Evanston, Illinois (Jan. 6, 2011): 2010 marked another very successful calendar year for the American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) as it worked to fulfill its mission of serving its members while advancing the massage therapy profession. The association provided new and enhanced benefits to its members, reached out to give back to the community and brought information about massage therapy to tens of millions of Americans.

Here are some of AMTA’s top stories of 2010:

• AMTA Schools Summit Generates Quality Discussion Focuses on Massage School Challenges & Solutions
AMTA’s annual meeting for massage therapy schools and educators drew more than 100 massage therapy school owners, administrators, educators and exhibitors in February to examine the challenges facing massage therapy schools and future massage therapists. The Summit also featured 4 general sessions, 9 education classes and a wide variety of formal and informal discussion groups on massage therapy education.

Two discussions groups examined current challenges and opportunities. Owners/administrators identified admissions, lead generation and facility expansion as important issues. Teachers identified formal and informal teacher training and curriculum development as their key issues.

Registration is open for the next Schools Summit to be held February 17-18, 2011 in San Francisco, CA.

• AMTA Releases Annual Massage Therapy Industry Research
AMTA’s third annual summary research report on the state of the massage therapy profession indicated shifts in work locations for massage therapists and the impact of the economic downturn. The report and a summary fact sheet, issued in February described massage therapist demographics, summarized consumer use and the current state of massage therapy regulation, and provided a basic overview of the integration of massage therapy into health care.

This type of data helps AMTA Professional and Student members anticipate consumer behavior and market their practices accordingly. It helps School members understand the current and future market for massage therapy and adjust their curricula and marketing to ensure their success and the success of their students.

The 2011 Profession Report and fact sheet will be released in February 2011, in conjunction with AMTA’s 2011 Massage Therapy Schools Summit.

• AMTA’s Health Care Relationships & Integrative Care Association Maintains Focus to Influence Health Care
In March, AMTA reported on its long term and ongoing interactions with key health care and medical organizations. The summary described how the association was working to achieve its goals in this area, such as for the health care community to acknowledge the value of massage therapy. To achieve that, the association continues to work to increase understanding of the benefits of massage therapy in health care. AMTA has taken an approach of constant engagement with many health care organizations, as well as government agencies, over more than 15 years, to build credibility and a sense of trust. AMTA has learned through these many interactions that massage therapy must have solid research and more consistent licensing to be fully accepted in integrative care.

AMTA will provide an annual update on its health care and national government relations in support of these goals this spring.

• AMTA and Profession Celebrate
First Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Release
AMTA joined other massage therapy stakeholders in celebrating the release in May of the first massage therapy body of knowledge (MTBOK) as a milestone for the profession. AMTA is proud of its pivotal role as convener of the stakeholders in the profession to unite in a process that created the MTBOK and its involvement as one of the stewards for the MTBOK. The association appreciates the broad involvement of massage therapists, educators and massage therapy organizations who participated in the independent process to create this document.

The association encourages massage therapists, massage students, massage therapy school teachers and administrators, and continuing education providers to read the MTBOK at www.mtbok.org and comment via e-mail at mtbok_comments@mtbok.org.

• AMTA Social Networking Reaches Milestones in One Year
In July, AMTA celebrated the first anniversary of its multi-faceted social networking program to serve massage therapists, students, teachers and consumers through the latest technology. That month, the association’s Facebook page reached 7,000 followers, while its LinkedIn users hit 1,000 and its Twitter followers approached 900.

As 2010 ended, AMTA Facebook followers approached 10,000, its LinkedIn users were at 1,300 and its Twitter followers were also around 1,300.

AMTA’s YouTube channel had approximately 7,800 channel views and nearly 9,700 uploaded views in July. By the end of December those numbers were 10,300 and 11,400. The association frequently uses YouTube to share messages from the president, event recaps and member stories. The association began its YouTube presence in September 2008.

• AMTA Launches Redesigned Website, Enhanced Locator Service
In August, AMTA launched its redesigned website and announced enhanced features for its members listed in AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist® national locator service. The new website capped a series of new technology products by the association, aimed at providing greater benefits to its members and more, easy-to-access information for consumers of massage, the health care industry, state regulators and the media.

The new Career Guidance section provides quick information on strategies for building a massage practice and tips for success. And, the website’s new technical upgrades allow the association to provide a wider array of information in various forms, including videos and special audio features.

• Association Expands More Benefits/Product Discounts
Following its plan to constantly update and expand the benefits of AMTA membership, the association added a new program offering members a free professional website, vastly increased the number of professional products available to members at a discount and introduced a variety of free webinars geared to practitioners and massage schools.

• 2010 Marks 23rd Year with No Change in AMTA Professional Member Dues
AMTA has not raised its Professional Member dues since 1987 and has no plans to do so in the future. Since that time, its member benefits and access to information have constantly expanded, making AMTA membership more valuable than ever.

• AMTA Representative Reappointed to CPT Code Advisory Committee
In August, AMTA announced that its representative to the American Medical Association Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee (HCPAC), Susan Rosen (WA), was reappointed for a three-year term. As AMTA’s Primary Advisor to HCPAC, she continues as the massage therapy profession’s representative on the committee.

