A group comprising massage therapy associations, credentialing organizations, schools and research entities is meeting Nov. 5 to 7 to continue its work to create a body of knowledge, or compendium that represents the collective skills and knowledge necessary to practice massage therapy.

The group first met in Milwaukee in July. The current meeting is being held in Kansas City, Missouri.

An official recap of the first meeting’s proceedings was provided to MASSAGE Magazine on Nov. 5, by the group’s paid facilitator:
“In July, 33 representatives from 18 massage, bodywork and movement membership organizations, representative groups for massage therapy schools, other credentialing organizations and research entities widely-recognized for their involvement in the progress of the profession met to take a fresh look at how key stakeholders in the massage therapy profession could collaborate on developing a common definition for the profession’s body of knowledge (BOK).
“Attendees agreed the profession would benefit from developing a common BOK and identified steps that should be taken to move this unifying effort forward. This included identifying possible massage therapy body of knowledge (MTBOK) projects, approaches, participants, and time and resource requirements. They also agreed on the need to expand the effort to include input from others within the profession and hiring a project manager to oversee the project.
“Five stakeholder groups, including the American Massage Therapy Association and its Council of Schools, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, the Massage Therapy Foundation and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, agreed to continue as a planning committee to organize and plan the next steps needed to make these decisions and to help the resultant initial MTBOK effort get started.
“The stakeholder groups decided to meet again to continue the planning work begun at the July meeting. Organizations that expressed an interest in moving forward with the project at the first meeting were invited to the next phase of the collaborative effort to plan the development of a common body of knowledge for the profession.
“Representatives from Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, American Massage Therapy Association, AMTA Council of Schools, Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, Massage Therapy Research Consortium, Massage Therapy Foundation, and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork will attend the meeting.
“In addition, each stakeholder nominated additional individuals who demonstrated a strong commitment to and knowledge of the profession and also exhibited strong collaborative and leadership skills—educators, practitioners or researchers who could be potential facilitators of the MTBOK work being planned. From the nominated names, four accepted invitations to the meeting.
“The meeting will take place November 5 to 7 in Kansas City with the hope to begin to organize projects into a concrete plan for moving forward with the real work of defining a common MTBOK. This work will be done by the experts in the field—practitioners, educators, researchers and other subject matter experts.
“Participants will continue to look at “what should the MTBOK consist of” and develop an overall action plan. This will include identifying rough timelines for the major parts of the plan, developing rough estimates of resources needed to execute the overall plan, identifying criteria for selecting participants for the work covered by the plan, and securing financial support and a commitment of participants to continue to work together on the MTBOK effort.”

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