ACIH = Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health, the "Collaborative"
HBMT = hospital-based massage therapy
MT = massage therapy
The Collaborative (ACIH) has announced hospital-based massage practice standards this week. ACIH represents national integrative health and medicine organizations, universities, colleges and programs. ACIH's mission is to "enhance health by cultivating partnerships and advancing inter-professional education and collaborative practice".
What is the Collaborative's definition of Hospital-based massage therapy competencies?
"competencies define what a massage therapist should know and be able to do to practice safely and effectively in a hospital setting."
Why develop these competencies?
"HBMT competencies was led by an ...ACIH task force [which was] formed because its members saw first-hand what could happen when hospitals aren't informed about how to practice in hospital settings."
"HBMT specific competencies developed by the ACIH HBMT task force with input from approximately 40 individuals associated with HBMT programs. These competencies include some of the ACIH Competencies most relevant to HBMT and additional competencies that specifically address practical issues relevant to HBMT practice."
Who benefits from these competencies?
"The HBMT competencies are designed to be useful to hospitals, massage therapists, and MT educators."
The facility: "HBMT specific competencies help with hiring, working with, and evaluating MT staff."
The practitioner: these "competencies can serve as a tool to inform you of the skills needed to practice in the hospital environment and inform your scope of practice."
The MT educator: "competencies serve as guidelines for curriculum development and can provide topics for CE courses about working in a hospital environment."
Share the HBMT Competencies
The ACIH HBMT Task Force requests these competencies are shared broadly and that you let them know how you are using them or how you envision using them in the future.
"We are tracking how and where the HBMT competencies are being used, and would greatly appreciate hearing about your experiences with them."
Who are the ACIH HBMT Task Force Members?
MK Brennan, RN, MS, LMBT
Dale Healey DC, PhD
Carolyn Tague, MA, CMT
Beth Rosenthal, MPH, MBA, PhD
Where you can find the HBMT competencies
- The ACIH "Publications" page, titled
- ACIH Hospital Based Massage Therapy (HBMT) Competencies for Optimal Practice in Integrated Environments
- For how these competencies were developed, visit
- Hospital Based Massage Therapy (HBMT) Competencies Discussion (September 2016),
- This is a YouTube video.
- Hospital Based Massage Therapy (HBMT) Task Force Presentation (September 2016)
- This is a YouTube video of the presentation
- Hospital Based Massage Therapy,
- this is a link to an image of the research poster
Massage Therapy Evidence Map article, 2019
- Massage for Pain: an Evidence Map, published online ahead of print, JACM, published 5.9.2019.
Other ACIH publications you may be familiar with:
- Clinicians' Desk Reference on Integrative Health and Medicine Professions, 2017
- The Moving Beyond Medications infographic, 2017. We have done several blogposts referencing this.
- Credentialing Licensed Acupuncturists in Healthcare Organizations, a Guide for Administrators, 2016. Now a bit outdated with the release of the BLS Code. Please see the new Standard Occupational Code publication (Jan 2018) and the VA Staffing Position (related code creation), Feb 2018.
- Never Only Opioids, 2014
Learn more about ACIH at their website.