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Massage Today
June, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 06

Aiming for Consistency

AMTA government relations program strives for fair and consistent licensing nationwide.

By Kathryn Feather, Senior Associate Editor

The American Massage Therapy Association has announced the formation of a centralized government relations program, with the goal of attaining fair and consistent licensure of massage therapy nationwide.

The AMTA hopes this program will help to overcome the current piecemeal system of massage therapy regulations and exemptions.

The government relations program will attempt to address what the AMTA feels is the most significant problem with professional massage therapy regulation: lack of consistency among the 36 states and the District of Columbia that currently have some form of regulation in place. States have approached regulation with a variety of solutions, including licensure, regulation without licensure or no regulation at all. Among the states that do currently have some form of regulation, there is no consistency, making it difficult for massage therapists to relocate to other states and operate successful businesses.

According to the government relations overview on the AMTA Web site, "The AMTA supports consistent massage therapy licensures tandards that encourage reciprocity between states and eventually achieve overall portability of massage therapy credentials. AMTA is working to improve the current regulatory environment through the creation of a centralized government relations strategy designed to achieve fair and consistent licensing in all states."

The first step in the AMTA strategy is to determine the "must have" and the "should have" elements in any and all baseline massage therapy practice acts. The AMTA feels these elements are necessary to provide consistency and clarity to state licensure regulations. The AMTA believes massage therapy regulations are important for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that the public has the right to expect that massage therapists have the qualifications and education needed to safely and effectively care for their clients, making legal recognition and clearly-stated requirements essential to promoting the massage therapy profession and protecting the health and welfare of the general public.

The AMTA recognizes that legal recognition of massage therapy in the form of licensure creates standards of minimum competency as well as establishing a scope of practice to help consumers identify the responsibilities and services unique to a particular massage therapist. Licensure protects consumers and the state by allowing a state or jurisdiction to discipline a noncompliant massage therapist, as states cannot regulate a profession not recognized by statute.

For more information about the AMTA government relations program, including an overview of the program and why the AMTA considers regulations important, visit


  1. "AMTA Government Relations Program Aimed at Consistent Licensing," Press Release, May 8, 2006.
  2. AMTA Government Relations Overview,
  3. Why We Need Massage Therapy Regulations,


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