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Massage Today
October, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 10

Poll Results for the following Question:

By Editorial Staff

Do you agree with the NCBTMB's exam eligibility changes?


Yes: 24.2%
No: 75.8%

Total Respondents: 91

Editor's note: These comments are reproduced as written by visitors to this Web site.

They have not been edited for content, grammar, or spelling.



Yes As more people are looking to massage as a healing modilty we as professional should be prepared to meet thoughs concerns. Lot of schools are teaching modilty to students which are not able to address these concerns. Some schools have A&P classes that are taught below pare. Who is challenging the schools to increase the level of their curriculums. No one and the states are not pushing these schools since they do not receive federal funding. Some schools are into it for the money not the integrity of the profession.


No All of the Chinises Medicine practitioners I know and am friends with went to a 4 year + ACCREDITED UNIVERSITY. 8 months to learn an ancient ancient ancinet form of MEDICINE is just not sufficient for some therapists to call themselves "asian practitioners" or whatever they are calling themselves. Clinical knowledge of massage is important and one DOES NOT need to be a shaman/counselor/pseudo healer to be a good MASSAGE (manipulation of soft tissue)therapist. Energy work is for ENERGY WORKERS. We want cooperation from the medical profession, but when patients get reffered to massage therapists and come back with stories of incense and shamanism (as Ralph Stevens once said), how can the medical profession react to that?. As a Native American, Massage Therapist, active in the ancient sweat lodge (not at a Spa mind you) I am utterly NOT in favor of the NCTMB, any of their "ideas" or projects. By the way, there are other ancient medicines BESIDES the chinese way. I know of Mexican(AZTEC) medicine, Taino, Hawaian and other people across the world. The NCTMB want to test only on Chinese medicine? What a joke, but again, it's to be expected from mediocre minds. Good luck America.


No Trying to create a serve all curriculum does not work amongst this field. I have seen many instructors that can't let go of their ego try to implement their personal spiritual beleifs into an A&P course. Not everyone beleives in the "energy". As a massage school administrator I have heard complaints from students that say things like "I didn't enroll in this program to come to church in the classroom", or "my issues can be dealt with by a trained counselor, and so and so teacher is far from that". One step at a time folks. Stick to your existing curriculums, learn to work with guidelines inspite of your "free spirit", and present the information as just that, information. Stop putting massage students through the shrink couch.

No I don't agree with anything that the NCBTMB does. Who made this group the voice for therapists throughout the country? Unfotunately, I have seen job advertisments in my area requiring National Certification as part of the hiring criteria. Out of curiosity, I have called these advertisements and spoken with the employers. After questioning the employers I see that they really have no clue as to one: Natinal Certification requirements and the lack of cross state practice laws, and two: Massage Therapy in general. THey really have no clue. This makes my stomach turn. Much respect to serious pratcitioners (I am not talking about the self proclaimed Shamans)and ecduation efforts, how ever, these practitioners exist in all states, and yes, even those states that do NOT require national certification. Is concistency important? I think yes, very much so. But who will determine this and for what purpose?

No Most massage therapists that I know who took the Nationals and State tests agree that what you learn in school has little to do what appears in the exams. Review classes, review books and talking to LMT's has helped most of us pass these exams. It is not more hours spent in school that is helpful it is how those hours are spent in school that are are important. Better education and informative teachers are what is needed not more hours. Theresa LMT

No I believe that the NCETMB is pushing their own agenda about what the massage profession should be. By increasing the number of hours of Anatomy and Physiology and by adding 40 hours of Pathology to the required curriculum they are definitely leaning toward medical massage, which may not be the direction many massage therapists want to go. They are also making decisions about curriculum based on a small sample number of massage therapists polled. I own a massage therapy school in New Mexico and the questions I get from graduates are mostly about how to deal with inappropriate clients or ethical questions. Requiring only 10 hours of Ethics and Business in the curriculum does not adequately prepare our students to deal with the real world issues they will be facing.


No I don't agree with the NCBTMB at all!


No The NCBTMB has assumed areas of influence that go beyond their authority. In effect, they are dictating content of school curriculums without the consent or participation of school owners. The NCBMTB does not appear to be seeking feedback from anyone outside their own organization. I feel this approach does not serve the best interests of bodyworkers, nor the public.


No what authority does the ncbtmb have to supercede the state and departmental regulations governing the practice of massage within various states?

The polling results of 500 massage therapists hardly seems sufficient grounds for the ncbtmb to dictate changes in curriculum to school owners.


No I had to read the article twice to verify that the NCBTMB is basing these regulations on a poll of a small group of 500 therapists. That number hardly represents a significant percentage of professionals in this industry.

It also discriminates against those who put a big effort to comply with the ridiculous requirements which do not take into consideration the power of talented touch but only accademics.

As a massage therapist, it is very hard for me to see this institution as a serious entity with the ability to regulate our profession and shows how out of touch they are with the reality of our work.

