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Massage Today
March, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 03

Recognition, Part II

By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB

Last month, I talked about the importance of recognition in our profession. I am expanding on that topic this month, including making a plea to recognize members of the "other side" of our business.

The "other side" I refer to is the suppliers of the products and tools we use to do our jobs: the manufacturers of tables and chairs; the pressers of oils and esters; the purveyors of pain relievers; the stitchers of linens and apparel; and the authors, educators, insurers, resellers and product developers that allow us to feel secure in our capabilities, and make our clients and patients delighted to visit our treatment rooms.

I have at times overheard what I would characterize as a "soft disdain" for the massage profession's suppliers.

I'm not sure why, but it's almost as if a number of massage therapists resent businesses that make money. I hope you don't feel that way, because we all owe a large debt of gratitude to our suppliers. Not only are they there when we need them, several invest part of their profits back into our industry, making it a better place for all of us!

Industry suppliers play a large part in the success of the conventions, conferences and trade shows held around the country. Their purchase of exhibit space is an important revenue source for the sponsoring organizations. Many exhibitors don't stop at renting floor space in the hall, though; they also sponsor the costs associated with bringing in keynote speakers, or cover the expenses associated with event banquets and social activities. Many also donate products, services or educational workshops to raffles and drawings, and see that attendees get product samples or mementos and information useful to massage therapists.

Industry suppliers also play a large part in the information you have at your fingertips. All of the primary massage and bodyworks trade publications in the U.S. are supported by advertising. Massage Today is no exception; in fact, it is the only massage publication without subscription revenues to supplement advertising.

Industry support by industry suppliers is not a new concept; it has long been the norm in the chiropractic and athletic training world. Suppliers in those fields support the schools and trade shows heavily. It is a much newer occurrence in massage therapy. We are just now reaching the critical mass by which companies can profit enough to reinvest in our industry. Some suppliers go beyond the norm in industry support and deserve special recognition. Two examples follow:

  1. A leading provider of massage lubricants for massage therapy, health and spa professionals recently announced its contribution of $50,000 to the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami. The contribution will fund a research study on the effects of massage therapy for enhancing immune function in breast cancer patients. The contribution was made as part of an annual charitable program to support organizations advancing the knowledge, research and use of massage therapy in the prevention and treatment of major health care issues.
  2. One of Massage Today's distinguished columnists is a principal in a company that manufactures and distributes pain-relieving products to, among others, the massage therapy industry. This company regularly supports associations in New York, Texas and Florida, as well as research foundations, with more than $75,000 in cash and product. The checks come with "no strings attached" and are altruistically given to the organizations to use as they see fit, to provide an environment of growth for the industry as a whole.

I would really love to see the "soft disdain" I mentioned earlier go away! Our suppliers need to be recognized and appreciated for being there when we need them. When you learn that a company has reinvested their profits back into our industry, I ask you to express your thanks in a special way ... by buying its products! Make the products available to your patients and clients; after all, a company can only reinvest profits if there are profits to reinvest!

I end by offering my thanks those companies that participate and do give back, and encouraging more companies to look for ways to reinvest in massage therapy. I especially thank those suppliers who see reinvesting as an obligation to keeping our profession healthy.

Thanks for listening!

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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