Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge

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March 2011

A new article highlighting the evolution of the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK) project was released today on the website.   

Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge – Past and Present” highlights the history of the effort, provides a brief overview of the document, and clarifies several themes that have emerged since the release of the first version in May 2010. With the document now in an evaluation phase, the article also calls for the profession to continue to review and submit comments. As a living document it will develop and evolve over time in response to the needs of the profession. All suggestions and edits are being collected for future revisions through the website. 

A new video of the MTBOK presentation delivered at the Massage Therapy Foundation‘s Highlighting Massage Therapy CIM Research conference is also available to view on the website. The 40 minute video features the MTBOK project manager and several of the Task Force members sharing details of the history of the project and
the process for creating the inaugural document.   

To read the article, click here.

To download the document, click here.

To view the video from the Highlighting Conference, click here.

Comments should be sent to

MTBOK Second Draft Released
January 29, 2010

The MTBOK Task Force is pleased to announce the release of the 2nd draft of the MTBOK which is now available for download, review and public comment. The formal commenting period will be open through March 8, 2010.

Download the press release and actual content here.

Provide a comment, suggestion or update on the 2nd Draft of the MTBOK via our online collection form here.

Bryan Fong Joins the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK ) Task Force

The MTBOK Project takes great pleasure in announcing the newest member of the MTBOK Task Force, Bryan Fong. Bryan replaces Nancy Schmitt who has been called to other endeavors.

Bryan, a Massage Therapist with more than 12 years experience brings a wealth of experience in Massage and in business management. You can read his brief bio on our website at under the section ďWho We AreĒ After you have read about him, make a note to come meet us all and hear about the MTBOK project while you give us your input on the first draft which will be released on September 15th. It will be held on Thursday, September 24th from 4:00 to 5:00pm at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL. If you are attending the AMTA National Convention, you will be there. If not, you are welcome any way - the session is open to all interested parties. And you can welcome Bryan in person while you are there. I hope to see you there.

Download Event Flyer for the MTBOK Stakeholder Input Session which was held September 24, 2009 in Orlando,FL

Upcoming Release of the First Draft of the MTBOK

On September 15, 2009 the MTBOK Task Force will release the first draft of the Phase 1 MTBOK for public review and comment. You will be able to review the document here and/or download a pdf version of the document for off-line review. This draft has been put together in just over two months, and although it isnít final, we are driven by the desire to give as many of you the ability to see where we are going and to enable you to provide comments. We think that this will help ensure that the MTBOK is truly developed by and for the Massage Therapy community.

The MTBOK itself will be in a form designed to help you provide specific comments to the Task Force. We are asking that to the extent possible, comments be focused on specific areas, and to that end we will include line numbers so that you can direct us to the exact spot of your concern. We are instituting an online form for submission of content, which will allow you to quickly and easily provide us with as many focused comments as needed rather than trying to assemble all of your thoughts into one document. This approach will also help us track how we respond to comments as well as make it easier for the 8 member task force to deal with the volume of incoming comments. Watch for the link when we release the document.

This wonít be the only chance to comment on the MTBOK by a long shot. We will be hosting a face-to-face input session with the MTBOK Task force in September in Orlando Florida, and we will do a second call for comments after the next draft is released in a few months.

I hope you will be as excited as I am about the progress we have made so far. With your input and involvement the MTBOK will just keep getting better!

Opportunity to interact with the MTBOK Task Force and provide Input to the MTBOK

One of the foundations of the MTBOK is that it be built with as much input from the broad Massage Therapy community as possible. In the initial few months of the project there was little for stakeholders to focus on, but on September 15th of this year, the first draft of the MTBOK content will be released. This will allow for the community at large to see the direction that the Task Force is taking as well as much of the specifics that will be contained within the MTBOK itself.

An upcoming Stakeholder Input session to be held at the AMTA conference in Orlando from 4-5pm on September 24th, will be the first opportunity to interact with the full task force itself, and to directly provide feedback to the MTBOK Task Force members. Itís also the best way to get a feel for the status and direction of the project through the eyes of the Task Force members.

The session will begin with a brief introduction and overview after which we will move into an interactive discussion format between attendees and a task force member at locations around the room.

There is a lot for anyone in the profession to gain from attending the session, since the goal of the MTBOK is to be a living, evolving, single repository for the domain of information related to Massage Therapy, and will thus be a resource for all. Participation in this session will provide the earliest opportunity to learn about the process and document and to be heard in person early in the development process.

