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A Glossary of the Massage Therapy Profession

April 30, 20243 min read

Are you ever confused by the acronyms and groups involved in the massage therapy profession? Then this guide is for you!

Disclaimer: The information provided on these pages is intended for reference purposes only. It does not imply endorsement or support of any particular views, opinions, products, or services. Readers are encouraged to independently verify the accuracy and relevance of the information presented and make their own informed decisions.

National Associations (alphabetically)


Name: Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals

Location: Colorado

About: "Our business philosophy is summed up by our credo: expect more. ABMP members receive the most responsive, knowledgeable service and a comprehensive package of member benefits that includes free CE hours, dozens of member discounts, a free business website, the award-winning Massage & Bodywork magazine, dedicated legislative advocacy, and more."

Founding Date: 1987

Link: www.abmp.com


Name: Alliance for Massage Therapy Education

Location: Georgia

About: "Our vision is to advance the therapeutic massage and bodywork professions by strengthening and elevating educational practices and standards through supporting, credentialing, and engaging educators."

Founding Date: 2009

Link: www.afmte.org


Name: American Massage Therapy Association

Location: Illinois

Mission statement: "To serve AMTA members while advancing the art, science and practice of massage therapy."

Founding Date: 1943

Link: www.amtamassage.org


Name: American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia

Location: Pennsylvania

About: "AOBTA® is the only national professional association for the Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) profession. We protect, promote, and serve the ABT profession and its students, educators and practitioners."

Founding Date: 1989

Link: www.aobta.org


Name: Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation

Location: Virginia

About: "COMTA elevates and upholds standards of excellence in massage therapy/bodywork and esthetics education through specialized accreditation, benefiting students and schools, practitioners, and the public."

Founding Date: 2002

Link: www.comta.org


Name: Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards

Location: Kansas

About: "The mission of the Federation is to support its Member Boards in their work to ensure that the practice of massage therapy is provided to the public safely and competently."

Founding Date: 2005

Link: www.fsmtb.org


Name: Massage Therapy Foundation

Location: Illinois

About: "Our vision is to advance the therapeutic massage and bodywork professions by strengthening and elevating educational practices and standards through supporting, credentialing, and engaging educators."

Founding Date: 1990

Link: www.massagetherapyfoundation.org


Name: National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

Location: Illinois

About: "Through its accredited status, NCBTMB creates, promotes, and sustains a culture in which the highest quality of professional credentialing and standards are advanced in the massage therapy profession."

Founding Date: 1992

Link: www.ncbtmb.org


Name: United States Organization of Licensed Massage Therapists

Location: Arizona

About: "At USOLMT, our mission is to empower, support, and advocate for massage therapists, while reimagining the way we do business in massage therapy."

Founding Date: 2020

Link: www.usolmt.com

Coalition of National Massage Therapy Organizations

About: A meeting of ABMP, AFMTE, AMTA, COMTA, FSMTB, MTF, and NCBTMB.

The Coalition does not have a webpage.

Link to the most recent public report (December 2015): https://comta.org/coalition-of-natl-massage-organizations-update/

Research Related


International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork

About: "The International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (IJTMB) is an open access, peer-reviewed publication intended to accommodate the diverse needs of the rapidly-expanding therapeutic massage and bodywork community. Principal sections of the journal span the areas of research, education, and clinical practice."

Editor-in-Chief: Amanda Baskwill, PhD

Link: www.ijtmb.org

MassageNet PBRN

Practice-Based Research Network

About: "Our goal is to create a member-driven community of massage-focused clinicians, researchers, and allies that allows massage therapists to engage in research at various levels."

Link: www.massagenet.org

Education Related


Entry-Level Analysis Project

About: "The Entry-Level Analysis Project (ELAP) is a research project initiated by the Coalition of National Massage Therapy Organizations in March 2012. The project goals were to define knowledge and skill components of entry-level education and recommend the minimum number of hours schools should teach to prepare graduates for safe and competent practice in the massage profession. Completed in December of 2013, the project published two documents, which describes ELAP work group findings and recommendations."

Link: https://www.elapmassage.org/

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Corey Rivera

Corey wants to know everything all of the time, and is lucky enough to be Healwell’s Education Coordinator so she has an excuse to do it. She designs content for the Healwell Community, hosts community events and always has another question. Corey has been a massage therapist since 2008. As a multipotentialite she has experience in writing, designing, organizing data, medical school and opera singing. Currently she owns two small businesses, enjoys video games and cartoons, and has a small stationary obsession. Corey is passionate about how humans communicate information and the profession of massage.

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