The Affordable Care Act will create new opportunities in health care for both consumers and providers.

Most massage therapists are small-business owners who do not have health insurance coverage. That will change when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) goes into effect in 2014, because the ACA mandates coverage. (Those who opt not to purchase health insurance cov­er­age could be subject to fines.) Grants totaling $150 million were made to 1,159 health centers across the U.S. in July, to assist Americans with enrollment. To find a center near you, visit

Beyond your identity as a health care consumer, the ACA could bring changes to your massage practice, in the form of more clients.

This is because a section of the ACA 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.

The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) in August announced it is approaching the ACA “in a very practical and systematic way, which will promote and protect the best interests of massage therapists and avoid jumping in too quickly and making assumptions that might prove counterproductive,” according to a press release (

“Many of us have hopes and interpretations of the law that may not be realistic as it begins to take shape,” said AMTA President Winona Bontrager. “One aspect of our approach is to move forward with a plan for vetted research to make the case for massage as an integrated part of health care. This will provide a foundation for all we do at the national level and what we will pursue in each state.

“It’s one thing to compile research we feel is supportive and another to ensure that what we bring forward is valid and relevant to the process of achieving acceptance within the framework of the ACA,” she added.

Meanwhile, 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,” which 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. Read the document at