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Massage Today
February, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 02


By Lynda Solien-Wolfe, LMT


As vice president of the Ohio State Massotherapy Association, I would like some information on how you designed your state convention. We have never had a convention here, and would like some guidelines on how to go about it.

Any suggestions would be helpful.

- Linda in Ohio

Dear Linda,

I sent your question to Bob Smallwood, executive director of the Florida State Masssage Therapy Association (FSMTA). The FSMTA is known to put on one of the largest massage conventions in the U.S. Here is Bob's response to your question:

Having finished the FSMTA 2002 convention, we are working in earnest on our 2003, 2004 and 2005 conventions. Designing a convention is a time-consuming project; I am giving you only a brief outline. The first step is to organize a strong convention planning team. This team will layout the convention goals and objectives, then create an outline of the convention program, including educational classes, exhibitors, meetings and socials. Next, create a budget, considering all the costs and expenses incurred to hold the convention. These costs will include presenters expenses; a show decorator for exhibit hall, AV equipment rentals; food; and hotel and staff expenses. Convention income also must be projected to cover costs. Contract with a hotel/convention center and all the suppliers for convention services. Contact educational class presenters and arrange the class program.

Finalize all the details, then advertise, advertise and promote the convention. For a successful convention, planning could take one-to-two years, but believe, me it's well-worth the time and effort.

Bob can be reached at or 407-628-2772.


I work in a spa connected with a hotel in California. Around the holidays, we often see people who have imbibed alcohol and come in for a massage. Consumption varies, from a glass of wine an hour before, to a full-scale binge the night before or even earlier that same day.

Besides discussing how to handle highly intoxicated individuals, will you address spa/therapist (employee) liability, and how to deal with people who wish to use the jacuzzis, steam/sauna rooms, and massage therapy (for enjoyment or to detoxify)? If we smell alcohol on their breath, is that reason to automatically reschedule/cancel the massage? My colleagues have differing views on this subject.

- Inez from California

Dear Inez,

At our massage center, we have a policy not to massage intoxicated clients. We offer to reschedule them at a more appropriate time.

I contacted Darryll Leiman, spa director at the Elemis Spa at the Aladdin Resort Casino in Las Vegas, to explain how to deal with this type of situation in the spa setting:

As you can imagine, we get our fair share of intoxicated guests in Las Vegas. Alcohol and the heat from steam rooms, saunas and jacuzzis do not make a great combination. However it is all a question of degree. Obviously, we do not allow guests to carry an alcoholic drink into the spa. As obvious as that seems, many guests do not think twice about trying to enter the spa with a drink in hand.

Because Las Vegas is "Las Vegas," even spa staff (as is normally expected of bar staff) are required to carry a TAM (Techniques for Alcoholic Management) card. We believe it is up to the manager to make the final determination. The art is in letting the guest know delicately, politely but firmly if he or she appears too intoxicated to receive a spa treatment.

Lynda Solien-Wolfe is Vice President, Massage and Spa at Performance Health. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist and has been in private practice in Merritt Island, Florida for more than 20 years. Lynda graduated from Space Coast Health Institute in West Melbourne, FL.


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