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Profession Leadership

Ethics Education
In addition to the Professional Code of Ethics developed by ABMP as a membership requirement, ABMP has promoted high ethical standards in the profession by such efforts as its no-cost distribution of The Educated Heart (Nina MacIntosh) and The Ethics of Touch (Ben Benjamin and Cherie Sohnen-Moe) to some 1,400 massage schools across the country. These excellent guides to ethical practice also were made available at reduced cost to members.

Strengthening Massage Therapy Education
In August 2007, ABMP launched a comprehensive initiative to strengthen the educational experience and skills of massage school students nationwide. The program includes desktop and online resources to meet the profession's needs after nearly a decade of growth in massage education. ABMP's 1,800 staff visits over that period inspired the program, meant to support the tremendous number of graduates entering the field and the schools preparing them for the marketplace. ABMP school visits indicated students were enthusiastic about their training but unprepared for the academic nature of classes in anatomy, physiology and kinesiology. Some come to massage school with education gaps from high school or long absences from the educational environment. ABMP found some do not yet have the life skills they need to be successful.

In January 2008, ABMP announced its sponsorship of an instructors' textbook in massage therapy -- the first of its kind -- in a joint effort with publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. The book's focus is providing support for teaching skills to massage therapy instructors. It did so because the rapid proliferation of massage training programs over the last decade has spread highly skilled teachers and massage therapy veterans too thin. To create the book, ABMP convened a meeting of 17 massage profession leaders in Denver in Spring 2007 to launch the initiative, resulting in a 360-page hardcover textbook titled, Teaching Massage: Fundamental Principles in Adult Education for Massage Program Instructors. The 2007 summit drew from 500 years collective experience in massage therapy and education. The package includes an online learning component so instructors can gain continuing education credits while honing teaching skills.

EveryBody Deserves a Massage Week
ABMP has been proud to sponsor an award-winning promotional Massage Week event since 1995. ABMP members have given their time, money and effort to help those less fortunate, while promoting their services and the profession. The event is held the third week of July.

In this community effort, ABMP encourages and supports its members in donating a suggested two hours or more in such community spirited activities as giving complimentary massages and asking for donations to charity.

School Issues Forum
In 1996, ABMP created the School Issues Forum in response to an expressed need for networking from school owners. The event is designed specifically for owners and directors of training schools to network, educate and talk shop with their peers. The 2012 Forum will be held in Austin, Texas from April 19-21 at the Driskill Hotel.

Each conference participant is both student and teacher. Many participants have a role in leading, facilitating or serving as a panelist on at least one topic. Because participants are from across the country, a casual environment exists in which sharing feels comfortable in a way that would be much more difficult in a locally competitive environment.

ABMP Catalyst in Forming Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards
In 2005, ABMP served as a catalyst to the formation of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). Other health professions already enjoy the benefits of such umbrella federations. The new massage organization should improve communication between states and may develop an improved entry-level test. Long-term, FSMTB offers prospects for enhanced licensing reciprocity.

The formation of FSMTB offers the promise for networking among state licensing boards to share the common issues that each agency deals with on a regular basis. This model has worked well for other regulated professions such as physical therapy, chiropractic and social work, and these organizations were studied and interviewed for "best practices" prior to forming the massage federation. read more



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