What do I get out of volunteering my time and donating money to the Massage Therapy Foundation?


When I entered the massage therapy field in 2001, it was a time of huge growth in the profession … and I wanted to be a part of that. Part of being a part of the massage therapy profession has become, for me, education of my client and finding and creating value in what I do when I see each client and perform every session. For me, there always needs to be a goal – an outcome that benefits my client.

I found a place in my profession that is founded and operated by leaders, maintained by massage therapy professionals, and supported by our profession’s massage therapists, their clients, and the steward-corporations that move forward the building of the body of knowledge that we know as Massage Therapy in the United States today – the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF).


I found working with the MTF filled my need for our profession and industry to establish and grow a body of scientific knowledge about the effects of massage therapy on the human body and the positive applications of massage for addressing and improving health conditions that many of my clients experience regularly. I thought, “how can I assist in building this library of massage therapy research?” So, I joined in the effort to bolster the activities of the MTF through its fundraising efforts.

For about 10 years, I regularly volunteered with the fundraising arm of the foundation – most-recently, the Development and Marketing Committee – in delivering the excitement of the Mission of the MTF: to advance the knowledge and practice of massage therapy by supporting scientific research, education, and community service and encouraging donors continue to assist the foundation in their mission.


My most-rewarding achievement for my individual-fundraising efforts for the MTF was when I applied for and was selected to partner with Massage Warehouse to run in the 2016 Boston Marathon to raise awareness and funds for the MTF under John Hancock’s Non-Profit Marathon Program. The honor of running in the Boston Marathon (without Boston-Qualifying!) with my #TeamMTF (Marcy Cook and Nicole Bucar) and about 2,000 other fundraisers [for their non-profit organizations] came also with heightened responsibility: to regularly ask my circle of friends, family, and colleagues to support the organization that I love and in which I believed in wholly as a cornerstone of the massage therapy profession in providing critical information that brings efficacy to the healthcare field as to what we do and how it positively impacts human physiology. My goal was not only completing the 26.2-mile, world-famous Boston Marathon, but also to touch donors with a goal of fundraising $10,000+ … a goal each of my team members and I eventually reached and exceeded. The community service and research grants for which we raised awareness for and money to fund them are just a couple of the [very important!] things that the MTF provides the public as a 501c3 organization.

Personally, I not only grew in physical health, but also grew as a professional – asking, thanking, and updating all my family, friends, and colleagues with the information that, with their support, continues to change and grow a profession. I learned that it’s not just one time that makes a donor ‘support’ a cause – it is a lifetime of support, large or small, that continues to support the Mission and the growth of the research database, community outreach, and educational programs that the MTF creates and mediates for massage therapy to stay relevant and cutting-edge.


I still learn so much about massage therapy through reading the free-access International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (IJTMB) and use it in my practice. I have also learned a lot in the short space of each of the hundreds of research posters presented by the MTF annually and in the case reports that the Foundation publishes and in the video blog/podcast Research Perch. I also continue to learn about how to create value in a service that moves people to use that service and support grant-funding – both community service and research granting. I hope to attend the foundation’s International Massage Therapy Research Conference


Considering all these Whys, there is yet one BIG reason that I spent my time (aka ‘volunteered’) with the Massage Therapy Foundation – it’s the people: the passionate ones with whom I worked at the MTF, the compassionate ones who contribute to the body of knowledge and donate funds, the professionals who find use for and educate their local and healthcare communities, and the clients-in-need – whether they know it (yet!) or not – who benefit from the information and services that the Massage Therapy Foundation provides for over 30 years.


If you’d like to find out how you can donate your time and talent, please contact the Massage Therapy Foundation, directly, through the Volunteer page on their website.

David J Otto, LMT BCTMB operates Hands In Motion in Las Vegas, Nevada, since 2003, assisting his clients achieve their wellness goals using massage therapy. He also volunteers with the AMTA’s Nevada Chapter. When he’s not working with his clients, you can find David running on the city streets, training for his next big race.