Advocacy, Laws and Legislation

The Government and External Affairs Program promotes and protects YOUR livelihood – practicing massage in WA State. Check out our legislative history below!

The mission of the Government and External Affairs Program is to protect and enhance the massage profession by promoting and supporting, political and legislative awareness and demand for massage therapy as healthcare.

One of the primary jobs of The Government and External Affairs Program is to work with AMTA-WA lobbyist Melanie Stewart on legislative issues that impact us and the profession. We work to inform legislators about massage and the massage profession in WA State. We are constantly building relationships with legislators, their staff, and state agencies in order to create a base of understanding that will support the Chapter’s advocacy for legislative support.

We also work with healthcare attorneys, John Peick of and John Conniff of to provide members with all of the information needed to do business in WA as a healthcare provider. Whether you have questions with regard to business practices or insurance billing, John Peick will have the answers for our AMTA-WA members. Most importantly, they have been doing their best to keep us informed about the changes coming with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014 and to preserve and protect our rights and ability to bill health insurance. As part of defending our inclusion in the Affordable Care Act’s Insurance Exchanges, we hired Diana Thompson, past president of the Massage Therapy Foundation, to lead a team of experts to create the Summary of Evidence. This document is the largest document known which explains how massage will fit in to the Ten Essential Benefits within the Insurance Exchanges. You can click here to download or also download it below.

The Government and External Affairs Program sponsors Massage Awareness Days where massage therapists provide chair massage to the legislators at the Capitol Building in Olympia during each legislative session. We do this with volunteer help, to educate our legislators and their staff about who we are, what we do and what our concerns are. To learn more about the program and how you can volunteer, visit our Volunteer Page.

Year round we are communicating with you via our monthly e-newsletter, social media and chapter events such as our Annual Chapter Convention and our Annual Chapter Meeting. Our dynamic website also supports the effort with many member resources and ways of connecting massage therapists to make a difference! We are striving to provide you with all of the information you will need to be able to make wise choices for your practice and your future. We also are communicating with the Department of Health, law enforcement and the media, making sure they know that AMTA-WA is committed to public safety and regulatory compliance. We are working for you whether you are a member or not!

Please join us in helping the Government and External Affairs Program as a volunteer as we always need more eyes and ears on the ground helping us to watch out for obstacles as well as opportunities. We would love to have you join us in protecting and promoting our profession.

Together our voice has a powerful Impact!

Legislation History

  • 1984 – Uniform Disciplinary Act (UDA) defines and governs all providers in WA State. LMPs were included for the first time, which gave us status as healthcare providers. Because of this action, Labor and Industries opened up to us in July the following year. LMPs began working with L&I
  • 1990 – State Standards for Massage Education set at 500 hours.
  • 1992 – Sales tax added to LMP fees. LMPs organized protest and win. (Entered the era of “Healthcare Provider”)
  • 1994 – Chapter contracted with lobbyist Melanie Stewart.
  • 1996 – “Every Category of Provider” law passed – giving individuals the right to choose the provider they will see for a covered condition as long as it is within a healthcare provider’s scope of practice. Lori Belinski, LMP was Deborah Senn’s (Insurance Commissioner at the time) massage therapist!
  • 1998 – AMTA-WA participated in the Clinicians’ Workgroup on the Integration of CAM (CWIC) with Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn from 1998-2000. The workgroup existed fro three full years addressing myths, fears and coverage issues from service that were not understood by insurers. The relationships developed through that workgroup are still supporting the CAM professions today.
  • 2000 – White House Commission Town Hall Meeting in Seattle (AMTA-WA testimony).
  • 2004 – MYOPAC raises $11,000 to help defeat I-895. This initiative threatened a patient’s right to access the healthcare provider of their choice to deliver covered services in their health insurance policy.
    • I-895 dies.
    • Biggest political contribution by the massage profession ($11,000 in donations to MYOPAC).
    • HB 2460 dismantles much of Washington State healthcare reform, but “Every Category Provider” law still intact.
  • 2005 – Washington Massage Alliance for Health, is created.
  • 2007 – AMTA-WA launches legal services program as a free AMTA-WA member benefit.
    • AMTA-WA wrote and worked to pass HB 1397 which expanded scope of practice to include intraoral massage as an endorsement to the massage license.
    • AMTA-WA wrote and worked to pass HB 1341 which repealed language from the massage practice act that allowed local jurisdictions to charge additional fees for massage businesses that were not required for non-massage businesses.
    • SB 5403 passed which created a new category of animal massage therapists under the purview of the veterinary board for those who only want to work with animals and not humans
  • 2008 – AMTA-WA wrote and worked to pass SHB 2959 which placed the massage continuing education requirement into law (RCW) and not just in rule (WAC) and created an inactive license category for massage.
  • 2010 – Affordable Care Act signed. AMTA-WA working to preserve the Every Category Law.
  • 2013 -AMTA-WA hires Diana Thompson to create document showing how massage will fit into the ACA at request of OIC. The Summary of Evidence: Massage Therapy is an Integral Component in the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits. Download complete document below.
  • 2017 -AMTA-WA wrote and worked to pass SHB 2425 to change our title from licensed massage practitioner to licensed massage therapist.
    • AMTA-WA participated in rule making workshops with Board of Massage to clarify massage practitioner rules (Chapter 246-830 WAC)

Summary of Evidence download here