropriate respect and within the parameters of accepted ethical standards.
4.2 The Practitioner's referrals to other professionals are only made in the interest of the client.
4.3 The Practitioner's communication with other professionals regarding clients is in compliance with accepted standards and ethics.
4.4 A Practitioner possessing knowledge that another practitioner:
(1) committed a criminal act that reflects adversely on the Practitioner's competence in massage therapy, trustworthiness or fitness to practice massage therapy in other respects;
(2) engaged in an act or practice that significantly undermines the massage therapy profession; or
(3) engaged in conduct that creates a risk of serious harm for the physical or emotional well being of a recipient of massage therapy; shall report such knowledge to the appropriate AMTA committee if such information is not protected or restricted by a confidentiality law.
5.1 Client Records
5.1.1 The Practitioner establishes and maintains appropriate client records.
5.2 Financial Records
5.2.1 The Practitioner establishes and maintains client financial accounts that follow accepted accounting practices.
6.1 Marketing consists of, but is not limited to, advertising, public relations, promotion and publicity.
6.2 The Practitioner markets his/her practice in an accurate, truthful and ethical manner.
7. Legal Practice
7.1 American Massage Therapy Association members practice or collaborate with all others practicing professional massage/bodywork in a manner that is in compliance with national, state or local municipal law(s) pertaining to the practice of professional massage/bodywork.
8.1 The Practitioner engaged in study and/or research is guided by the conventions and ethics of scholarly inquiry.
8.2 The Practitioner doing research avoids financial or political relationships that may limit objectivity or create conflict of interest.
This Code of Ethics is a summary statement of the standards of conduct that define ethical behavior for the massage therapist. Adherence to the Code is a prerequisite for admission to and continued membership in the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
Principles of Ethics
The Principles of Ethics form the first part of the Code of Ethics. They are aspirational and inspirational model standards of exemplary professional conduct for all members of the association. These Principles should not be regarded as limitations or restrictions, but as goals for which members should constantly strive.
Massage therapists/practitioners shall:
- Demonstrate commitment to provide the highest quality massage therapy/bodywork to those who seek their professional service.
- Acknowledge the inherent worth and individuality of each person by not discriminating or behaving in any prejudicial manner with clients and/or colleagues.
- Demonstrate professional excellence through regular self-assessment of strengths, limitations and effectiveness by continued education and training.
- Acknowledge the confidential nature of the professional relationship with clients and respect each client’s right to privacy within the constraints of the law.
- Project a professional image and uphold the highest standards of professionalism.
- Accept responsibility to do no harm to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of self, clients and associates.
Rules of Ethics
The Rules of Ethics are mandatory and direct specific standards of minimally acceptable professional conduct for all members of the association. The Rules of Ethics are enforceable for all association members, and any members who violate this Code shall be subject to disciplinary action.
Massage therapists/practitioners shall:
Conduct all business and professional activities within their scope of practice and all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
Refrain from engaging in any sexual conduct or sexual activities involving their clients in the course of a massage therapy session.
Be truthful in advertising and marketing, and refrain from misrepresenting his or her services, charges for services, credentials, training, experience, ability or results.
Refrain from using AMTA membership, including the AMTA name, logo or other intellectual property, or the member’s position, in any way that is unauthorized, improper or misleading.
Refrain from engaging in any activity which would violate confidentiality commitments and/or proprietary rights of AMTA or any other person or organization.
Effective Date May 1, 2010
This code of ethics for school members is a summary statement by which a massage education institution agrees to conduct itself and is a declaration of the general principles of acceptable, ethical, professional behavior.
School members shall:
Behave with integrity, honesty, and competence in all professional relationships with other schools, faculty, staff, students, society and the massage therapy profession.
Honestly represent the school and programs in all forms of communication.
Educate students to represent themselves honestly and to provide only those services for which they are qualified to provide.