This relationship gives AMTA and the massage therapy profession input on review of CPT codes associated with massage therapy. It also ensures AMTA is consulted when codes are edited or introduced that relate to massage therapy. And, as the AMTA representative, Rosen builds relationships and educates other health care professionals, especially those in physical and rehabilitation medicine, about the application and integration of massage therapy in the health care setting.

• National Convention in Minneapolis Featured Major Announcements, Wealth of Education, Successful Exhibit Hall
Balance was the theme at the American Massage Therapy Association’s® (AMTA®) 2010 National Convention September 22-25 in Minneapolis, MN. The association released results of its 14th annual consumer survey on use of massage, announced a new relationship with the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Association, presented a ceremonial check for $547,000 to the Massage Therapy Foundation and held its third Student Day to help massage school students prepare for their careers.

With a convention focus on the integration of massage therapy in health care, hundreds of massage therapists attended continuing education sessions tied to health care and participated in external special events connected to the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing. The nearly 1,500 convention attendees also met with 70 companies in the Exhibit Hall offering professional information, products and services for massage therapists.

AMTA’s 2011 national convention will be October 19-22 in Portland, Oregon.

• Consumer Survey Results Announced for First Time at Convention
This marked the first time the association released during the convention results of its annual survey of consumers about their use of massage. Usually released during National Massage Therapy Awareness Week® in late October, AMTA chose to announce the information early to help massage therapists have a better grasp of the effects of the economy on massage therapy as soon as possible.

The survey showed use of massage down from the previous year, but it indicated a firm understanding of the value of massage by consumers, who the association believes will return to more regular massages as the economy improves. The survey also indicated a strong recognition of AMTA by consumers and a preference for AMTA massage therapists over other massage therapists. The survey showed AMTA is the most recognized massage therapy organization among consumers, with more than twice as many consumers recognizing AMTA than any other massage organization. And, they seek AMTA massage therapists two to one over members of any other massage organization.

• National Massage Therapy Awareness Week Reaches Millions with Massage Information
National Massage Therapy Awareness Week®, AMTA’s major national public education program about massage therapy, was a resounding success in its 14th year. The association’s media push and other publicity were all part of AMTA’s ongoing promotion of massage therapy and its members. It continues to affect media coverage of massage for several months each year and results in tens of thousands of potential clients using AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist national locator service to make appointments with AMTA members. Media efforts reached more than 70 million Americans and were strongly boosted by local activities involving AMTA individual members, schools and chapters.

As part of its multi-media relations efforts the week of October 24-30, free electronic billboards in New York’s Times Square and the Las Vegas Fashion Show Mall featured the AMTA logo and told all who saw them it was National Massage Therapy Awareness Week. Media contacts included promotion of a list of basic expectations for massage therapy – expectations of the client and of the massage therapist.

• AMTA Members Complete Second Successful Year Supporting Susan G. Komen for the Cure
The American Massage Therapy Association and its members celebrated a second successful year of involvement with the 15 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® events nationwide. AMTA was again the official provider of more than 300 volunteers at the Energizer® tents at the 2010 3-Day for the Cure events in which participants walked 60 miles over the course of three days to raise funds to support breast cancer research.

The collaboration had the added benefit of boosting media attention to the benefits of massage therapy. Energizer and AMTA collaborated on an article about massage for those with cancer and for other health needs, appearing in more than 350 media outlets in 18 states, reaching an audience of more than 14 million. AMTA expects this educational piece to continue to appear on more websites and in small local newspapers. Energizer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and AMTA also joined together to arrange a national radio media tour featuring AMTA President Miller-Read, talking about upcoming 3-Day for the Cure events, the benefits of massage therapy and how to find an AMTA massage therapist. Through these combined efforts, AMTA estimates information about massage therapy reached more than 18 million people in the second half of 2010.

• AMTA Elects National Board of Directors, Appoints New Executive Director
On December 15, AMTA announced results of its 2010 national election, conducted electronically among its Professional members. Cynthia Ribeiro of California was elected President-Elect. She will serve in that position from March 1, 2011 through February 29, 2012 when she will assume the position of President. On March 1, 2011 current President-Elect, Glenath Moyle of Oregon, will become AMTA President.
Nancy M. Porambo (PA) was elected as a new Vice President and will serve a two-year term beginning March 1, 2011. Three Members-at-Large of the Board of Directors also were elected: Kathie Lea (LA), Joan Nichols (GA), and Ed Sansbury (NC)

In early December, the AMTA Board of Directors announced it had hired Shelly Johnson as the new Executive Director for both AMTA and the Massage Therapy Foundation. Johnson had been AMTA Deputy Director for more than 8 years and served as Interim Executive Director since August 2010.

Shelly has worked with associations for 22 years, including the American Society for Quality. She also was previously Executive Director for the American Society of Neuroscience Nurses, the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing, the Neuroscience Nursing Foundation and the American Society for Healthcare Materials Management of the American Hospital Association.

The American Massage Therapy Association is the largest non-profit, professional association for massage therapists, massage students and massage schools. The association is directed by volunteer leadership elected by the membership and fosters ongoing, 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. The association actively promotes its members to the public and potential employers.