Continuing education is an important part of being a healthcare provider. Just as important is keeping up on the most recent research in one’s field. I was lucky enough to be able to take a class on massage research in early April. The class was amazing! It was so fantastic that it didn’t matter that I was inside all day on the first nice Saturday of the year.

The class, Catching up with the Latest in Massage Research taught by Mike Hamm LMP, CCST, grew from something that happened in Washington state recently. Within the last year or so when the Affordable Care Act was in an earlier development and implementation phase, there was talk that massage was going to be excluded from insurance coverage. Recognizing the need for quick action, several massage therapists and massage therapy advocates wrote a paper to defend our field of healthcare. It argued that since massage was included in Washington state insurance plans, that at the national level, excluding massage would infringe on our state’s law. Included in this paper were almost 1,000 studies citing research supporting the efficacy of massage therapy for many conditions. As I understand it, this paper and project took about two weeks to pull together before it was sent off to the Obama administration. Bravo! It was a serious feat.

As many of you know, we didn’t lose the ability to bill insurances for massage. For that, we have that team of massage advocates to thank. The team included the papers authors, project coordinators, and the reviewers: Marissa Brooks, MPH,LMP, Michael Hamm, LMP, CCST, Benjamin Erkan, BA, Diana L Thompson, LMP, Past President, Massage Therapy Foundation, Kenneth Pfaff, HFWLS, HPCUHGS, Head Librarian, The Grotto Library, Marybeth Berney, LMP, President, AMTA-WA, Albert Moraska, PhD, Tracy Walton, MS, LMT, Ruth Werner, LMP. Last but certainly not least, thanks is due to Washington State’s chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association for funding the project.

I have a digital copy of the paper which I’ll be printing off to keep on hand at my office. You can also find it herehere. Feel free to give it a read.

This paper is benefiting massage therapists and their clients beyond Washington state as well. Since this was sent in, several states are considering including massage as a covered healthcare service. Beyond that we are seeing more states properly licensing massage therapists, increasing the education requirements of their graduating LMPs, and in general becoming more accepting of this field of medicine.

If you are interested in supporting organizations that advocate for massage please check out the following:
Massage Therapy Foundation
American Massage Therapy Association – Washington Chapter

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