2013 is almost gone, and so we take a moment to look back on a year full of news and developments in the massage profession. A document proposing massage educator standards was released by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education; the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork’s chair resigned and a new chair took the reins; Massage Heights’ C.O.O. was featured in an episode of CBS’s Undercover Boss; the Affordable Care Act became law; and several massage businesses and organizations launched scholarship programs. See recaps of these news stories and much more, below

In 2013, MASSAGE Magazine celebrated the publication of its 200th issue, and launched a student scholarship and sample giveaway program. The magazine also partnered with industry vendors to give away massage tables, gift certificates, self-care tools and massage products via the magazine’s Facebook giveaway program. Massage Magazine Insurance Plus also gave away numerous products via its Facebook giveaway program.

Here, we present a look back, month by month, on just a few of the news items MASSAGE Magazine reported during the year. Visit www.massagemag.com for massage-and-related news stories.

February: “Massage Without Borders Helps Therapists in Need”: This organization raised $10,700 in products, equipment and donations for distribution to Hurricane Sandy survivors. “The organization will assist massage therapists long after the rubble create by Sandy is cleared, to be an ongoing support to massage professionals,” we reported. “[Founder Gloria] Coppola said the group will provide assistance to massage therapists affected by natural disasters and other long-term challenges, including health concerns.”

February:: “Massage-Educator Competencies Document Released“: “The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) is in process of creating a format for massage-teacher training. In February, the 300-member organization published its Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers document. Now, a committee of 12 is working with that document to create the format. AFMTE (www.afmte.org) President Pete Whitridge told MASSAGE Magazine it would be at least five more years before teacher training and a voluntary certification program for massage educators are in place.”

March: “Touch Research Institute Celebrates 20 years”: “With the close of 2012, the Touch Research Institute (TRI), an organization dedicated to investigating the benefits and mechanisms of massage therapy, celebrated 20 years in existence. In 1992, Tiffany Field, Ph.D., established the TRI (www6.miami.edu/touch-research) at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida, with a start-up grant from Johnson & Johnson. ‘TRI was the first center in the world devoted solely to the study of touch and its application in science and medicine.'”

April:Massage Therapy on Tour in 2013“: “Americans who catch the 2013 AMTA Massage Therapy Tour will have the opportunity to learn about the benefits of massage—and receive some hands-on help too. “The association reached millions of people in 2012 with information about the health benefits of massage therapy through its tour last summer and proactive media relations,” noted an AMTA press release. “Increasing the number of cities this year, AMTA expects to reach millions more consumers and media outlets with its ongoing consumer awareness program.”

May: Massage Therapist Profiled in U.S. Dept. of Defense Publication“: “An article published by the U.S. Department of Defense’s American Forces Press Service describes the massage therapy provided at the 2013 Warrior Games, held May 11–16 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This athletic event is a competition for wounded, ill or injured U.S. and British service members. The article, titled, “Wounded Warriors Recover Through Massage Therapy,” profiled massage therapist Jeanette Falu-Bishop, who founded the nonprofit Structure for Wounded Warriors to provide massage therapy to service people.”

June:Massage Educators Awarded“: “The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) has announced educators Elaine Stillerman and David Lauterstein as the AFMTE, Biofreeze and Bon Vital’ Educators of the Year. Lauterstein is the recipient of the Teacher Award and Stillerman is the recipient of the CE Provider Award. ‘This award honors excellence in massage education and serves to foster a culture that supports raising the standards of excellence in massage education,” noted an AFMTE press release. “The recipients were chosen based on their experience, teacher training taken, and how well they met the core competency standards.'”

July:Will Massage Therapists Get Left in the Dust?“: “Doors are opening that could allow practitioners of complementary therapies to enter the inner rooms of health care, but the operative word here is could. According to Janet Kahn, Ph.D., members of the massage profession oftentimes get in each others’ way and don’t take advantage of the opportunities right before them, leading Kahn to ask, ‘Are we going to go through those doors, or are we going to get left in the dust?’ Kahn made her comments July 19 in a keynote titled, ‘Massage in the Age of Health Care Transformation: Our Opportunities and Responsibilities’ at the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education conference in St. Charles, Missouri. She is a massage therapist, research scientist, policy analyst and appointed member of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.”

July:Document Details Why Massage is an Integral Component in the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits“: “”Some leaders in the massage field are taking steps to try and ensure that massage becomes a greater part of the U.S. health care system, as the implementation date of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) comes closer. A section of the ACA, which goes into effect in 2014, prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against health care providers—including those licensed as complementary health care providers—relative to their coverage and participation in health plans.