If they run a proper survey (i.e. larger participation) the results might be a better indicator of what an entry level therapist should have.


No I work for two massage schools and we have to change our curriculum and it takes a long time to changes things.

I just glad they are going to have a test without Asian Bodywork (And other modalities) in it. It only took many years for the NCBTMB to listen!!!

No The NCETMB is out of control!!! They are making decisions that affect all MT's all over the country. They are superseding state requirements without considering what impact their decisions will have on practicing MT's, students or schools (whether the school is recognized or not by their organization). They are monopolizing and controlling all decisions to qualify a person as a MT or Body worker. Even the charge for the exams is outrageous as compared to other exam costs. I think they need to have some sort of accountability to the MT and Body workers they regulate.

No These new requirements, make no sense to me. How are the new requirements to make better therapists? I have worked with therapists who were very skilled that were not able to pass the exam and I have worked with therapists who passed the exam that I would not allow them to touch me again.

I still do not agree with the amount of chinese and asian therapies included. I work in a very conservative community and most of those therapies are not accepted.

I disagree with exam do to the reception of the exam's credibility in many of the states. Why take a national exam if I can not work in any state? Until this is addressed I do not believe in the exam and do not support it.


No testing is good but should more realistic/"real life"


No This seems arbitary and stupid, a survey of 500 members is not a broad sampling of the massage therapists out there.

Yes I support advancements in certification. However, I worry that without an increase in Massage Therapy education from the basic 8 month program in most U.S. states, we will continue to strugle educating our medical partners, Physical Therapist's, Chiropractor's and Medical doctor's towards the futher acceptance of Massage Therapy in mainstream healthcare.

- Gabriel Nocerino, NCTMB

No I'm in agreement with Dr. Lawton, I have serious concerns about the NCBTMB's exam eligibility for I have been trying to get licenses to practice in MO for a year now, I have all the education and hours and much more but because I haven't went to the school and taken the NCBTMB's exam I'm still waiting.

- Raven Myrick N.D.


No I don't like that being in this file that we need to get a city papper. Saying that it is o.k. to work in the city. I can do very good in the test of the city.

And I can do whatever I want to a patince. But the City said that I that it o.k. for me to work. I think that each City can do different test every six months.

No It puts too many restrictions on ceu requirements. Im already having to repeat courses because there are only so many approved courses... So how many massage strokes are there. And to seperate massage/bodywork/energetics is a load of crap... That is the mind body spirit connection that is lost in traditional health care... I dont know how to seperate massage and bodywork in my sessions. I just add a modality here and there... MODALITY=BODYWORK so not only will i be giving a crappy massage but ill have to pay for classes to support that crappy massage. It sounds to me like some people have to justify their jobs at the top and making a new test is just a way to ensure that they keep their jobs... So who is gonna be the massage police and who is gonna be the bodywork police???? If they put new policies and procedures into practice they better have a regulatory board to support it out in the field.. Dont ask me cause I already have a job.. Im a massage therapist/bodyworker.... And I plan on staying that way.


No Having two exams adds confusion. A waste of time and money.I have read over the information that was sent out and I am still unclear as to how this is raising the standards of our profession.

Yes I agree with the changes for the most part as I am in a 750/1000 hour massage therapy school program which has placed stringent requirements on itself. I love the work and classes and feel that you can never be too prepared for lifes' obsticles. Complaining about the changes would only be shorting yourself of some valuable enrichment, unless you just wanted a get rich scheme. I also find that it is difficult to standardize tests for one region (due to demograpy; economics, etc...)let alone make an entire country standardized. Therefor in order to do so you would have to make the national test reflect the most difficult state requirements to make your education and licensing applicable across the borders. I don't know where I'll be 10 years from now, but if I have to move from where I live I don't want to have to start all over!


No As a health care professional for over 20 years, I see no validity in obtaining credentialing by the NCBTMB. State licensure is much more respected and accepted by other health care professionals. State licensure is mush more applicable to health care. I have taught at the university level, I am a Registered Respiratory Therapist and a Licensed Massage Therapist. The survey of 500 CMTs can not possibly represent what the entire number of Massage Therapists in this country are thinking and needing.

Research methodology is flawed in that survey. I don't think the changes are fair nor are they good. As the Massage Therapy Program Coordinator for a health care system, the NCBTMB lacks a bit of professional legitimacy.

No I have taken and failed the NCE. I refuse to take it again, primarily because I practice Massage Therapy, not Chinese medicine. I really don't think the NCB should be able to be unilateraly accepted as a qualifying source for many states. Many depressed areas require this and I think it is absurd.

I have taken and failed the NCE. I refuse to take it again, primarily because I practice Massage Therapy, not Chinese medicine. I really don't think the NCB should be able to be unilateraly accepted as a qualifying source for many states. Many depressed areas require this and I think it is absurd.

No I agree with the concerns regarding the schools that will have little time to update their curriculums.

This could be problematic.

