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Massage Today
August, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 08

Joining Together

By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB

I hate beginning a column with an apology, but a short one seems warranted. Massage Today is designed to be an impartial industry forum, and it has been brought to my attention that it was beginning to appear as a partisan internal forum.

In addition to the usual great information provided by our distinguished columnists, editorial space in the last two issues of Massage Today was devoted to topics/issues that, in my opinion, were misleading to readers. Even if factually correct, some of the statements made had a "spin" associated with them that I found problematic. It's easy to make excuses for how or why this happened - ever-present publishing deadlines; overenthusiastic staff; poor communication; etc., but I'd rather talk about actions than excuses. For the present, to avoid the perception of fanning flames, the publisher of Massage Today and I have agreed to limit comparisons between various associations' and other entities' benefits, policies, etc. I have also asked to have a future issue cover the recent article on choices in liability insurance in greater depth. I did not have an opportunity to see the article before the press deadline, and found that the "apples to oranges" comparisons left out important information needed to make such important choices. I hope no one made any changes in their coverage based upon that article. It is my intent to correct that error.

In the very first issue of Massage Today, I said, "I'm hoping to enable Massage Today to become a bridge empowering all our perspectives and a tool we can all use to meet our personal, professional and business goals." I want to stay on that track! If you find inequities or impartiality in Massage Today reporting of news, please call us to task.

We now return to the editor's column, already in progress...

In the past several years, I've gotten "ho-hum" about many things in the world of massage therapy and bodywork. I thought I'd seen it all. This "there's nothing new under the sun" attitude prevailed as the same products and techniques were named, renamed and marched out before us; trumpets blaring as claims of 'new and improved" were rivaled only by soap and tooth paste manufacturers. But it only takes a stroll through the aisles of a conference or convention exhibit hall to reaffirm that there is substantial innovation in our field, if we take the time to look! I don't know about you, but I love attending conventions. If you're not a regular convention attendee, you might be surprised to know that you don't have to be a member of an association to take advantage of a convention. This issue of Massage Today has a story about the recent Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA) convention (See "Good Times in Orlando at FSMTA Convention" at, and another story about the upcoming American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) national convention in Quebec City. (See "AMTA Heads to Quebec: 2001 Convention Preview" at We will soon have a story on the upcoming convention of the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA). In the past several years, I have attended national conventions all over the country; regional conventions in New England and the Midwest; state conventions in Florida, California and Texas; and the International Spa Association convention. Next year, I hope to attend Massage Magazine's Anatriptic Arts Expo, and the convention of the Canadian Association of Massage Therapists and Wholistic Practitioners. Did I mention that I love attending conventions?

Convention exhibit halls are the cores of these get-togethers. Vendors offer all kinds of products and services to enable massage therapists and bodyworkers to do their jobs better. This is where innovations are made available for trial and evaluation. In exhibit halls at the last several conventions, I have been amazed by smokeless candles, and also by candle replacements that glow with the warmth of a fireplace; by electric lift massage table that bend in the middle so that your client can rest in flexion or extension; and electric lift tables comprised of mini waterbeds, such that your client "floats" without need of bolstering; by continuing education conducted at sea on a cruise ship; and by continuing education about bioaquatic exploration and ocean therapy. I've also been pleased to see business software packages customized for our practices, and web page hosting and design offerings. Also useful are the many booths offering massage tools;, videos; music; apparel; oils; lotions and emollients; reference texts; and so much more. There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained just by walking the aisles of an exhibit hall.

Conventions are also a great place to get some top-notch education from nationally and internationally renowned presenters. It's the continuing education that many allow you to write the cost of convention attendance off on your income tax. (Please confer with your accountant or tax advisor!)

An association hosting a convention will frequently have business meetings and/or elections held in conjunction with the event. If you have an interest in associations and how they work, you should stick your nose into some of those meetings to see how decisions are made that might affect you or your practice.

For me, the best thing about attending conventions is the opportunity to socialize with my peers. I love catching up with old friends from distant locations, and meeting new ones because of shared experiences. As massage therapists and bodyworkers, we have extensive interaction with our clients, but little with our peers. As example, I work with five other massage therapists in a clinic; four of us are present during any workday. There have been many days when I have heard the others in the hallway or in their treatment rooms, but never actually saw or spoke to anyone other than my clients. Bumping into a co-worker at the sink while washing my hands is as in-depth as most encounters go! Conventions allow me to have quality conversations with many others who share my business problems and successes, and have many of the same goals. It's quite empowering. We massage therapists and bodyworkers are a diverse lot, but conventions allow us to join together -- to learn, to experience, to bond and to laugh. I hope I see you at one soon!

Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue of Massage Today. Please send all correspondence by e-mail to , or by regular mail to the address listed below:

Massage Today
P.O. Box 4139
Huntington Beach, CA 92605

Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.


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