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[alt.backrubs] Frequently Asked Questions (FAQL), (4/5)

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Section 4 -- Professional Massage

   This posting contains answers to the following questions:
    4.1)  What about licencing, certification and professional training?
    4.2)  Professional issues (table suppliers, organizations, etc.)
    4.3)  Finding a good professional massage
    4.4)  Advice for a recipient of professional massage
    4.5)  How much will it cost?  Should I tip?  Can I get it cheaper?
    4.6)  I've got the following symptoms.  What do you advise?

        The complete lists of subparts of all questions is in part 0 of
this FAQ list.

        Each question begins with `Subject:' on a line of its own.  Users
with suitably equipped newsreaders can automatically skip to the start of
the next question, e.g. trn will display the start of the question when you
press ^G (control-G).  Of course if your newsreader doesn't do this
automatically, you can still use a search command to find the next
        To find the answer to question 4.2 search for a line beginning with
`Q4.2)', there will be only one.


        Your suggestions for changes to these articles are welcome.  Please
see section 0 (entitled Administrivia and Acknowledgements) in the earlier
posting for information about whom to contact and what changes are planned.

        The questions are divided into the following general sections.
Questions from each section are answered in articles of their own.  A list
of all questions appears in the first article (section 0).
        Section 0  Administrivia and Acknowledgements
        Section 1  General Questions
        Section 2  Basics of Massage
        Section 3  Novice Questions
        Section 4  Professional Massage
        Section 5  Other Sources of Information


Section 4 -- Professional Massage

Subject: What about licencing, certification and professional training?  
Q4.1)    Licencing is, of course, only relevant if you are looking to charge
for giving massages.  The restrictions and regulations differ from state to
state in the USA and province to province in Canada.  If you have
information about regulation in other countries, please post it to the
        Some jurisdictions have no restrictions, some provide two-tier
regulation (distinguishing between so-called technicians or bodyworkers and
therapists), some just want to make sure massage is not being used as a
cover for prostitution.  Some even require a level of training level
equivalent to what a physical therapist would have.  
       The rest of this question is in two parts: the first part is about
various resource guides that are available; the second part is about the
two major organizations that are frequently discussed in alt.backrubs.

a) Books, magazines and other resource guides
        Two books have been mentioned in alt.backrubs: _Massage: a career
at your fingertips_ and _International Massage & Bodywork Resource Guide_.
        Martin Ashley's book _Massage: A Career At Your Fingertips_
(published by Station Hill Press with ISBN 0-88268-135-4 in 1992) used to
be recommended often in alt.backrubs.  It provides a thorough overview of
career choices for bodyworkers and massage therapists and a career-planning
guide.  The extensive section about legal requirements, schools and
equipment may be out of date by now.  A Table of Contents (for the first
edition) is in the archive's `getting.registered' file.  Information
about the second editon is available on the WWW at
        According to Keith Grant, the _International Massage & Bodywork
Resource Guide_ compiled by Robert Calvert and Noel Abildgaard and
published by Noah Press (with ISBNs 1-879933-04-7 and 1-879933-03-9 in
1991) contains more than 520 listings of schools, associations, seminars
and laws related to the healing arts of massage, bodywork and holistic
health along with tips on choosing a school, a glossary of techniques and a
book review section.
        Massage magazine (also published by Noah Press, with ISSN
1057-378-X) contains a section for paid advertisements about massage
schools and training centres.  Because they only accept paid ads I can't
tell how complete the listings are.  It seems that Massage is aimed
primarily at American markets.  The magazine publishes a brief list of the
most basic regulations for registered massage therapists in each of the
United States of America.  The list includes telephone numbers for
additional information.  Noah Publishing's address is
   P.O. Box 1500, 
   Davis, CA 95617
They can be reached by telephone at +1(800) 872-4263 or +1(916) 757-6033.
The magazine has e-mail address <>.  Their webpage is at
        Informative postings about massage schools may be found in the
archive's `mas.schools' and `esalen' files.  More information, and much
discussion, is available in part b) below and in the archive (see the
category about certification; information about the archive appears in
question 5.1.2). 
        The AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association), the ABMP
(Associated Massage and Bodywork Professionals) and the COMTAA
(Commission on Massage Training Accreditation/Approval in the USA) often
come up in discussions of massage schools in alt.backrubs.  For that reason
only, the following address and telephone numbers are included here.  They
were extracted from the archive's `mas.schools' file.  If you have more
accurate information please tell the archive maintainer.
  American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)
  820 Davis Street, Suite 100, 
  Evanston, IL 60201-4444
  +1(847) 864-0123
  +1(312) 761-2682  (for a list of COMTAA schools)
  The AMTA's web page is at <URL:>.
N.B.: inclusion of this information does not imply approval (or
disapproval) of the AMTA, the COMTAA, the USA or any other organization,
their policies employees, fashion sense, etc.  It is here because it is
part of an answer to a frequently asked question.


b) What are the ABMP and the AMTA?
        Before you decide to join any organization you should read part a)
above and possibly the relevant archive files.  If you want to know what
the various abbreviations used in alt.backrubs mean then you should be
reading question 1.3.
        In the USA and Canada, the AMTA (American Massage Therapy
Association) and the ABMP (Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals)
are major organizations offering malpractice insurance and forms of
professional accreditation.  It is entirely possible that these
organizations also offer these services in other countries, but those are
the only ones of which I am aware.  If someone from those organizations
will supply more information then it will be used to update this
document.  See question 0.2 for information about whom to contact.
        The AMTA and the ABMP are competing organizations with different
approaches to massage, massage and bodywork regulation and many other
issues near and dear to the hearts of professional MTs.  If you are
thinking of getting certified (within or without the USA and Canada) then
you might find the discussions in the files in the archive's certification
category helpful.  The archive and its categories are the subject of
question 5.1.2. 
        Please feel free to submit an unbiased summary of the posts in the
archive files relevant to this question.  If such a summary is received it,
or some version of it, will replace this answer.  
        The AMTA's web page is at <URL:>.
        The ABMP's web page is at <URL:>.

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