I also do not believe an increased knowledge in business is always a positive thing to have as a requirement. To increase that aspect of the exams content as opposed to other more pertinent issues is not what I would consider necessary.

I do not see a need for having a test just for massage. It seems like it is a "dumbbing down" of what we should expect to be knowledgeable of as bodyworkers.


Yes & No

the YES PART: the new requirements of 160 hours in the sciences are a good thing. It's good, that is, if they are taught well and the material is relevant to bodyworkers. The more knowledge students have in musculoskeletal anatomy and kinesiology, the better, as long as it is balanced with the hands-on aspects of bodywork training.

the NO PART: The NCBTMB should not determine the curriculum for massage schools (they are doing so - unilaterally). Their power grows, along with their new and confusing alphabet soup of tests. They are planning yet another "advanced" certificate/test down the road - the "NCB.... whatever?"

What a confusing mess. Not only must schools scramble to redo their curriculum, states and jurisdictions will soon be faced with figuring out which test is appropriate: The old one with Chinese Medicine, The new one without Chinese medicine, or, The upcoming advanced one with probably more hours and sciences.

NCBTMB,I would suggest strongly working on your current test. Get it right before moving on to the next project. Some of your current questions are innaccurate, others are confusing; some amazingly simple, a few incomprehensively difficult, a few questions even promote modalities(!).

Sample question from the certification booklet:

For which of the following is massage contraindicated?

A- strain
B- sprain
C- hematoma
d- facial paralysis

Keep in mind this is a sample question (the cream of the crop, so to speak). I know I shouldn't massage a hematoma, so it must be fine to massage all the rest, like a sprained ankle- yow! That's gonna hurt. Or maybe I should petrissage a torn muscle (strain), but that might cause a hematoma. I'm so confused- I know now, I'll massage someone with facial paralysis-even though known causes include herpes infection, tumor, or maybe a stroke.

No wonder the NCBTMB has just produced and is selling a study guide for $39.95. A lot of anxiety (with questions like the above) can sell study guides.

One of the questions I got to answer when I took the test:

Which is the most effective form of stretching?

A- static
B- ballistic
C- yoga
D- Active Isolated Stretching (which is trademarked)

There is no right answer to the above question. It was chosen to promote a stretching modality.

Finally, a close friend of mine, who also had nearly a perfect score on the test, responded to the NCBTMB's "call" at the end of the test for volunteers to serve the organization in shaping future tests and so forth. He was never contacted. That indicates just how closed this organization is to input from other members of the profession.

- Gary Wilson

Yes The industry needs to grow, not stand still

Yes I agree and support their decision to increase and clarify the requirements for new applicants. The only issue I take with NCBTMB, is that they probably could have reached further. A 500 hour requirement with minor modifications that doesn't go into effect until mid-2005 is, in my opinion, playing it a little safe. How long will it take us to break the 600, 700, or even the 1500 hour mark? The industry needs to proceed, to move forward, but organizations like ABMP continually hamper our ability to do that.

And the negative slant compaign that ABMP is running against the NCBTMB and AMTA is deplorable.. And I say that as a ABMP member!!!

No I would like to see the required hours increase. This would make it easier to give reciprocity with the States that have stricter requirements.

Yes As is true in other healthcare professions, massage therapy needs to have a recognized, legally defensible national credential which demonstrates entry-level textual competence. That the NCB is engaged in an on-going, self-evaluative process and responding to the demonstrated needs of its stakeholders and the profession at large is to its credit. School owners have a responsibility to their students (and to the general public) to evaluate and redesign their curricula to meet the evolving demands of the profession. Failing to do so solely for commercial concern is inexscusable. Those institutions which meet and exceed the emerging needs of their professional aspirants will be rewarded in the marketplace. Those who do not will collapse under the weight of their greed. The NCBTMB is still the best barometer of the state of our art and will continue to be as long as they remain committed to objective analyses and pro-activity.

No Increasing anatomy and/or physiology will not make a better therapist. I use very little of this knowledge in my practice. I can not see my carrying on a conversation about the makings of a cell and what that means to my client. Any additional requirements should be added as a CEU course. More information about the actual hands on work would be far more beneficial. I had to take several additional courses to get proficient beyond the mere essentials.


No When any field gets too restrictive about requirements it tends to signal a decrease in creativity in the field. Check out the AMA is you have any doubts. There are many other ways truly qualified professionals can announce themselves including but not limited to posting a list of the post graduate courses and certifications they have acquired since graduation. The client always is the best judge about the quality of the massage therapist anyway.

No Since the NCBTMB and the AMTA which pushes the buttons of the NCBTMB, wants to have complete control over all MT's, I see this as a threat to all who are professional massage therapist and bodyworkers. I do not mind certain licensing procedures by localities or the state, but it should not be dictated by a supposedly volunteer test which they want to make mandatory throughout the USA for all states. To TELL a school that they have to change their curriculum to meet Their standards is ridiculus.


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