Explore AMTA history from our founding in 1943 through present day.

Since 1943, AMTA has worked to advance the profession while providing our members with the strongest benefits. Here's a short 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 a legitimate professional field unto itself, separate from physical therapy.
  • 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 and Approval (now the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation).

  • 1997 – Began promoting National Massage Therapy Awareness Week® 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.

2015 – 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.

  • 2018 – Celebrated AMTA’s 75th anniversary. To mark this special milestone, AMTA published Massage Therapy in Integrative Care & Pain Management, featuring key research on the efficacy of massage therapy and the first-ever financial study comparing the cost of using massage therapy vs. opioids for pain relief.
  • 2020 – AMTA saved the term “triggerpoint”. In March of 2017, AMTA became aware of a pending application to register the term “triggerpoint” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). After a three-year advocacy effort, led by AMTA, the term was saved. Now and into the future, individuals and organizations throughout the massage profession can continue to use the term “triggerpoint” without restrictions, and the rights of massage therapists and educators have been protected.
  • March 2020 – During the pandemic, AMTA launched an outreach campaign sending hundreds of emails to members in each state to ensure they had the information they needed to practice massage therapy according to legal guidelines, with the latest updates on COVID-19 restrictions, executive orders and safety recommendations.

2020 – AMTA expanded our free CE library so massage therapists could take online courses at no charge to meet state licensing requirements and to learn new skills. We are proud to share that over one million free CE hours of AMTA continuing education have been given to the massage therapy profession over the past few years.

  • 2022 - In a huge win for the profession, AMTA helped ensure that the term "massage parlors" was changed to "massage wellness centers/spas" in the 2022 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

December 2022 - AMTA membership passes 100,000.

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