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Getting Associated

There are many reasons why you may choose to join a Massage Association.  The most obvious reason – if you wish to provide Health Fund rebates for massage services, it is a requirement of the Health Funds that you be a member of a recognized association.

Associations are not just for Health Funds though.  A good association advocates on behalf of their members – both to policy makers and the public, to both raise the profile of massage therapy and to promote the known benefits of massage.  They are a great source of industry knowledge, assist you to connect with other therapists, help you develop your professional skills through ongoing education, and they offer support and advice to their members.

A good Association will also provide strong guidance to encourage a high standard of practice by providing members with detailed, unambiguous rules of conduct through their Code of Practice and detailed Policy or Position statements.

There are several Associations in Australia that support massage therapists.  Some, like AMT and Massage and Myotherapy Australia are massage specific, others like ANTA and ATMS are focused on a wider range of traditional, complementary, and natural therapy practices, but do include Massage Therapy.

When choosing an Association, there are many things that are worth considering.

  1. Are they are recognized by the Health Funds for provider status?It may seem obvious but there are some that are not true “Associations” and others that cannot facilitate provider numbers for some or all the major Health Funds.
  2. How do they communicate with members?We all communicate in different ways and have different expectations.Make sure that the Association you are considering meets your expectations.Some make sporadic contact with members, some have yearly magazines, some have a strong social media presence, some are hard to contact by telephone and others are fantastic.
  3. Do they have realistic ongoing education requirements?Some have quite flexible CPE programs that allow you to claim points for a wide range of activities that relate to your business.Some require CPE to be gained through attendance at their approved workshops or programs.
  4. Does their strategic direction align with your business goals?All the Associations will have a plan.Go to their website and have a read of their mission statements and strategic direction for the coming years. It’s important that your membership fees are being used for programs that you believe in.
  5. How involved do you want to be with your Association?Some have very active local network groups (that will hopefully resume post COVID) that give you the opportunity to connect locally.If you are a “joiner” choose one with local networking opportunities.
  6. What is listed in their Scope of Practice for their members?It is important that the modalities you offer are recognized, otherwise you may need some adjustments to your insurance policy.

Choosing your Association is a very personal decision.  What works for one therapist may not work for you.  Ask around and get other opinions, but also do your due diligence and make sure that the Association is a good fit for you.  No matter which Association you choose – it will only ever be as strong as its membership base.  Happy members that have clear direction make for a supportive and aligned industry.

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