Provide a positive focused learning environment that addresses a variety of learning styles and includes a physical space conducive to learning, including but not limited to appropriate lighting, heat/air, cleanliness, and equipment.
Conduct the program/school in a manner which respects and teaches the students boundaries and privacy on all levels, including appropriate draping, physical privacy and matters of confidentiality. Any sexual misconduct will be considered a violation of this code of ethics.
Uphold principles and standards which value the dignity and worth of all persons regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender, general disability and/or health status.
1. At the discretion of the president, legal counsel, or the individuals appointed by the board to review the complaint (Member Discipline Panel), the final decision or relevant information related to the investigation of a complaint may be reported to the appropriate federal, state or local regulatory, licensing, or other authorized body.
Complaints must not be discussed except within the board-appointed Member Discipline Panel, and to staff and legal counsel as appropriate, unless:
1. Referred back to the chapter for mediation or other action.
2. Necessary to conduct an investigation of the complaint under Section VII.
3. Disciplinary measures are imposed as otherwise described in this policy.
Any violation of confidentiality by members of the AMTA is a matter potentially subject to discipline under this policy.
Filing a Complaint
A. Complaints may be filed against a member under this policy pursuant to Article V of the Bylaws. All complaints against a member must be submitted in writing to the Executive Director, signed by the complainant, and
include a description of the alleged violation as well as specific references to the activities or conduct supporting the complaint. Complaints may not be based on hearsay evidence.
B. No anonymous complaints will be accepted.
C. All complaints should be filed in a timely manner.
D. Complainants may be AMTA members, officers, staff, or the general public.
E. Any complaint received by chapter officers shall be sent immediately to the Executive Director.
F. No member disciplinary matter shall be retained or acted on at the state level.
Response Upon Receipt of Complaint
A. The Executive Director or his/her designee and/or legal counsel, will review the complaint to determine in a timely manner whether it is
appropriate for consideration under AMTA’s Bylaws and policy.
B. If the complaint fails to state a valid grounds for discipline or is otherwise not appropriate for consideration, AMTA staff shall so notify the complainant in a timely manner (via letter copied to AMTA legal counsel and the
Executive Director or his/her designee), and the matter will be closed.
Evaluation and Determination of Complaint
A. The Executive Director, AMTA legal counsel and/or national board may exercise reasonable discretion in determining whether a complaint is or is not appropriate for consideration.
B. If any complaint includes allegations concerning activities which are or could be the subject of civil, criminal, or other governmental or regulatory proceedings, AMTA shall defer consideration of such complaint pending a decision by, or may refer such complaint to, the appropriate federal,
state or local governmental, regulatory or licensing authority.
C. If it is further determined that both parties would benefit from mediation, the Executive Director, AMTA legal counsel and/or national board may recommend the parties engage in a voluntary mediation process. The parties may elect whether or not to follow such recommendation.
D. If the complaint is appropriate for consideration as a disciplinary matter, the matter will be referred to an ad hoc review panel appointed by the national board (or its designee) and comprised of individuals with
appropriate subject matter or other expertise (Member Discipline Panel) and the Panel may determine whether the complaint warrants a full investigation.
E. If the Member Discipline Panel determines that the complaint does not warrant a full investigation, the complainant will be notified in a timely manner and the matter shall be closed.
F. If the Member Discipline Panel recommends that the complaint does warrant a full investigation, AMTA staff shall send to complainant a package that contains:
1. Release of Information Form.
2. Outline of Member Discipline Procedure.
3. AMTA Code of Ethics and/or Code of Ethics for School Members, relevant Code of Conduct, Bylaws, and/or other applicable policy.
G. The complainant also will be sent a form requiring the complainant to agree and covenant that he or she will not use any information obtained through the member discipline process, or any decision rendered by the AMTA, in any legal proceeding against AMTA or against the member regarding whom the complaint was filed.
