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Why I volunteer.

13 Aug 2023 7:33 PM | Carl Wilson (Administrator)

Dear Massage Therapists and Massage enthusiasts,

Back in 1990-91, while I was enrolled at Seattle Massage School, I attended a transformative event where I was witness to the dedication and passion of AMTA-WA Chapter board members. It was during that board meeting that I realized the pressing need for active involvement in our profession. I pledged that, once licensed, I would dedicate myself to volunteering and contributing to the growth and progress of massage therapy.

In 1992, I embarked on my volunteer journey with AMTA-WA, a commitment that extended until the early 2000s. The demands of advocating for our profession led to burnout for some, causing them to step back and focus on their practices. Yet, the external pressures on massage therapy never ceased. This underscores the importance of a continuous cycle of dedicated volunteers stepping up to ensure the well-being of our profession, fellow LMTs, and the patients we serve. 

From my firsthand experience, I observed the unwavering commitment of our professional leaders, including educators, clinic owners, and practicing LMTs, who selflessly devoted their time despite the challenges and the additional time taken from their practices, classrooms, and businesses. Fast forward to today, and we continue to grapple with many of the same pressures on our profession. Issues like inadequate insurance coverage and access, the challenge of human trafficking under the guise of massage, and persistent uneven treatment in local regulations, to name but a few – all demanding our collective action and advocacy.

In 2015, we took a significant step by establishing the Washington State Massage Therapy Association (WSMTA) to champion our profession at the local state level. This organization provides an independent platform for advocacy, free from potential constraints by other professional associations and outside stakeholders. While we aim to collaborate with other associations, provider groups and stakeholders whenever possible, our primary focus remains on the advocacy and advancement of massage therapy in our state.

Over the years, WSMTA has emerged as a respected and influential voice in Washington State, with a dedicated membership that fund our operations for the benefit of all State LMT’s. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your support, which empowers us to continue our tireless advocacy efforts on behalf of the massage therapy community. Allow me to share a brief list of past and ongoing achievements:

  • Development of COVID Return to Practice Guides and informative webinars
  • Dissemination of COVID updates from Governor/DOH through our newsletters and website, offering clarifications for their implications.
  • Annual provision of free educational opportunities at our flagship Annual Meeting, featuring valuable CE hours.
  • Tireless representation and advocacy for massage therapists and WSMTA members in discussions with the Board of Massage, state agencies, and other organizations.
  • Instrumental assistance in revising massage ordinances in Bremerton and the City of Lacey.
  • Active participation in WA Health Systems Quality Assurance (HSQA) meetings to voice our concerns and contribute to discussions.
  • Pivotal role in developing and continuously refining comments for the Board of Massage's rules revisions through collaboration and research.
  • Rigorous examination of continuing education requirements, CE tracking and storage, and other pertinent matters, with ongoing research and commentary.
  • Establishment of key contacts for collaboration with the Office of Insurance Commissioner, third-party payers, credentialing bodies, and insurance companies.
In the state of Washington, we face unique challenges as healthcare providers. Our profession's voice often lacks the strength seen in other healthcare professions and associations. This places us at the mercy of more influential interests that shape our industry's perception and regulation. Since our profession's inception as a state licensed profession, it has been our responsibility as practitioners to stand up, raise our voices, and advocate for fair access to patients, equitable compensation, and the accountability of those who tarnish our field.

My ask is for you to join the movement and contribute to the betterment of our cherished profession. If you have ever found yourself contemplating a solution while facing a challenge, you already possess the seed of volunteerism within you. Your unique perspective, insights, and dedication are needed now more than ever. Together, we can shape the future of massage therapy, ensuring its growth, recognition, and fair treatment.

Join us in advocating for a stronger, more vibrant massage therapy community in Washington. Your voice matters, your actions make a difference, and your commitment will leave a lasting impact. Let's come together and propel our profession to new heights. Reach out to us today at and be a part of this exciting journey.

With heartfelt gratitude and anticipation,

Carl Wilson

Director and Treasurer

Washington State Massage Therapy Association (WSMTA)

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