I hope to see you there. If you canít attend this session, please note that when we release the first draft of the MTBOK, we will include instructions on how to submit comments on the document, and we do hope you will participate in that. MTBOK First Draft Released
September 15, 2009

Download the press release and actual content here.

The period for commenting on the first draft is now closed while the 2nd draft is prepared for distribution on January 29, 2010. We will reopen the comment collection instrument at that time. Thank you..

MTBOK Stewards Direction for the MTBOK Development Process added to MTBOK
resources page.

July 10, 2009

Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Task Force Announced
July 7, 2009

The Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK) Stewards are pleased to announce the volunteer MTBOK Task Force member selections have been made. Every attempt has been made to select a dynamic group of individuals who together represent what may be considered the broadly defined field of massage therapy.

Each of the MTBOK Task Force members were chosen for their experience, credentials and expertise as well as having a working understanding of at least one of the major areas impacting the current and future growth of the Massage Therapy profession. The members of the MTBOK Task Force are:

Megan Lavery

Kevin Pierce

Susan Salvo

Michael Shea

Steve Schenkman

Dawn Schmidt

Nancy Schmitt

JoEllen Sefton

The Task Force is responsible for initiating a profession-wide and unifying effort to articulate a common body of knowledge for the profession. Under the guidance of Chip Hines, a PMI certified Project Manager Professional, the Task Force members will begin work on the foundational elements of the MTBOK project in July, 2009. These foundational elements include:

  • Definition of massage therapy
    • Describing the Field (primarily to enhance understanding and appreciation of the profession by those outside the profession)
    • Scope of Practice
    • Terminology
  • Competencies of an entry-level massage therapist (knowledge, skills, abilities)

The MTBOK project is expected to complete the foundational elements phase of the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge initiative in approximately one year.

Six organizations have agreed to jointly steward the MTBOK initiative. They are American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), AMTA Council of Schools, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), Massage Therapy Foundation, Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB).

All stakeholders in Massage Therapy are encouraged to follow the progress of the project, and to provide comments, suggestions and make contributions. Specific instructions will be forthcoming as the project gets started this summer. Task Force bios and other MTBOK updates are available at


MTBOK Task Force Member Application Solicitation ended on May 1, 2009

The Task Force selection process is continuing and the Task Force is expected to be in place before July 1, 2009

Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Project Manager Announced

The Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK) Stewards are pleased to announce the appointment of Chip Hines, MS, LMT as the Project Manager for the definition phase of the project.

Chip is formerly both a senior federal government project manager and PMI-certified Project Management Professional. He brings with him a wealth of experience managing large scale projects requiring consensus-building within a diverse community. Chip is also a Licensed Massage Therapist (Maryland) who is NCBTMB certified and has taught advanced bodywork at the Baltimore School of Massage.

As project manager, Chip will direct and manage efforts of the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Task Force, to ensure its members successfully produce the desired outcomes within the time and resource constraints; serve as a public liaison for the Task Force; and act as a conduit to MTBOK Stewards. The task force, made up of subject matter experts in the field-practitioners, educators and researchers-, will be seated in July 2009 to define, develop and articulate the MTBOK. Foundational elements of the MTBOK project will consist of:

  • Definition of massage therapy (scope of practice, terminology, describing the field);

  • Definition of the competencies of an entry-level massage therapist, in terms of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs).

Chip will serve a twelve-month contract and report directly to the MTBOK Stewards. The MTBOK Stewards consist of representatives from the American Massage Therapy Association, AMTA Council of Schools, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, Massage Therapy Foundation, and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.

For more information and ongoing updates on the Body of Knowledge Project, please visit

Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Project announces
Task Force Selection Process Opens March 17th

The Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK) Stewards will be accepting applications for the volunteer positions on the MTBOK Task Force beginning March 17th. There are eight positions available. Deadline for submissions is May 1st.

The MTBOK Stewards met in San Antonio, Texas in January to establish next steps in the MTBOK development process. Last month, the Stewards announced the establishment of a task force charged with defining a Body of Knowledge for the massage therapy profession, and posted a job description for the Project Manager position to guide the work of the Task Force. The job description and application guidelines for Task Force volunteers are available at The task force will be seated in July, 2009. This volunteer position will require a nine-month commitment, with a projected completion date of April, 2010.

Interested Candidates should submit the following, contained in one electronic file (either Microsoft Word or PDF format):

  • Resume/curriculum vitae
  • Cover Letter
  • List of professional references

Submit applications via email to by May 1st.

Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge Project Update
February 6, 2009





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