2023 Advocacy Year in Review

AMTA’s Commitment to Members and the Profession

As a nonprofit association, AMTA is committed to giving back to the massage therapy community. We do this by investing your membership dollars in advocacy, research, scholarships and more.

Through advocacy work, AMTA strives to enhance the reputation and acceptance of massage therapy and the crucial role of professional massage therapists in health and wellness. Your Government Relations team exists to support the profession in these areas and more. It is important for massage therapists to be informed of the advocacy work being done locally and nationally regarding massage therapy and to be aware of the issues that affect the profession.

What happened in 2023?

Here are just some of the initiatives AMTA accomplished on behalf of our members and the massage therapy profession in 2023:

  • AMTA is committed to helping champion licensure for massage therapists in the remaining unlicensed states in the country. Legal recognition of massage therapy and clearly-defined requirements will help advance the profession as well as protect the health and safety of massage consumers. The following unlicensed states remained a top priority for AMTA during the 2023 legislative session:

Alabama HB 192:

  • HB 192 was introduced as a standard sunset legislation for the Alabama Board of Massage Therapy. A board's sunset puts an end date in the statute, which requires the legislature to review the board for efficacy, necessity and transparency.
  • In a suprising and uprecedented act, HB 192 was amended to reduce licensing and penalty fees as well as make changes to the original Massage Therapy Practice Act.
  • Despite the Board's attempts to correct the issues raised in the 2023 Sunset Audit Report, the Committee determined that allowing the current Board of Massage Therapy to terminate in 2024 was the best course of action.
  • AMTA will continue to advocate for the state regulation of massage therapy in Alabama, and will offer input and guidance to the legislature as they consider language to reconstitute this year.

Utah Sunset Review:

  • In Utah, the "Massage Therapy Practice Act Amendments," a Sunset Review provision, was passed over in the Business and Labor Interim Committee on August 9, 2023. This inaction threatened to deregulate the massage profession in the state.

Bills Related to Non-Pharmalogical Approaches for Pain Management

  • AMTA monitored 145 bills related to non-pharmalogical approaches for pain management during the 2023 legislative session. Two important examples of these bills include:
    • Massachusetts SB 1272
      • This bill would direct the Massachusetts Department of Health to develop and publish an educational pamphlet regarding non-opiod alternatives for the treatment of pain, including non-pharmalogical therapies.
      • AMTA submitted a letter to the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery in support of this legislation.
      • This bill is still active and continues to move through the Senate.
    • New Hampshire House Bill 66
      • This bill was enacted into law in April 2023 and will help establish a committee to study non-pharmalogical treatment options for patients with chronic pain.

AMTA Submitted Comments on Department of Education Rules

  • Recently, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released proposed regulations to establish safeguards to protect students from unaffordable debt or insufficient earnings from career training programs. AMTA submitted comments to the ED on the proposed rules.
  • On October 10, 2023, the ED released its final rule on Financial Value Transparency and Gainful Employment. The new regulation is designed to establish safeguards to protect students from unaffordable debt or insufficient earnings from career training programs.
  • In addition, on October 31, 2023, the U.S. ED released its final rule on Financial Responsibility, Administrative Capability, Certification Procedures, Ability to Benefit (ATB). This will have a substantial impact on the educational landscape within our massage therapy profession, most significantly the elimination of the 150% rule.
  • AMTA will closely monitor the implementation of the final rule, while continuing to advocate for massage therapy students and graduates. View AMTA's stance on the 150% rule.

AMTA Advocated for U.S. Veterans to Gain Better Access to Massage Theray

  • Additionally, AMTA issued a press release in honor of Veterans Day in November 2023 to educate the public and raise awareness on how massage therapy can help military veterans with chronic pain and mental health issues.
  • AMTA met with the Veterans Health Administration to support better funding and access to massage therapy for veterans. We continue to collaborate with veteran researchers and work with our members directly on regional issues affecting veterans.
  • AMTA has been an ongoing member of the stakeholder coalition: Friends of Veterans to help endorse access to complementary and integrative health services for veterans, including massage therapy.

We look forward to building upon these accomplishments and continuing to advocate for massage therapy and its important role in health and wellness in 2024. Thank you for your part in moving the massage profession forward.

AMTA Advocates for the Massage Profession

AMTA advocates for issues that matter to massage therapists across the country at the federal, state, and local levels of government. Through our advocacy work, we strive to enhance the reputation and acceptance of massage therapy and the crucial role of professional massage therapists in health and wellness.

From championing massage licensure to advancing legislation on massage for pain, AMTA continues to advocate on behalf of all massage therapists.

AMTA does this important work through the reinvestment of membership dues back into the profession. Through AMTA membership you’re not only getting ‘A’ rated insurance, the strongest benefits, and the highest-quality CE available, you’re joining a community that lifts the entire profession.