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About Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) serves the massage, bodywork and somatic therapy professions. ABMP 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. (Massage therapy is used throughout this site to describe the whole of massage, bodywork, and somatic therapies.) ABMP competes effectively for members by providing the best value and most responsive, knowledgeable service. Our business philosophy is summed up by our credo: expect more.

Why We're Here
Massage rapidly gains converts and social acceptance each year and is now a therapeutic leader in the burgeoning field of alternative therapies. More than 300,000 trained therapists provide massage and bodywork in the United States. More than 1,400 state-approved schools provide massage and bodywork training. Though a growing number of therapists work in spas, salons, health clubs and chiropractic and medical offices, a majority still are independent proprietors.

ABMP History
In 1987, ABMP was founded by Sherri Williamson to provide massage and bodywork practitioners with an effective service organization. Started out of her home, ABMP outgrew three different offices in six years. In April 1996, ABMP was sold to a group of four people who now comprise the core of the company's management team. In 2011, more than 79,000 practitioners belong to ABMP.

We were not the first massage membership association in the United States. Indeed, we began a full 44 years after the industry's first professional organization, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), was founded. AMTA's worthwhile focus during the past 10 years has been the recognition of massage therapy by the medical profession, opening the door to respect for practitioners and eligibility for reimbursement by health insurance companies.

Why We Are Different
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, ABMP, in its early years, took positions opposing the creation of new state licensing standards and questioning the value of practitioner certification in the context of particular standards, procedures and fee structures being proposed. ABMP was, however, consistently encouraging to schools working to upgrade their curricula.

Additionally, a need was felt among the practitioner community to have its concerns addressed as part-time service providers. For many years, AMTA tried to keep focused on practitioners occupied full time in their field, believing that image was important to gaining acceptance in the medical profession, even though most of the members did not fit that full-time profile. (The majority of U.S. practitioners — and even of AMTA members— devote fewer than 20 hours a week to massage. Many have other part-time work, creating a unique set of needs in promoting and conducting their businesses.) By contrast, 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. We advocate choice — for individuals selecting training institutions, for schools designing curriculum and deciding whether to seek accreditation and from whom, for practitioners in shaping their practice parameters, and for consumers in having a wide variety of practitioners from whom to select a therapist matching their needs and preferences.

ABMP Grows to Largest Membership Association for Massage/Bodywork Professionals
Despite our 44-year later start, ABMP has grown to more than 80,000 members and now is the country's largest massage membership organization. We believe our membership growth reflects our ability to connect with member needs and to quickly develop high-quality products and services that meet those needs.

Also a promising sign — 57 percent of respondents answered "ABMP"when asked, "Which association best serves the interests of its membership and the profession?"(The second-place association received only 15 percent of the votes — June 2001 poll conducted by Massage Today). Though more recent independent polls have not been taken, it's a reasonable presumption ABMP's more rapid membership growth than AMTA's in the subsequent years reflects a continuing perceived difference.

With the emergence of a growing spa industry and its partnering of skin care services with massage therapy, an increasing number of our members are becoming dual-licensed. ABMP is accommodating their needs by also offering insurance for skin care professionals. The result is peace of mind for professionals with multiple talents.

Leadership continuity, quick decision-making, a strong service ethic, an appealing lack of bureaucracy and an attitude of openness to new ideas and somatic modalities allow ABMP to live up to its "expect more"promise. Some prime examples:

Responsive Committed Staff
It is our staff members who animate our beliefs and commitment, who actually deliver prompt, responsive service to each member. ABMP has been fortunate to attract a warm, enthusiastic staff that embraces service to our members and enjoys working in the foothills community of Golden, Colo. We pledge to our members that they will talk with a real person or receive a callback within an hour from someone 90 percent of the time they call our toll-free number during normal business hours.

Customer Service is our Reason for Being
From the first day they join ABMP, staff members are apprised of the high standards they are expected to meet in working with our customers — ABMP members. As part of their orientation, they are briefed on the importance of handling member concerns and questions competently, quickly, respectfully and with pride. Teamwork is an important part of the ABMP culture, and we actively solicit ideas from staff on how we can do better in serving our customers and working productively together. In this sense, we believe our culture matches the essential nature of the profession we serve high-touch, positive and humane.

Employee Ownership
ABMP is owned directly by 24 individuals, each of whom works (or has worked) for the organization, and indirectly by all other staff members, who are afforded an opportunity to own shares of ABMP after completing a base period of service.

Lean Centralized Operation
We believe our lean organizational form offers advantages in being able to make decisions quickly, to be within earshot of our members at all times and to respond aggressively to an opportunity or a challenge to the profession.

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