Massage therapist

Massage therapist organizations

There are many different massage therapist organizations with many different purposes. Many separate techniques have their own professional association to support their work.

In Canada

In Canada, since health care is regulated provincially, not nationally,1 most massage therapist organizations are provincial in nature. There are three types of massage therapist organizations in Canada, all not-for-profit and all for different purposes: Colleges, Associations and the Alliance.


Regulatory bodies for professions are called “Colleges” (not to be confused with schools). The purpose of the Colleges are to protect the interests of the public with the profession in mind.2, 3, 4 They establish the minimum education standards for massage therapists, encourage continuing education, regulate the profession and provides the public with a forum to report any complaints to hold the massage therapist accountable should there be any issues. Currently there are only three provinces in which massage therapy is regulated: British Columbia, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Ontario. In these provinces, in order to be a massage therapist (and call yourself a massage therapist or any variation of that title)5 it is mandatory to be registered with the regulatory body for that province.

The CMTBC - The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia regulates the profession of massage therapy in the province of British Columbia.
The CMTNL - The College of Massage Therapists of Newfoundland and Labrador regulates the profession of massage therapy in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The CMTO - The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario regulates the profession of massage therapy in the province of Ontario..


The purpose of the associations is to protect the interests of the profession with the public in mind. As health professions are regulated provincially, the associations are provincially-based (with a couple of exceptions). While membership in the associations is voluntary, the provincial associations work on behalf of all massage therapists within its province.

NWTMTA - Northwest Territories Massage Therapists Association
MTABC - Massage Therapy Association of British Columbia
MTAA - Massage Therapist Association Of Alberta
MTAS - Massage Therapist Association Of Saskatchewan Inc.
MTAM - Massage Therapy Association Of Manitoba Inc.
OMTA - Ontario Massage Therapist Association
FQM - Federation Québécoise Des Massotherapeutes
NLMTA - Newfoundland & Labrador Massage Therapy Association
"'ANBMT'" - Association of New Brunswick Massage Therapists
NBMA - New Brunswick Massotherapy Association
PEIMTA - Prince Edward Island Massage Therapy Association
MTANS - Massage Therapy Association Of Nova Scotia

Alliance - The CMTA

The Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance is the national alliance for the provincial massage therapy associations in Canada. Its membership consists of the provincial associations as a whole, not individual members.

In the USA


Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) is the largest massage membership association in the United States, representing 65,000 massage therapists and bodyworkers.

ABMP serves the massage, bodywork and somatic therapy professions and is a professional membership association devoted to promoting ethical practices, fostering acceptance of the professions and protecting the rights of legitimate massage, and bodywork practitioners. ABMP competes effectively for members by providing value,responsive, knowledgeable service.

ABMP has the most authoritative online resource for consumers and health, lifestyle and business media needing up-to-date, fact-filled reference tools and background on the growing massage therapy industry at It offers free lo-res and hi-res massage and spa photography for the print media, a 250-item massage and bodywork glossary, and an 800-article archive on lifestyle topics.

ABMP was formed in 1987 because there was a market need among practitioners for wider acceptance and support of a broader array of massage, bodywork and somatic modalities — to keep abreast of new theory and practice ideas, to learn how to market their services, to build working relationships with professionals in allied fields and to protect their investment in training by having appropriate liability insurance protection. Partly because leaders of some of the newer modalities saw their specialty as not fitting under the traditional massage banner, a need was felt among the practitioner community to have its concerns addressed as part-time service providers. (The majority of U.S. practitioners devote fewer than 20 hours a week to massage.) ABMP, from its beginning, worked to promote respect for all massage therapists regardless of their respective choice of working hours or form of practice.

ABMP also works to support the diversity of massage and bodywork, encouraging acceptance of massage by other healthcare practitioners, while remembering that massage is about ‘heart and art’ as well as science.


The American Massage Therapy Association was founded in 1943. The American Massage Therapy Association represents more than 56,000 massage therapists in 27 countries. It is the largest non-profit, member driven, professional organization of massage therapists in the United States. AMTA works to establish massage therapy as integral to the maintenance of good health and complementary to other therapeutic processes; to advance the profession through ethics and standards, certification, school accreditation, continuing education, professional publications, legislative efforts, public education, and fostering the development of members. AMTA is led by a volunteer Board of Directors elected by and from the membership at the national and chapter, levels.

Massage Therapy Foundation

The Massage Therapy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt (non-profit), public charity that promotes research, community service and education in the field of therapeutic massage and bodywork. It was founded in 1993 by the American Massage Therapy Association.

Beginning in 1993, the Massage Therapy Foundation began awarding grants to community service organizations such as hospices, shelters, and outreach programs. The purpose of the program has been to provide massage therapy services for members of society who are unlikely to have access to such services.

They support clinical research related to massage therapy, and make independent research articles and data available through their website.

In 2005 the Massage Therapy Foundation embarked on several new initiatives including the Student Case Report Contest and the Highlighting Massage Therapy in CAM Research Conference, the first of its kind to be held in the United States. The Foundation received a $30,000 grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to help support this event.

In Australia


The Association of Massage Therapists Ltd (AMT) is the oldest Association in Australia to promote Massage Therapy in its own right. Formed in 1966, it is a not-for-profit company representing Massage Therapists and Massage Therapy students.

AMT lists the following objectives in its Mission Statement:

1. To provide professional support and educational opportunities for our members to effectively practise massage therapy.
2. To promote and protect our members through interaction with health funds, educational authorities, the insurance industry, the government, the media and any other interested parties.
3. To make the public aware of the benefits of massage therapy and the best means of choosing a massage therapist.

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