Evanston, Illinois (June 20, 2012): The American Massage Therapy Association announces a major, multi-year commitment to public education on the benefits of massage therapy for health. The association will expand its proactive efforts with consumer and health care media, introduce a social media presence for consumers and launch a direct, consumer experience tour in July. This program also will integrate with the association’s very successful, annual National Massage Therapy Awareness Week in October for ongoing public outreach.

Proactive media efforts began in late May. This outreach has already begun to produce an increased number of print, online and TV stories about massage therapy for health. A Research Roundup of four of the most significant massage therapy clinical studies in the past 12 months was distributed to news media outlets, with more than 250 news sources running the story within 3 days. Further outreach to major national magazines and media outlets will continue.

National Massage Therapy Consumer Experience Tour Begins July 12

On July 12, www will launch a multi-year national consumer tour to take massage therapy and information about the benefits of massage directly to consumers. The tour will travel the country, with stops at major public events, designed to attract public attention to massage therapy and tell consumers how massage can benefit them. A van will function as a traveling billboard about massage for health, designed to reach millions of consumers at large events. It also is designed to tell consumers to look for an AMTA member for their next massage.

The first stops on the tour will be in the Chicago area from July 12-15. Thousands of attendees are expected at these events. The tour will then travel to major media markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York and other locations in the Mid-Atlantic states, before it travels to North Carolina in advance of the AMTA National Convention. In subsequent years, the AMTA Massage Therapy Tour will reach most major U.S. media centers. Locations will be chosen to effectively reach major populations and consumer media.

“We have sought the counsel of one of the top PR agencies in the world (Edelman) to find the best ways to reach consumers and impact their thinking about massage therapy,” says AMTA President Cynthia Ribeiro. “AMTA is committed to shifting the thinking of the public to recognize the value of massage for their health. We also want consumers to know they can turn to AMTA members for their massage, because of our members’ commitment to professionalism, ethical practice and continuing professional development. This program is about public education and building the potential for our members and all massage therapists to have successful massage practices.”

AMTA members and the association’s 51 chapters will be provided with a variety of tools and information to help them take advantage of the consumer awareness program. Regardless of where AMTA members live or practice, the program and media coverage of AMTA members and AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist® locator service will help them promote their practices. During the tour, AMTA members will provide brief demonstration massages and engage event attendees with education on massage therapy.

Follow the Tour Online, Through Social Media

Massage therapists, schools, students and consumers will be able to follow the AMTA Massage Therapy Tour on the AMTA website and through AMTA’s social media. The association will regularly post photos, video and information about tour stops and media coverage. Consumers at tour stops will be encouraged to share their experience of demonstration massage immediately from the tour location, with on-site internet access.

More information on the consumer education and awareness program and the AMTA Massage Therapy Tour will continue throughout the summer.

The American Massage Therapy Association is the largest non-profit, professional association serving massage therapists, massage students and massage schools. The association is directed by volunteer leadership and fosters ongoing, direct member-involvement through its 51 chapters. AMTA works to advance the profession through ethics and standards, the promotion of fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states, and public education on the benefits of massage.