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Massage Today
January, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 01

A New Year's Potpourri

By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB

Many things have piqued my interest in the past month. In this month's column, I'll touch on a few of the more important topics, in the hopes that I can stimulate some input from readers.

First, I'd like to bring to everyone's attention the fact that this issue of Massage Today is an "anniversary" issue! To be precise, this is the first issue in Massage Today's third year of existence.

I am proud to be associated with a publication that has filled a need in the massage and bodywork world, and which has grown to become the most frequently read publication in the field.

Did you know that an independent research firm (Research USA, Inc.) reported that Massage Today has more than twice the regular readership of the next two publications combined? I found the survey fascinating. If Massage Today has the largest readership in the country, certainly its readership demographics reveal a great deal about therapists in the United States.

The results surprised me. The survey respondents (results were projectable within a range of ±4.4%) had completed an average of 726 hours of initial massage therapy education. Two-thirds belonged to one or more national massage therapy associations. They have been in practice for an average of 7.5 years. Almost 94% are state-regulated, but less than one-third are nationally certified. Almost half consider themselves full-time practitioners. The average age is 42.4 years.

How do you compare to our "composite reader?"

I thank everyone who reads the articles, industry news, and finds the publication useful in practice. I also thank Massage Today's publisher, Donald Petersen Jr., for having the vision to see that a publication in Massage Today's format would be so well-accepted in our industry. We all owe thanks to the distinguished columnists and to the editorial staff, graphics department, advertising sales staff, etc., who actually produce Massage Today so that we can enjoy and benefit from its contents.

I look forward to a long association with Massage Today, and am pleased that you help us to continually improve it with your comments and suggestions!

A second topic of interest is the December issue of magazine. This magazine purports to analyze trends in beauty. Its articles stress information on fitness; health; nutrition; travel; design; fragrance; food; fashion; literature; film; art; and theater. The December issue also encouraged readers to look for sex from their massage therapist! I find that about as acceptable as Trent Lott's remarks at Strom Thurmond's birthday party! AMTA's Web site indicates that they have already taken a positive action in informing the magazine of its error.

AMTA President Brenda Griffith sent the following letter:

Linda Wells, Editor in Chief
4 Times Square, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10036-6522

Dear Ms. Wells:

On behalf of our 46,000 massage therapist members, I strenuously object to your portrayal of massage therapists and massage therapy in your December article, "The Happy Massage". Our members are outraged that you would imply that male massage therapists routinely cross their professional boundaries and violate their code of ethics, let alone the law.

Professional massage therapists are hard-working people in health care and wellness, who help relieve stress and aid healing. Your article misrepresents the profession and its practitioners and promotes a misguided perception that massage should be sexual in nature. Worse still is the author's encouragement to women to go find a good-looking male massage therapist and solicit sex from him. This is no more acceptable than it would be to encourage men to solicit female massage therapy professionals for sex.

The sidebar accompanying the article makes some good points about appropriate behavior by a massage therapist. It stands in stark contrast to the pandering article it accompanies.

The vast majority of Americans understand that massage is of benefit to their health. You owe massage therapists and the entire massage therapy profession, as well as your readers, an apology for promoting massage therapy as a form of prostitution.


Brenda L. Griffith President

I would encourage Massage Today readers to convey their discontent in likewise fashion!

Finally, I'd like to extend my thanks to Bob Benson, president of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP). In the current member newsletter, he announced the development of a legislative document outlining the organization's core legislative principles. The document is intended for use in those states in which it has been determined, by consensus, that regulation is appropriate. The eight principles were developed as a frame of reference for the organization when evaluating legislative activity. In essence, the principles state what elements (and how they are defined) are critical to any legislative activity. These eight core elements in massage and bodywork legislation are:

  • pre-emption of local licensing rules;
  • educational requirements;
  • institutional educational approval process;
  • grandfathering;
  • reciprocity;
  • modality exclusions/exemptions;
  • board composition/powers; and
  • examination/temporary licensure.

I am delighted to see a concise, defined listing of core values from an association. I have some personal reservations with a few of the specific topic areas associated with the elements; however, I hope the document will allow people to be more informed when supporting or interfering with the passage of legislative efforts - which in turn will contribute to more useful and intelligently written bills.

Thanks for listening! (And I hope you're maintaining those New Year's resolutions!)

Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue. 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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