AMBP GRANT COMMITS TO RAISE MASSAGE STATUS FOR LOW-BACK PAIN
Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) has pledged $15,000 to gain medical recognition of massage therapy as a treatment for low-back pain. ABMP has made a lead grant to the initiative and funds pledged represent one fourth of those needed to advance a NIH review. The initiative is termed a consensus conference, and includes testimony and an independent panel research review. Historically, panel findings are the impetus for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement policies, which lead to expansion of insurance coverage.
The last consensus conference addressing back pain was more than 10 years ago. At the time, the body of research supporting massage therapy was deemed insufficient to gain recognition. “The evidence is there and the time has come,” says Les Sweeney, nationally certified massage therapist and ABMP president. “We moved swiftly to support this initiative because massage therapists are long overdue in receiving medical recognition for the work they do to relieve suffering from back pain.”
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) advocates the consensus conference which would lead to a federal statement declaring that massage provides effective relief of low back pain. If the conference goal is attained, the AMTA believes that massage for low back pain will be widely accepted by the health care community. Recent AMTA consumer surveys report that 39 million adults are getting a massage annually, and 30 percent of those adults are using massage therapy for medical purposes.
Research indicates consumer massage use is as frequent as insurance-paid chiropractic and physical therapy care, yet more than 90 percent of massage therapy is client-paid. “Massage therapists have long treated low-back pain safely and effectively,” Sweeney says. “They have done so less expensively and less invasively than is possible with other treatments. A favorable finding by the panel could reduce pain and financial hardship for Americans who now pick up the tab for massage therapy or go without care.”
For information about Acupuncture & Massage College’s Massage Therapy diploma program featuring a Shiatsu specialization contact Joe Calareso at (305) 595-9500.