On Jan. 26 the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), a professional membership organization for massage therapists, announced its support of the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) over any other exam for state regulation of massage therapy.

Until the MBLEx was launched in 2006, the primary exam used in state massage regulation was the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB). In its statement, the AMTA advocates for continued use of the NCETMB in states where statewide regulation is not in place, and as a standalone certification examination.

The MBLEx was created by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), a group founded in 2005 with seed money provided in part by Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, the nation’s largest massage association. The FSMTB developed the MBLEx to provide an exam under control of state regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing massage and bodywork practice, as an alternative to examinations administered by third-party organizations, such as the NCBTMB.

Some states, including North Carolina and Oregon, have adopted exclusive use of the MBLEx, while others use the MBLEx, NCETMB and other exams.

The NCBTMB has fought the exclusive use of the MBLEx in states including Pennsylvania, where it urged its certificants to ask legislators to vote no on proposed massage legislation that would accept the MBLEx for certification (the legislation passed); and in Florida, where it filed a challenge against the Florida Board of Massage Therapy’s decision to limit Florida’s use of exam to the MBLEx. (On Jan. 22 the NCBTMB released a statement that indicated it would continue as an exam provider for Florida; however, the state board still has to approve the agreement arrived at with the NCBTMB, at its April meeting.)

The AMTA’s statement in its entirety can be read here.