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Massage Today
June, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 06

San Francisco Hosts Touch Therapy Exposition

By Editorial Staff

The second Anatriptic Arts Expo was held at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, May 3-5, 2002. The expo was hosted by Massage Magazine, the only independent massage therapy and bodywork publication other than Massage Today.

The word anatriptic is the adjective form of the ancient Greek word anatripsis, which literally translated, means "to rub up." The word's origins date from the time of Hippocrates.

The expo staff defined Anatriptic Arts Expo as "an exposition of touch therapy arts." Robert Calvert, producer of the Anatriptic Arts Expo, supported by Massage Magazine and its allied organizations, the SpaMassage Alliance and the World of Massage Museum (WOMM), designed the expo as a gathering of the profession's top educators, the industry's leading suppliers of goods, and touch therapy practitioners and consumers.

The event's presenters included: John Barnes, PT - Myofascial Release; Solveig Berggren - Massage for Peace in Schools; Erik Dalton, PhD - Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques; the Esalen Massage Team - Esalen Massage; Peggy Farlow, MspEd - Touch to TEACH; Barry Green, PhD - Body Mind Massage; Paul Herb - Contact Kinetic Art; Lolita Knight - Fijian Massage; Dolores Krieger, PhD - Therapeutic Touch; David Palmer - TouchPro Chair Massage; Elaine Stillerman - MotherMassage®; and Shizuko Yamamoto and Patrick McCarty - Macrobiotic/Barefoot Shiatsu. For attending practitioners, it was also more than worth the eight-dollar price of admission to see the collection of massage objects and materials displayed by the World of Massage Museum (WOMM). The early examples of massage tables and electric devices were a delight to view.

Within an hour of the official opening of the 2002 expo, Robert Calvert told Massage Today Editor Cliff Korn that he had promoted the 2002 expo much more than the 1992 expo, and was expecting a much greater turnout. As time passed, however, it became apparent that attendance was much less than desired. Interviews with exhibitors provided estimates of less than 1,000 attendees over the three-day expo. As the costs to exhibit at the Anatriptic Expo were reportedly much higher than other trade events, there was some expected grumbling, reminiscent of the failed High Tech/High Touch tour of the early 1990s. One exhibitor suggested that the focus of the event was unclear, and that potential visitors might not be sure if it was designed for the trade or for the public.

The first Anatriptic Arts Expo was held in the same location almost 10 years to the day prior to the 2002 expo. In 1992, expo presenters included: Aunty Margaret Machado - Hawaiian Lomilomi; John Upledger, DO - Craniosacral Therapy; John Thie, DC - Touch for Health; Joseph Heller - Hellerwork; Rick Gold, PhD - Thailand Massage; Paul St. John - Neuromuscular Therapy; David Palmer - On-site Massage; Zhenya Kurashova - Wine, Russian Sports Massage; Kay Rive - Aromatherapy and Reflexology; Greg Irwin - Finger Fitness; Cherie Sohnen-Moe - Business Mastery; and Toru Namikoshi - Shiatsu for Health. Expo 2002 producers indicated that the 1992 expo reported attendance of more than 12,000 visitors, representing more than a dozen countries and 65 exhibitors.

It was truly unfortunate that the turnout for this year's event was so low. Approximately 50 exhibitors from across the country invested resources and traveled to San Francisco for the event. The potential for success was high, but exhibitors were concerned about the effectiveness of the event promotion. Some went so far as to call local massage therapists to ask if they were going to attend, and found that many were unaware of this national event being held in their own backyard!

Though the expo may have been viewed as a missed opportunity for professionals, it did seem to have a positive effect on the public. Some were heard to say that they were delighted to find useful information on so many types of hands-on therapies in one place, "with no lines!" As Massage Magazine is one of the few entities in the profession with the clout, recognition and resources to organize an event such as the Anatriptic Arts Expo, one hopes that efforts will be redoubled to promote another event designed to educate the public about the various types of massage and bodywork available.


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