Nearly 1,500 Candidates Take National Certification Exam Each Month

MCLEAN, Va. ­ March 7, 2002 - The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), a not-for-profit organization that certifies professionals in the massage therapy and bodywork industry through a recognized credentialing program, today announced that its certificant population has reached 50,000. To obtain the NCTMB credential, over 50,000 practitioners have completed a rigorous training process including a minimum of 500 in-class hours of education and training, as well as passing the National Certification Exam (NCE), and have pledged to follow the NCBTMB Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Since its inception in 1992, the NCBTMB has experienced rapid growth, including an increase of more than 28,000 certificants in the last five years. In the last year alone, the number of Nationally Certified Practitioners increased from 43,000 to 52,000. As the massage therapy and bodywork profession increasingly is used for medical and relaxation benefits, the role of the NCBTMB in this growth is prevalent. As with choosing any medical practitioner, consumers as well as practitioners understand that individuals who obtain National Certification possess the core knowledge and attributes necessary to perform at entry level, and are committed to the public interest by adhering to a stringent Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Nationally Certified Practitioners are also required to maintain competency through continued education.

'Massage therapy is one of the fastest growing segments of alternative medicine and with this comes an increased demand for qualified practitioners,' said Christine D. Niero, Ph.D., executive director of the NCBTMB. 'This is evidenced by the nearly 1,500 candidates taking the NCE each month. As more Americans come to understand the benefits of massage therapy and bodywork, it is increasingly important to have a certification body that provides consumers and employers with a national standard.'

For practitioners, holding the NCTMB credential increases the mobility of certificants and fosters uniform standards of professional practice and conduct. Currently 25 states and the District of Columbia recognize or utilize the NCE either in statute or in rule. The NCE is designed to test the knowledge required to perform the job of massage therapists and bodyworkers at an entry level. The exam is not designed to test only a specific modality(s), instead it covers the knowledge areas that are reflected in current practice.

Consumers are recognizing that the benefits of massage reach far beyond the fact that it feels good. In a study conducted by the NCBTMB last October, statistics on consumers attitudes about massage therapy reveal that 52% of the consumers questioned received massage therapy to relieve stress, while 36% received massage for rehabilitation from an injury (as part of an on-going medical treatment). A surprising 50% always or usually inquire about the practitioner's training, while 71% responded that the ethics of the practitioner is extremely/very important when choosing a massage therapist. Finally, most respondents, or 37%, responded that the most important thing to know before receiving massage is if the practitioner has a license or credential.

Consumers are increasingly seeking massage therapy for a variety of reasons including treatment of pregnancy, aging, cancer, asthma, arthritis, abuse, eating disorders, stress, animals and overall beauty. To find a Nationally Certified practitioner in their area, NCBTMB offers consumers an online database searchable by area and modality at

The NCBTMB is an independent, private, non-profit organization, founded in 1992, whose core purpose is to foster high standards for therapeutic massage and bodywork professionals and to advocate for the public acceptance of the value of these standards and the professionals who uphold them. Currently, there are over 50,000 Nationally Certified massage therapists and bodyworkers in United States. Additional information can be found at

Jason Thies, Marketing & Communications Manager
(203) 325 8772 ext. 23
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Heather McNulty (media)
Environics Communications
(703) 610-0236
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