Dipl. A.B.T. (NCCAOM)
Diplomate of Asian Bodywork Therapy
Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) is the treatment of the human body/mind/spirit, including the electromagnetic or energetic field, which surrounds, infuses and brings that body to life, by pressure and/or manipulation.
A Diplomate of Asian Bodywork Therapy is a practitioner who is certified by the NCCAOM. It is a considerable professional achievement to earn the designation Diplomate of Asian Bodywork (NCCAOM). NCCAOM certification indicates to employers, patients, and peers that one has met national standards for the safe and competent practice of Asian Bodywork Therapy as defined by the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession. National board certification in Asian Bodywork Therapy has been the mark of excellence in AOM since the ABT program was introduced in 1999. Every certified NCCAOM Diplomate must abide by the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics.
Diplomates of ABT go through extensive training before they can achieve national certification. This training includes hundreds of hours of comprehensive education as well as additional specific training in ABT techniques. They must complete 500 hours of basic Asian bodywork therapy education from formal full-time schools, formal programs and courses in order to sit for the NCCAOM ABT Certification Examination. The required 500 hour education includes practical and theoretical training of which 160 hours relate specifically to ABT techniques. The remaining theoretical hours that are not ABT-specific consist of Allopathic Anatomy, Physiology, Oriental Medical Theory, First-Aid, CPR and Ethics. In addition, Diplomates of ABT must demonstrate competency in the area of clinical education (observation, internship or treatment hours). Certified (and licensed) Asian bodywork therapists are also trained in standard medical history gathering, safety, and ethics, and recognition of when to refer patients to other healthcare professionals or consult with other medical practitioners.
According to the United States Department of Education, massage therapy/therapeutic massage is different from Asian Bodywork Therapy. Massage therapy is defined as a way to provide relief and improved health and well-being through the application of manual techniques for manipulating skin, muscles and connective tissues. ABT is defined as a way to provide relief and improved health and well-being based on Chinese medical principles through one or more of the traditional bodywork therapies of Asia.
To choose an ABT therapist, the credentials to look for include:
- Diplomate of Asian Bodywork Therapy or Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM)
- State or local license, certification/registration, as required
- Find a Diplomate of ABT by going to the Find a Practitioner Directory
Resources for Certification
- Council of Schools and Programs for ABT
- Get information about ABT from the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia
- ABT Frequently Asked Questions
- NCCAOM ABT Certification Handbook
- Asian Bodywork Therapy exam expanded content outline
- State Licensure Requirements
- NCCAOM Eligibility Requirements