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Massage Today
May, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 05

News In Brief

By Editorial Staff

COMTA Executive Director Announces Retirement

Carole Ostendorf, executive director of the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA), has announced she will retire this summer.

Ostendorf, who has been with COMTA for the last five years, is expected to leave her post in June.

"My time with COMTA has provided an opportunity to learn, to meet many passionate and committed individuals in the field of massage therapy and bodywork, and to share their vision for the field," said Ostendorf in a COMTA press release. "It has been a privilege to participate in the development of educational standards within this developing profession."

Under Ostendorf's leadership, COMTA received U.S. Department of Education (USDE) recognition as the only agency to accredit massage and bodywork educational institutions. Ostendorf's departure will coincide with the commission's June 2004 USDE-recognition renewal hearing in Washington, D.C. COMTA is currently seeking to fill open positions. For information, visit

Historical Massage Museum Debuts in Washington

After 20 years in development, the World of Massage Museum (WOMM) officially opened its doors April 2-3 in Spokane, Wash.

The WOMM, created from the private collection of artifacts by Massage Magazine publisher Robert Calvert and his wife, Judi, will include 6,000 square feet of exhibits, including prints, paintings and drawings; massage tables and chairs; liniments; body rollers; instructional aids; and a library. Among the collection of items is a 1,000-year-old jade massage knuckle from China, and a massage couch, circa 1885.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday and has a store with various massage supplies available for purchase. Visit for more information.

New Leadership in NCBTMB's Future

As of April 5, Christine Niero, PhD, officially resigned her position as executive director for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Niero served as executive director for seven years during which time the NCBTMB received accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

"Christine has been a true asset to this organization," said NCBTMB Chair, Garnet Adair. "We understand her desire to pursue other opportunities in the credentialing arena, and we wish her nothing but the best."

According to one insider, the current NCBTMB system is "thought by many to be less than user friendly; many in the professional massage industry hope that this change in senior staff represents a new era in the relationship NCBTMB has with its certificants and stakeholders."

William Stoehs, a public member on the board, has been named to chair the executive director search committee. In the interim, Susan Nicolais will act as NCBTMB's primary contact.

A Life of Organized Crime? Fuhgeddaboudit! Former "Mobster" Pursues Career in Massage Therapy

Steve Buscemi - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Only time will tell if Tony Blundetto, played by actor Steve Buscemi, above, will stay on the straight path to massage therapy.
[Photo courtesy of Abbot Genser/HBO]
If it's true that any publicity is good publicity, then the "hits" scored by the massage therapy profession on the March 14 and April 4 episodes of the HBO crime/drama series, "The Sopranos," should fare better than "a rat in The Program" (Translation: a snitch in the Witness Protection Program).

After 15 years behind bars, Tony Blundetto is out and ready to make a new life for himself. "I got my associate's degree already," he tells his mob-boss cousin, Tony Soprano, over breakfast. "Took me five years," he continues. "And now like only six months more for my massage license." "So you wanna run a massage parlor?" Soprano grunts.

But Blundetto, played by actor Steve Buscemi, is unmoved. Newly indoctrinated into the culture of bodywork, he soberly informs "Big T" that he fully intends to play it straight by becoming a "licensed massage therapist." Later in the same episode, Blundetto whips out his massage chair to practice his technique on some of Soprano's crew.

And massage was referenced again in the April 4 episode: Blundetto, clearly up on his physiology studies, questions a medical doctor about the injuries of a friend involved in a car accident. Impressed by his knowledge, the doctor asks, "Are you a physician?" "No," Blundetto replies matter-of-factly, "I'm a pre-board certified massage therapist."

No word yet on whether Blundetto will join the AMTA or ABMP.

Nothing to Get Stressed About

Massage therapist Michael De Feo displays his Portable Tension and Stress Detector. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Massage therapist Michael De Feo displays his Portable Tension and Stress Detector. Massage therapists know stress - they see it manifested in the bodies of their clients every day in the form of pain, headaches and hypertension. Left untreated - or worse, undetected - stress can have lasting physical and emotional consequences. Believing the key to combating stress lies in its immediate detection, New York massage therapist Michael De Feo invented the Portable Tension and Stress Detector, a battery-operated device about the size of a cell phone that warns users with a low audible sound when stress levels in the body begin to rise. The device is small enough to fit into a pocket or handbag.

Users attach one to three of the device's electrodes to any muscle group in the body that holds stress, such as the neck or shoulder muscles. The electrodes monitor the electrical impulses from the nerves in the muscle group; when tension in those muscles exceeds the preset level, the device notifies the user. Users can then make conscious efforts to lower their stress levels through deep breathing, imagery, or meditation techniques.

De Feo affirms that over time, use of the Portable Tension and Stress Detector will teach users to stop the stress before it even starts. "It teaches people how to stay calm," he said in an interview with The Journal News. "After using it for awhile, you don't need to use it anymore because you get to know how to stay in a relaxed state."1

De Feo, who is searching for a manufacturer for the device, is currently working with an engineer on a wireless version. For more information, contact Michael De Feo at 914-967-7369.


  1. Klingbeil, Abigail. "It knows when you're stressing." Oct. 2, 2003.


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