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Massage Today
July, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 07

Heart Prints

By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB

I usually consider myself one of the luckiest men on the planet. I have a wonderful family, friends I enjoy spending time with, and a job I love. I enjoy my efforts to be a good son, husband, father, grandfather, etc.

I love being a friend as much as I like having friends. I also volunteer a lot of my time and talents to the massage therapy field, as my way of giving back to a profession that has been very good to me.

One of the perks that comes from a lot of volunteerism is the ability to take part in ceremonies recognizing success. One such ceremony I attended recently was the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the administration of the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. The black-tie event was held in Washington, DC and was enjoyed by almost 200 board, staff, volunteers and friends of the NCBTMB. The board announced that over 50,000 massage therapists and bodyworkers are now certified. Since the time I was honored to hold the chairman's gavel, the organization has continued to grow in importance and positively impact the profession. I've always considered my volunteer time with the NCBTMB to be among my most fulfilling endeavors.

Volunteerism is certainly important in all walks of life, but I think it especially so in the world of massage and bodywork. Unlike many other professions, massage therapy tends to be non-hierarchical. There are few large hiring organizations to provide leaders in the field. Volunteers who step forward to work for the good of many keep the heart in a profession now being put more and more into the control of those who do not do our work. Massage and bodywork volunteers are also crucial to the public, because it's the volunteers who understand what message should reach the public's ear.

Anyone who volunteers time and energy feels a certain joy from doing something for other people. Newspapers and other news media often give coverage to individuals receiving recognition for volunteer efforts. At a time of world crisis, the world calls for proponents of volunteerism to join together and rethink priorities and programs. Managers of civic volunteer programs and volunteers are challenged to take a big-picture approach: to see volunteerism as a powerful tool in reassessing values and activities and in building constructive relationships between individuals, organizations and cultures. As we know, volunteering provides us with the opportunity to take the initiative, have a voice and build community. Actions can be taken which focus attention on values and long-term goals that are important in our profession and in life.

For massage therapists, the different ways of helping others are as individual and varied as the therapists themselves: working in professional associations, educating the public, donating professional time in hospice and/or nursing homes, or just volunteering professional time at a teacher-appreciation day or similar activities. Volunteer efforts range from a full-blown coalition effort for state licensing of massage therapy, to a rose sale to raise funds for massage outreach. The spirit that shines through all of these events is of cooperation, of lending a hand, and of sheer joy in helping others through working together.

Some volunteerism quotes to stimulate you to action:

"Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. These actions shape and mold the present into a future of which we can all be proud."

-- Helen Dyer

"Volunteers don't necessarily have the time, but they have the heart."

-- Anonymous

"The measure of a life is not its duration, but its donation."

-- Peter Marshall

"Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation's compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another."

-- Erma Brombeck

"You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."


"The greatest good is what we do for others."

-- Mother Teresa

While checking the web for examples of volunteerism, I came across an ad for an individual who speaks to groups around the country. One of her topics was, "Volunteers leave heart prints: a moving and inspirational presentation on the concept of volunteerism." I don't know about you, but I like the idea of heart prints!

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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