The Core: Entry-Level Analysis Project Report

Notepad with eyeglasses and penThe Coalition of National Massage Therapy Organizations which includes seven of the largest massage organizations in the United States has just released a joint statement on the “The Core: Entry-Level Analysis Project Report”.

You can download the joint statement from the website here:

The actual report will be released on February 10th and I’m excited to see it.

The aim of the project was to define what an entry-level massage therapist must learn to provide safe and competent massage and to come up with the minimum number of hours required to teach those skills.

Until now, no one has ever defined what an entry level massage therapist does using research and defensible methodology. As a result education standards across states has been all over the map, both in terms of content areas and hours of training.

While this report is not the final word on what we do and what training we need, it certainly is the first real step forward in getting consensus and establishing agreed on standards. The fact that seven of the most prominent organizations, all with competing interests, were able to jointly support the process and endorse the final report is nothing less than a miracle. I think the leaders of those organizations deserve a pat on the back for bravely entering the process when the outcome could have ultimately be detrimental to all of them. Those organizations are:

  • Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE)
  • American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)
  • Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP)
  • Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)
  • Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)
  • Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF)
  • National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB)

Also a big congratulations to the seven member work team headed by Anne Williams. There was an unimaginable amount of work involved in analyzing enormous data sets (including tens of thousands of job task analysis, surveys of therapists, educators, clinic owners, the public and other research data), translating that research into massage knowledge or skill areas, breaking down each of those into detailed learning objectives, and then analyzing thousands of points of feedback from massage professionals to ultimately determine the number of training hours required for an entry level therapist. The fact that the report was completed in just 21 months is unbelievable really. I thought it was way too ambitious, but they did it. I’m sure those seven people will be happy to have a life again. I’m also impressed with the innovative learning taxonomy that was created as a result of this project and that will likely serve all vocational schools moving into the future.

This project has been the topic of debate pretty much ever since it was started 21 months ago. It’s given bloggers and Facebook pundits lots of food for discussion, rants, and prognostications. There’s nothing people hate more than change and this report will definitely make people change the way they think about our role as massage professionals and the way we think about education. I expect to see a great deal of ranting in our profession over the coming month. The details contained in the report are somewhat incidental. I hope people see it for what it is: The next step forward in meaningful evolution of massage as a profession.

Eric Brown of BodyworkBiz (an online massage business resource) also owns Thermal Palms, Relax to the Max, World Massage Conference and Massage Therapy Radio. Sign up for the free BodyworkBiz massage marketing newsletter at


You can now find me on Twitter @ericupsidebrown
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