Notice to the Respondent
A. Once the complaint has been received on the Official Complaint Form, AMTA staff will notify the affected member (respondent) that a complaint has been filed, that an investigation will be conducted, and that the respondent
shall be advised of the results.
B. The notice shall be sent by overnight, registered, or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the respondent at the address listed for the member in AMTA’s records, along with the following supporting documents:
1. Notification and copy of Complaint
2. Outline of Member Discipline procedures
3. AMTA Code of Ethics and/or Code of Ethics for School Members, relevant Code of Conduct, Bylaws, and/or other applicable policy.
4. Notification to respondent that failure to answer the complaint in writing within the time set forth in this procedure will serve as a waiver of respondent’s right to a hearing.
Respondent Written Answer to Complaint
A. The respondent must submit a written answer to the complaint within the time established by AMTA, which shall be no less than fifteen (15) days from the date of the notice.
B. In the event respondent fails to answer the complaint in writing within the required time period, AMTA will render its decisions based upon the facts and information then available to it.
A. AMTA will investigate the complaint to the extent deemed necessary and appropriate.
B. In conducting the investigation, AMTA National Office staff, AMTA legal counsel, and other affected or interested parties may all be consulted as needed whenever such consultation is necessary or appropriate.
C. The AMTA President will assign a member of the Member Discipline Panel to lead the investigation (the “Hearing Officer”).
1. The complainant and respondent may be interviewed by mail, phone or a personal meeting.
2. Any person involved that may have firsthand knowledge of the facts
surrounding the alleged violation may provide information to the Hearing
3. Copies of all forms and supporting materials (documents) will be sent to the Member Discipline Panel members and to the respondent.
A. AMTA may, but need not, conduct a hearing as part of its investigation, provided, however, that no adverse actions shall be taken against a
respondent without having first afforded her or him the opportunity for a hearing.
B. If a hearing is warranted, the Hearing Officer in consultation with the Executive Director or his/her designee will set the date, time and
location of the hearing.
C. The Hearing Officer will notify respondent, complainant, and the Member Discipline Panel members of the date and place of the hearing.
1. Notice of the hearing will be made by overnight or certified mail to respondent and complainant.
2. Such hearing may be held no less than fifteen (15) days after the date of such notice.
D. During the hearing, the respondent shall have access to the evidence against him or her, and shall have the right to:
1. Appear at such hearing in person, with legal counsel if desired.
2. Rebut the information produced by the complainant and/or AMTA.
3. Present witnesses.
4. Submit pertinent evidence.
E. A respondent who fails to attend a hearing shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to appear.
F. AMTA must have legal counsel present at any such hearing to advise on issues of procedure and, under appropriate circumstances, to present AMTA’s position on a disciplinary matter.
G. A hearing may be postponed, recessed, or reconvened for good cause in the sole discretion of the AMTA staff and legal counsel.
A. The Member Discipline Panel will make its final decision after a formal hearing is held or after consideration at a meeting if no hearing is requested by the respondent.
B. Upon the conclusion of the hearing (or consideration at a meeting), the Member Discipline Panel shall convene in closed session (with legal counsel and staff as appropriate) to determine whether the respondent has engaged in conduct for which disciplinary action should be taken.
C. The Member Discipline Panel may determine that disciplinary action should not be taken, and that the matter shall be closed.
D. The Member Discipline Panel may also determine, by a majority vote of the members present, that the respondent has engaged in activity in violation of Article V, Section 6 of the AMTA Bylaws and may recommend that
disciplinary action be taken against the respondent. Such a determination shall be in writing and shall set forth the Member Discipline Panel’s findings and recommended disciplinary action.
E. The Hearing Officer shall notify the following individuals of the Member Discipline Panel’s recommendation:
1. The AMTA President.
2. The Executive Director or his/her designee.
F. AMTA staff shall notify the respondent and complainant of the Member Discipline Panel’s determination and will also notify the respondent of procedures for requesting an appeal.
