When it comes time to get your liability insurance, the top two contenders are the American Massage Therapy Association and the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals who are actually associations who also provide liability insurance. There are also many companies who just provide liablitiy insurance. If that is all you want, you can choose one of those. Here is a handy chart at another site that compares the liability insurance benefits.
If you want to be a part of an association that provides you more benefits, then an association would be a good choice.
Here is a comparison of the two major associations.
|Business Status||Not for Profit: Financials available to the public at Guidestar.org|
|For Profit company. Financials Unkown. Employee Owned.|
Parent company : Professional Assist Corporation (PAC)—a group of national associations serving the following beauty and wellness professionals:
• Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), the nation’s largest professional association
for massage therapists and bodyworkers
• Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP), the nation’s only association of its kind for estheticians
• Associated Hair Professionals (AHP), our association for hair stylists and barbers
• Associated Nail Professionals (ANP), our newest association serving nail professionals
|Number of Members||100,000 as of Dec 2022||Unknown.|
|State Chapters||Has State Chapters with individual volunteer Boards that host Annual Meetings, CE, State Conventions|
|Lobbyists||-Limited National Lobbyist |
-State Chapters have state lobbyists (or should have)
|Massage Awareness Websites||– Owns Massagetoday.com|
(no one really seems to know this: see newstory from ABMP)
|– Owns www.massagetherapy.com|
|Stance on NCBTMB|
See also: History of NCBTMB
|– Started NCBTMB; Stopped supporting it in the 2000, and now Provides a significant financial source||Unknown; helped Create the Federation of Massage State Boards which is in direct opposition.|
|Supports Research||-$400,000+ goes to the Massage Therapy Foundation yearly||Unknown:|
|Advocacy||– State Chapters have government relations committees to watch state boards, licensing and legislation|
-Chapters are run by volunteers who step up.
Bill tracker: https://www.amtamassage.org/advocacy/state-local-priorities/
|Government relations team. |
|Stance on Establishment Licensing/human trafficking/sex workers|
Joint Statement from 2017
|“The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) does not oppose fair and reasonable establishment licensing. In order for the association (national or chapter) to support massage therapy legislation, however, the following content and conditions are must have elements of ordinance language:” https://www.amtamassage.org/advocacy/state-local-priorities/elements-of-massage-therapy-ordinance/||We advocate for eliminating establishment licensing for sole practitioners who are clearly not engaging in human trafficking. We would like to see states adopt language that would result in misdemeanors for individuals who advertise massage services without a license to practice massage.|
|Liability Insurance||$2 Million/ occurrence – up to $6 Million/ aggregate/per member/ per year *(Subject to a $10 Million Shared Master Aggregate). Shared Master Aggregate means that all the members of the association (for example: AMTA™s 90,000+ members) share insurance coverage up to the $10 million annual policy limit. AMTA’s reserve fund covers any other claims. AMTA has never come close to its claims reaching the $10 million annual policy limit.|
-Coverage is included for hot stone massage at no additional charge.
-Dual coverage is included for massage therapists who are also estheticians or yoga instructors.
|$2 Million/Occurrence up to $6 Million aggregate/ per member/ per year|
|Continuing Education (CE)||– Offers many free and low cost Online CE classes|
-State Conventions provide in-person CE
-Requires CE for renewal of membership
|-Free Online CE Classes for members|
-No requirements for members
|History||Founded in 1943|
See full history here.
|Founded in 1987 Sherri Williamson.|
|Number of Members|
|National and State Elections of Board||Yes, but offer a “slate” on the national level, which means the National org selects a slate of people who are running to be approved as a package deal.||Not applicable.|
Current Issues in the Massage Profession that need attention
There are so many important issues in the massage profession that are not getting the attention that they need. Our professional associations are failing us.
Continuing Education. Their focus on CE is to get more members. The whole issue of CE has never been studied to see what is actually needed to ‘Continue the education” of a massage therapist right out of school and newly licensed to support them in their chosen career paths. A massage association could be helping the issue of CE and requiring members to take very specific classes that will ensure a massage therapist is up to date and is not immersed in the many myths of massage that are still being talked about. No there are not toxins being released in a massage. Yes, you can massage a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy if there are no complications and No massaging the ankles and lower leg do not induce labor. Learn more about the CE Conundrum as I call it.
Sex workers/human trafficking is rampant around the US using the name of massage to hide their illicit businesses. The profession has entangled us even more with the issue with the creation of establishment licensing and the terms that are being used. Learn more about the long history of the entanglement of massage therapy and prostitution and some of the things we need to do to get untangled at www.massagechangeslives.com
Getting Massage Covered by Medicare and All health insurance in the US.
The massage profession is so far behind in getting massage covered by health insurance. WA State massage therapists have been able to bill health insurance for over 25 years. So why is the rest of the US so far behind? Our associations have failed us, especially since the Affordable Care Act opened many doors. The lack of advocay is showing again.
Which association to choose?
Right now we actually need to be in both associations but that is not always financially possible. AMTA was once a grass-roots advocacy movement. I think we need to get back to that and create pockets of local networks of massage therapists across the US to work on the issues that I have discussed here and to help show that Massage is Therapy. Massage is NOT sex work. Massage Changes Lives.
What we do need is to get back to grass-roots advocacy. That is what the profession was built on. Starting and running a local massage network in your city/county/state is a great way to support the profession and also gather to take action.