Peter Cao, a Champion for Equity and Understanding: Massage is for EveryBody

Peter Cao, winner of ABMP's Massage is for EveryBody essay contest.

Peter Cao, a Champion for Equity and Understanding: Massage is for EveryBody

By Lisa Bakewell

Peter Cao was one of the winners of ABMP’s Massage is for EveryBody 2021 contest, and we wanted to share more of his story, which exemplifies the inclusive values of this campaign. Please join us in celebrating Peter!

Frustration with clinicians and a serendipitous appointment with a chiropractor inspired Peter Cao, of Lakewood, Colorado, to become a massage therapist. “I was in pretty bad shape a few years ago with a back injury,” he shares, “[and] most clinicians either put me in worse shape or could not offer me any information about my issue—besides going under a knife or prescriptions.” Massage was one of the few treatments that gave Cao relief, but it wasn’t until after a chiropractic appointment (ironically) that he decided a practice in massage therapy was in his future. It was this meeting with the chiropractor that had the most impact on Cao, inspiring him to join the massage and bodywork profession and “make a difference in how we approach helping each other.”

According to Cao, his chiropractor took great care conducting a detailed assessment to identify his pain triggers and mechanisms, which really made an impression. “[He] spent 4–5 hours with me, and no spinal manipulations were made,” he says. It was through this interaction with his chiropractor that Cao learned proper assessment and evaluation are keys to understanding the mechanism for people’s pain, which “can be in the form of orthopedic tests, correlating patient history to current problems, and obtaining a clear picture of the patient’s day-to-day life—and what factors contribute to their ailment.”

While attending massage school, Cao began volunteering at Inner City Health (ICH), in Denver, Colorado, where health equity for underserved and vulnerable populations is a primary focus. ICH works primarily with the underserved populations—“the uninsured, those with insufficient health insurance, veterans, and Medicaid/Medicare individuals or families,” Cao says. “In fact, more than half of the patients who walk through the doors are uninsured.”

Cao feels that financial and socioeconomic status play critical roles in health-care inequity and should never be determining factors to receiving massage therapy. And he is thrilled that the ability to pay for treatment is not a necessity to receive quality care at ICH. “More than 50 percent of patients (adults and children) are Hispanic. Caucasians and African Americans make up about 30 percent in a near equal split. For all of those who have fallen through the cracks in the health-care system, they are most welcome at ICH.” Cao views working with underserved populations a privilege. “I thoroughly enjoy and am passionate about helping anyone regardless of income level.”

Cao plans to continue his education with the Barral Institute and other similar institutions. “Their courses allow me to become the best version of my clinical self and further help all the clients and patients I see,” he says. “I will always find different places to volunteer my time and energy. The journey of mastering one’s craft is long, arduous, and rewarding.”


• Massage is for EveryBody is ABMP’s annual celebration of massage therapy and the philanthropic efforts of our members. Read more about the event, and the guiding principles that drive it:

• To read the winning essays from 2021’s Massage is for EveryBody celebration, go to


Trustpilot Reviews


Texas to Review Massage Rules—Submit Your Comments by May 30

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is reviewing the Massage Therapy Administrative Rules to determine whether they should be readopted, revised, or discontinued. You can submit comments on the rules or suggest changes by May 30, 2022.


Take Extra Care

Young Black woman with her eyes closed taking a deep breath.

Each time we experience a national tragedy, each time we share a collective pain, the treatment rooms of massage therapists and bodyworkers become even more of a sacred space. Remembering you may not know all that your client brings to the table is both essential and humbling.

Noriko Smith: Finding Life Through Oncology Massage

Noriko Smith, massage therapist and winner of ABMP's Massage is for EveryBody essay contest.

Noriko Smith was one of the winners of ABMP’s Massage is for EveryBody 2021 contest, and we wanted to share more of her story, which exemplifies the inclusive values of this campaign. Please join us in celebrating Noriko!


Read the May / June 2022 Issue of Massage & Bodywork Magazine

The May/June 2022 issue of ABMP's Massage & Bodywork magazine is available at ABMP members get a print subscription as part of membership, and the digital edition is available online and free to the profession.

In this issue, we explore pelvic tilt and spinal compensation, improving bodywork through breath, and how listening to your clients is a superpower. We also discuss SI joint dysfunction, overuse injuries, and much more!⁠

Cupping Canada Inc. and Mobile Massage Mastery GIVEAWAY: Value over $2,022!

Cupping Canada Inc. and Mobile Massage Mastery GIVEAWAY—value over $2,022!

3 lucky participants will win shared prizes:

• 16 CE live online Evidence Informed Clinical Cupping course from Cupping Canada & Cupping USA (NCBTMB approved & Canadian approvals) - valued at $405 CAD

• Online course starter kit, tie dye silicone drinking glass & silicone straw kit from Cupping Canada and Cupping USA - valued at $120 CAD

2022 ABMP CE Summit Course: Updating our Hands-On Approach

Learn about the properties of fascia and hands-on techniques for working with fascia in the leg. Join Til Luchau and Whitney Lowe for this engaging course that explores the composition and roles of fascia and collagen and demonstrates several myofascial hands-on techniques focused on the fascia in the leg and the sartorius, gracilis, semitendinosus, and pes anserinus muscles.

Please note: We have recently updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Learn more...