There are many schools and institutes teaching a variety of massage approaches in the U.S. Educational requirements vary in the number of hours of instruction and the type of courses offered. Quality programs usually include courses in anatomy and physiology, classroom training in the technique, supervised practice, instruction in theory, ethics and safety issues, and continuing education requirements. A list of schools approved by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation can be found on their web site at www.comta.org/trainprog.htm.
Official Licensing Bodies
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia currently license massage therapists. There is no standardization of requirements but licensing usually requires a minimum of 500 hours of classroom instruction and a written examination. In addition, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has developed accreditation standards for educational institutions based on the 500-hour standard. The Commission on Massage Training Accreditation which is affiliated with the AMTA has accredited 52 U.S. and Canadian massage therapy schools. Many manual therapy techniques are not licensed at this time and practitioners are certified by the institutes that provide instruction in the particular approach. Requirements for certification vary according to the certifying educational body. A relatively new development is the formation of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. This body has established training requirements and a national certification examination leading to the title of Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
Feltman, John, editor. Hands-On Healing. Rodale Press, 1989.
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Health World Online www.healthy.net. Bodywork and Somatic Therapies. William Collinge. Massage Therapy and Bodywork: Healing Through Touch. From The American Holistic Health Associations Complete Guide to Alternative Medicine. Warner Books, 1996.