The nine member organizations of the Federation of Therapeutic Massage, Bodywork and Somatic Practice Organizations held their annual face-to-face meeting in Boulder, Colorado, recently.

The Federation (, formed as an historic alliance in 1991, is a forum for dialogue about commonalities and differences among a variety of professions that use some measure of touch in their teachings and practices. These organizations meet annually to discuss common interests and issues, including legislative and regulatory issues.

Member organizations, through JGRC representatives, function as a coalition and model the potential of respectful cooperation at the local level. The Federation members agree to work collectively as states consider massage legislation and regulatory issues that will affect their organizations’ members. They seek situations that will be positive for all the groups.

At the meeting, a working group was formed to create new language for the Federation web site, clarifying that while the Federation is a coalition of cooperating organizations, each has its own legislative needs. Participants at the meeting felt there is a widespread misconception that the Federation acts unilaterally, when in fact it exists solely as a forum to communicate and resolve differences.

Other discussions included the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) policy regarding regulation of massage therapy. The policy states that massage laws are not intended to regulate other professions and that AMTA works with its chapters to honor this distinction. The Joint Government Relations Committee (JGRC) of the Federation has created a legislative packet which describes each organization and recommended exemption language for professions often inappropriately regulated as massage. The packet can be downloaded from the Federation website.

The Federation exists as a communication forum for the following non-profit, professional membership organizations:
American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA)
American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA®)
American Polarity Therapy Association (APTA)
American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT)
Feldenkrais Guild® of North America (FGNA)
International Association of Structural Integrators (IASI)
International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA)
Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration
United States Trager® Association (USTA)

The Federation’s next meeting will be April 24 & 25, 2009 in New York City.