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Albuquerque, New Mexico


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Professional Massage & Bodywork Organizations
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Watch This Space for More Professional Association Listings in the Future!

Please note that the opinions expressed below are provided to help therapists in making decisions about the quality and value of particular associations. My opinions are not subject to debate.  If, however there are any errors in fact, I will review any written corrections for inclusion on this web site.

  1. National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCTMB), Established in 1992, it provides a national organization for the certification of  massage and bodywork practitioners using a written (computerized) certification exam (NCE).  Twenty-one (21) out of twenty-six (26) states (plus the District of Columbia) with statewide legislation recognize or use the national certification exam as a part of the requirements for initial licensing or registration.(See Licensing page)  Applicants must have completed at least 500 classroom hours of training to be eligible to take the exam.  Certification includes acceptance of a code of ethics and a recently board ratified Standards of Professional Practice.  It is not a member association as much as a credentialing organization which grew out of the AMTAs efforts to professionalize massage therapy and establish national standards.  Certification is on a four year basis with CEUs required for recertification.  They claim over 50,000 nationally certified practitioners, but many practitioners are choosing not to recertify.  They provide a quarterly newsletter and an online locator for nationally certified practitioners.
  2. American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), Established in 1943 they are the oldest and best organized national association with 50 state chapters  throughout the US, District of Columbia and US Virgin Islands.  They claim 42,000 members in 30 countries.  It positions itself as the only association for massage therapists and  bodyworkers!  They provide the AMTA Massge Therapy Journal, an annual convention and state conventions with workshops at both levels were attendees can earn CEUs. They also offer professional  liability insurance to qualified practitioners.  They provide an online locator of AMTA members and AMTA Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) approved school.
  3. Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), Established in 1987, it was originally a professional liability insurance provider for  bodyworkers and massage therapists, and an association in name only.  It has grown into an association which provides an alternative to the ATMA and takes an interest in updating members on new state legislative initiatives.  In 1997 they opened the association to aestheticians and cosmetologists on the basis that many massage therapists worked in duel roles.  They claim 32,000 members. They  publish the Massage & Bodywork magazine and cosponsor an annual convention of bodyworkers and aesthetitians.  The International Massage & Somatic Therapies Accreditation Council (IMSTAC) is ABMPs school accreditation division.
  4. International Massage Association (IMA) Established in 1994, it was a privately owned corporation providing third party insurance, masquerading as a membership association.  It's only saving grace, was it provided top of the line professional liability insurance at 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of the AMTA or ABMP respectively.  Members received a pep talk video from owner Will Green and lots of marketing for products and services he wanted to provide to you so you could be successful. In late 1997 or 1998 the IMA began spawning more ''divisions".  Now called 'associations' there are divisions for Massage, Yoga, Movement, Schools & Teachers, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Dance Teachers, Feng Shui, Kinesiology, and Colonic Educators.   They claim over 30,000 members.  In 1999, it became a nonprofit corporation and elected a board of directors. It still has the best no-frills price on insurance, I'm not sure if it is really a membership association or not. Time will tell.
  5. International Association of Equine Sports Massage Therapists – "Since 1991, the International Association of Equine Sports Massage Therapists has represented the finest most professionally trained equine massage therapists in the world.... ". Members seem to consist entirely of individuals "certified" by the Equissage school of Equine Sports Massage.  The home page indicates that students who have attended other schools of equine sports massage are eligible as long as those schools use the Equissage curriculum.
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Site Created: Tuesday, September 26, 2000
Site last modified :Sunday, July 26, 2009
Copyright 1997, 2000 by: Earth Spirit Therapies
Page last modified:Sunday, July 26, 2009