H. If no written request for appeal is received by AMTA within thirty (30) days after the respondent has been notified of the Member Discipline Panel’s decision and the respondent’s right to an appeal, the decision shall be final and implemented by the Board of Directors.
Forms of Discipline
A. If a violation has occurred, disciplinary measures may be imposed on the member. These measures may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
1. Letter of Censure:
a. Private: a written letter of censure advising the respondent that he or she has been found guilty of the conduct and/or the violation or violations charged, expressing appropriate concern and proposing greater sanctions if a future violation occurs.
b. Public: a written letter of censure similar in form to (a) above, which
also may be published in summary form or otherwise in an appropriate
2. Probation: The member retains rights of membership but with conditions on membership for a specified time, up to one year.
a. The fact of the member’s probation may be published in an appropriate AMTA publication.
3. Suspension: The member may attend AMTA educational meetings but shall lose the following rights of membership with or without conditions for a specified time, up to one year.
a. Prohibition on holding any office, voting, use of AMTA logos and the
removal from any AMTA referral list.
b. The fact of the member’s suspension may be published in an appropriate AMTA publication.
4. Expulsion: The member shall lose all rights of membership in AMTA.
a. The fact of the member’s expulsion may be published in an appropriate AMTA publication.
5. Removal from office: The Member Discipline Panel may make a
recommendation to the membership or the National Board, as applicable, that any officer found to have violated the Bylaws
or Chapter Standing Rules of the AMTA be removed from office.
B. A follow-up file will be set up if conditions have been imposed.
C. No publication of the decision as outlined in this section under A. may occur until after the time for filing an appeal has passed.
D. If all conditions have been met at the end of probation or suspension, there will be another written notice sent to the group referenced in
Section IX.F and G.
A. The Appeal Panel shall review appeals that are filed by respondents appealing a decision.
B. The AMTA National Board shall serve as the pool from which Appeal Panel members shall be selected.
C. The AMTA National President, or the President-Elect if the President is the
respondent, shall appoint the Appeal Panel chairman.
D. The Appeal Panel chairman shall select four additional AMTA National Board members to serve on the Appeal Panel.
E. At no time shall a panelist residing within the same state as the complainant or respondent, or having any other apparent conflict of
interest, participate in the appeal process.
F. The respondent may appeal the decision of the Member Discipline Panel within thirty days following receipt of the decision.
1. If an appeal is filed, the Appeal Panel shall review the findings and
recommendations based only on the evidence upon which the decision was
G. Appeals shall be filed directly with the AMTA National president who will forward the appeal to the Appeal Panel chair.
H. The imposition of disciplinary measures shall be stayed upon receipt of appeal and until the decision is affirmed, rejected or modified.
I. The Hearing Officer and/or AMTA Staff will provide any relevant information to the Appeal Panel chair (including a copy of the discipline procedures and flow chart) within fifteen (15) days of request.
J. The Appeal Panel chair and AMTA legal counsel shall review the appeal request to verify that it is based on appropriate grounds.
1. If an appeal is in order, the Appeal Panel chair or designated staff member will send all pertinent information regarding the appeal to the selected panelists and set a date for consideration of the appeal.
K. The respondent shall be given at least fifteen (15) days’ notice of the time and place of the meeting at which the Appeal Panel will consider the appeal.
L. The respondent shall have the right to appear before the Appeal Panel in person and/or be represented by counsel to present reasons why the decision should not be accepted.
M. Upon the conclusion of its review, the Appeal Panel, by a two-thirds vote of those present at the meeting, shall affirm, reject or modify the decision.
N. The action of the Appeal Panel shall be final and may not be appealed.
O. The chair of the Appeal Panel shall notify the AMTA President and Executive Director or his/her designee of the Appeal Panel’s decision.
P. AMTA Staff will notify the respondent and complainant of the Appeal Panel’s decision, as directed by the Executive Director.