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Massage Coalition Gathers in Englewood, CO

Jan. 8, Evanston, Il – On June 12, 2012, the leadership of seven national massage therapy organizations gathered in Englewood, Colorado for their third face-to-face meeting in the past 15 months. Several participating organizations note that they serve diverse bodywork practitioners and institutions, but as “massage therapy” is the common thread for all seven organizations, we use that term, in its broadest context, in the comments below.


January 18, 2013
By Massage Therapy Canada

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Part of
the agenda of that meeting was to define the reasons for convening, both as a
point of reference for future work together, and to inform the public of the
coalition’s intentions.


The
coalition seeks a thriving massage therapy profession that enhances the health
and well-being of clients in the United States. In an environment of
cooperation between these groups, we see the potential to advance the massage
therapy profession as a whole. Although some parties are professional competitors
and will remain so, the coalition recognizes that, in some circumstances, its combined
effort may be more effective than the influence of any organization operating
individually. Also, the work done collaboratively can serve to make each
organization stronger and more successful.


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The
coalition believes that a safe, candid forum to identify challenges and
opportunities in the wide field of massage therapy, identify organizational
roles, examine and (if possible) defuse conflicts, and set priorities for
common action, is of value to the entire massage therapy profession.


The
seven participating organizations do not possess equal power or financial
resources. But together, each organization, and its two chosen representatives,
participate on an equal footing, in an atmosphere of mutual participation and
respect. Group meeting expenses are shared equally, although particular
projects embraced may not be funded equally by all organizations.


Participating
organizations include: Alliance for Massage Therapy Education; American Massage
Therapy Association; Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals; Commission
on Massage Therapy Accreditation;
Federation
of State Massage Therapy Boards; Massage Therapy Foundation; and National
Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

After
much discussion, the coalition has decided to call itself a coalition of
national massage therapy organizations (“the coalition”). No plans exist to
formally incorporate the group, or to imbue it with any legal status.


Education
for massage therapists is an issue where the missions of every organization
overlap. In the coalition’s first meeting over a year ago, the groups
identified that inconsistent standards and outcomes in massage education was a
keystone for several goals that the organizations have, including improved
portability for massage licensure, a model practice act, more consistent
accreditation standards for schools, and better support and training for
massage therapy educators.  The ELAP (Entry-Level Analysis Project) is the
first project supported by the seven organizations to address these educational
concerns.


The
ELAP is funded primarily by ABMP, AMTA, and FSMTB. The other organizations
support the project in principle, and offer consultative help as necessary;
COMTA specifically has become actively engaged in helping present project
findings. It is a groundbreaking cooperative effort between sometimes
competitors to serve the entire massage therapy profession.


ELAP work group members are educational subject matter experts
recruited from all over the country to map out a realistic, evidence-informed
and quantified description of content and skill qualifications for an
entry-level education in massage therapy. 


Their
initial findings are anticipated to be made available for public comment in
April 2013.


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