Partnerships, Research and Education
In 2015, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) made significant progress in advancing the art, science and practice of massage therapy. The association’s efforts included building partnerships to advance massage therapy education and standards; expanding relations with a variety of health care associations and organizations to build respect for the profession and increase opportunities for integration of massage therapy into health care; and supporting clinical research on the benefits of massage therapy. AMTA also continued to promote the efficacy of massage therapy to consumers and developed an effective tool to help massage school students be prepared for their new profession.
Consumer research showed a growing appreciation for both massage therapy and for AMTA and its members. A study conducted by Zogby Analytics indicated that AMTA is the most respected name in massage therapy. And, the study revealed that consumers view AMTA members as the most trusted massage therapists in the country, and are their preference for massage therapy by a margin of 3 to 1.
Here are some of AMTA’s efforts in 2015 to advance the profession:
- American Medical Association – AMTA is sustaining its representation to the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Health Care Professional’s Advisory Committee. AMTA’s representatives provided input into decisions related to CPT code use by massage therapists. This is of direct benefit to massage therapists who seek insurance reimbursement.
- Collaboration with major health care associations for top quality education at the AMTA National Convention – This year, AMTA collaborated with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the American Academy of Dermatology to provide relevant resources and continuing education for AMTA members.
- Massage Therapy Foundation – AMTA continued to be the primary benefactor of the Massage Therapy Foundation with financial support exceeding $450,000. The association directly supported the MTF’s fundraising and awareness-building efforts for the profession. This included support for Boston Marathon runners Nathan Nordstrom and John Combe. And, AMTA maintained its support for the Foundation’s work with the Samueli Institute to lead an independent examination of the impact of massage therapy on chronic pain, and to identify gaps in knowledge that can help direct future massage therapy research.
- Greenville Rehab Center/Team Roger C Peace – AMTA continued its co-sponsorship of Team Roger C. Peace (one of the premier paracycling teams in the U.S.) and is funding the gathering of data on the impact of massage therapy on the conditioning and performance of these professional athletes as they seek to be part of the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team.AMTA’s name and logo is prominently displayed by the athletes as they compete and massage therapy is closely associated with their training and conditioning in this first of a kind study.
- American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) – AMTA was an active participant in the AAFP national conference, providing information on research supporting the value and effectiveness of massage therapy, and educating physicians on how to find AMTA members for referrals. An AAFP representative also spoke at the AMTA National Convention in Pittsburgh, PA about collaboration and communication between family physicians and massage therapists.
- American Red Cross – AMTA maintained its unique national partnership to collaborate on massage therapy services for Red Cross volunteers. AMTA chapter community service teams now connect and collaborate with the Red Cross locally in both emergency and non-emergency community events. AMTA chapters and Red Cross offices have standardized information to activate and deploy massage therapists as situations dictate it.
- AMTA expanded its massage therapist continuing education offerings in 2015, with a total of more than 50 online courses/classes, as well as free online materials from CE classes offered at the National Convention. AMTA’s goal in continuing education is to support professional competency and life-long learning opportunities for all massage therapists looking to expand their skill sets or to seek new employment opportunities.
- Looking to the future of the profession, AMTA hosted its largest Schools Summit in February, featuring in-depth analysis and discussion on the advancement of massage school education. The Schools Summit brings together educators and school owners to discuss the challenges facing both the ability of schools to be successful and to graduate new massage therapists who will be successful and competent professionals.
- In late fall, AMTA boosted its tools to help massage therapy students prepare for their profession with a new mobile Study Guide app to help them prepare to take the MBLEx. Since that launch, the free app was downloaded more than 5,000 times.
“AMTA is the only massage therapy organization to collaborate with so many different partners to advance our profession and promote massage therapy to consumers and those who refer consumers to massage therapists,” says AMTA Jeff Smoot. “We are committed to advancing our profession and serving our members in new ways each year. These relationships are an important part of how AMTA serves our members and advances our profession.”