At nearly 5,000 members, the Florida State Massage therapy Association (FSMTA) has grown considerably since June 15, 1939 when it started with 85 charter members. Currently, the FSMTA has members living anywhere from the Florida/Alabama border in Escambia County to the tip of the Keys and even as far away as Australia. Since its inception, the FSMTA has been a leader in supporting and protecting those who have chosen or are choosing massage therapy as their profession.
In 1943, the Florida State Massage Law was passed by the state legislature. This law, as well as many of the rules and procedures that followed, was developed from annual meetings of the Florida State Massage Association (the original name of the FSMTA).
In 1945, committees on Ethics, Membership, Finance, and Constitution/Bylaws were formed to help the association protect massage therapists.
The FSMTA later found that it needed to have local chapters to help address some issues and education matters with its members. In the 1950s, the Dade chapter was formed; followed by the Jacksonville, Orlando and Palm Beach chapters. As FSMTA grew, other chapters were added including the Pinellas and Broward chapters. Educational programs were extended in 1953 to be held at chapter meetings and 8 hours of continuing education courses were incorporated into the Annual Convention.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Association remained active; but, the greatest period of growth and change was during the 1980s. At that time, the FSMTA became more centralized and grew to 14 chapters. In 1986 it was reincorporated as the Florida State Massage Therapy Association. That same year, the Massage Message Magazine, the official magazine of the FSMTA, was first published. Later, new committees were formed to help achieve the goals of the FSMTA. In 1988, the Insurance Committee made liability insurance available to FSMTA members while the Legislative Committee helped Chapter 480 become more responsive to the needs of therapists and the public. Also in 1988, the Educational Standards Committee was developed to work with the State of Florida, the FSMTA Annual Convention, and local chapters to provide continuing education programs. The last two committees formed in the late 1980s were the Sports Massage Team Committee, known throughout the state for its excellent service to athletes, and the Public Relations Committee, designed to actively promote the FSMTA and its members to the general public.
The 1990s brought more growth to the Association and so the FSMTA Central Office was established in the Orlando area to organize and consolidate the services of the Association and help it become more responsive to the needs of its members. In 2001, the FSMTA added its 19th chapter in the ongoing effort to serve its members efficiently and effectively.
Through our vision statement: “To Promote Public Awareness of Massage Therapy in Florida Through Education and Professionalism”, the FSMTA and its governing Board of Directors continue on a path of action and accomplishment. Our mission statement: “To Unify the Massage Therapy Profession While Creating, Representing, and Promoting Standards of Excellence in Health Care” validates the FSMTA’s promise to serve and protect the massage therapist in Florida.