A group of Washington state massage therapists has written a document titled ‘Evidence-Informed Massage Therapy is an Integral Component in the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits.’ The document summarizes “the high-quality evidence for [massage therapy’s] effectiveness in treating medical conditions and populations” pertaining to the three (out of 10) Essential Health Benefits described in the ACA.”

August: Grant Program for Massage Students Now Accepting Applications“: “Massage therapy students may apply for a grant from The Helping Hands Gifts for Growth Grant Program, through Nov. 1. Students can apply for one of four $1,000 grants provided by this program sponsored by BIOTONE and Biofreeze. Each winner’s school will also receive a $1,000 grant.”

September:Performance Health Presents Humanitarian Award“: “Lynelle Lynch, president of Bellus Academy, received the 2013 One Concept/Performance Health Humanitarian Award at the ONE Concept American Massage, Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Spa Conference in San Diego, California, on Sept. 14, 2013. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant, enduring contributions to humanity.”

October:PIP Saga Continues in Florida“: “Florida judges are currently considering lifting an injunction placed against the 2012 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Act, in the latest round of a fight for the right of patients to receive insured massage therapy and acupuncture.The act prohibits the state’s massage therapists and acupuncturists from billing PIP insurance, an action those health care providers had been allowed to engage in before the bill was signed into law.”

October: “Massage is One of the 10 Fastest-Growing Jobs”: “Massage therapy is number five on the top-10 fastest-growing jobs list released recently by 24/7 Wall St., a data-analysis company, which created the list from figures reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (http://www.bls.gov). Skin-care specialists are number 10 on the list. According to the report, the number of massage therapists grew by 162 percent between 2002 and 2012, translating to an increase of 43,880 therapists in that timeframe; and now there is a total of 71,040 employed massage therapists in the U.S.”

October:NCBTMB Chair Resigns, New Chair Announced“: “Susan Toscano resigned her position of chair of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB), last week, and her position was filled immediately by chair-elect Leena Guptha, D.O., B.C.T.M.B.”

October: “Boulder College of Massage Closes Again”: “In 1975, U.S. President Gerald Ford survived an assassination attempt, The FBI arrested Patty Hearst, and a new massage school – Boulder College of Massage – opened its doors to its first class of students. Those doors shut this month, for the second time in six months, and Boulder College of Massage, in Boulder, Colorado, the second-oldest massage school in the nation, is now officially out of business.”

November: “A Touch Of Relief”: “For the past three years, volunteers from A Touch of Relief (http://touchofrelief.org) have provided massage therapy and other services to injured soldiers and their families at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2005, massage therapists Jaime Bernardo and Mary Contreras were both volunteering their time and services to veterans when a call went out for help for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The genesis of Touch of Relief harkens back to a conversation the two shared while answering this call. Touch of Relief came about later that year and provided CAM health care, wellness education, vocational training programs and humanitarian aid to those populations with the help of volunteers and money received from grants.”

November:New NCBTMB Chair: We Need Better Communication With The Massage Field“: In her first month in office, Leena Guptha, D.O., B.C.T.M.B., new chair of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) has already identified the need to involve the massage therapy community in the future of her organization. “I think that in order for NCBTMB to really find a rightful place in the profession, we have to know what the profession would like us to be, in order to serve the community,” she told [MASSAGE Magazine Editor in Chief Karen Menehan] today.”

December:AMTA Announces New President-Elect“: “Jeff W. Smoot, a massage therapist with more than 21 years’ experience in the massage profession, was voted new president-elect of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), the association announced Dec. 13.”

December: “Massage Envy Signs 1,200th Franchise Agreement“: “Massage Envy announced this week the signing of its 1,200th franchise agreement. ‘It’s been a tremendously successful growth year for Massage Envy Spa in 2013,” said Joe Luongo, Massage Envy Spa chief operating officer, in a press release. “There are thousands of franchise brands across the country, but only a small percentage ever surpasses the 1,200-unit mark. This incredible milestone is a true testament to our franchise partners and unique concept.”

December: “Massage Heights’ Shane Evans Responds to Questions about Appearance on ‘Undercover Boss‘”: “On Dec. 13, CBS aired the latest episode of its television program Undercover Boss, featuring Massage Heights Chief Operating Officer Shane Evans. Since the broadcast, massage therapists have taken to social networking sites to ask questions about various aspects of the program. Evans spoke with MASSAGE Magazine‘s Editor in Chief Karen Menehan on Dec. 17 to address many of those concerns. Although most comments questioned the pay rates of the franchise’s massage therapists, some massage therapists have pointed out that massage franchises provide employment to many thousands of massage therapists nationwide and provide a way to launch a massage career.”