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Massage Today
September, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 09

From the Editor's Desk: Professional Travel

By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB

It felt odd last month to miss submitting an editorial, even though it provided Rebecca Razo with an opportunity to get her ideas expressed in Massage Today. It feels even odder knowing that she has now moved on from her managing editor position with Massage Today to another editing opportunity.

I know how much she will be missed by those of you who interacted with her over the past several years. I know that I will certainly miss her, as she did most of the work that you all gave me credit for doing! I also know that Kathryn Feather, who has been hired to replace Rebecca, will learn quickly and that America's most-read massage trade publication will still get to you without missing a beat.

Perhaps it's because I hail from New Hampshire, a state best known for its winter sports opportunities and snowy scenery, that I love summer so much. It's hard to drag me out of the state in the summer because I hate to miss any of the glorious weather. As a matter of fact, I am writing this on my laptop, sitting on the coast. As I look up from my chair, I see children scampering on the seaweed-covered rocks on the shore. Farther out, I see powerboats and sailboats jauntily passing the picturesque lighthouse. The occasional screech of a seagull comes from the blue sky with cirrus clouds overhead. As I said, it's hard to drag me away in the summer!

Since you last heard from me though, I have actually made two trips out of New England. I attended a chair massage conference in Toronto (see article on front page) and the annual convention of the Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA) in Boca Raton, Florida. As much as I love being here, both events were well-worth the time away!

I think the FSMTA convention is one of my favorite annual events. It certainly is the most largely attended massage event in the United States. I've mentioned before in my editorials how much I enjoy attending conferences and conventions, and how important I think they are to practitioners and the profession. While most allow you to share experiences with hundreds of your peers, the FSMTA convention allows you to share those experiences with thousands of your peers! It's at least three times as large as most state or regional conferences/conventions, and therefore draws the best presenters for continuing education on a national scale. This year was certainly no exception, with names such as Bruno and Alaya Chikly, Erik Dalton, David Kent, Vivian Madison-Mahoney, Tom Myers and James Waslaski conducting continuing education workshops. At least 10 workshops were held concurrently, so the choices were many and varied, to meet the interests and needs of all attendees.

Continuing education was not the only activity of note. A concurrent trade show, featuring more than 60 companies and organizations that supply or serve the massage field, filled the exhibit hall with interesting products, information and educational offerings. Since this is such a large event, new products are rolled out routinely here. I overheard several excited discussions from groups of therapists speculating on additional uses for a new massager that allows a practitioner to work over clothing with the effectiveness normally available only on lubricated skin. Several of the exhibitors added microphoned presenters to their booths to demonstrate how particular products could be most effectively used by practitioners. I saw this trend with vendors marketing spa products, topical analgesics, massage tables and chairs, and therapeutic taping. The exhibit hall was the place to meet others and socialize.

One of the convention highlights for me was hearing the keynote speech by Rolf Elmstrom. From Sweden, Rolf is a former electronic engineer who changed his career in the early 80s, becoming a chiropractor and then a teacher at the Axelsons Institute in Stockholm. Axelsons is the largest and most renowned school for manual medicine and touch therapies in Scandinavia, with more than 6,000 students every year. Rolf spoke to attendees about "Peaceful Touch," a program designed to get schoolchildren to use safe touch to help each other. When asked about the program, he said, "It was heartening that so many people showed great interest in our Peaceful Touch program. We really, really hope that it can get going in the States as well. The children need to be touched; it is one of our most basic needs. I hate to see us, grown up, creating laws and regulation so that touch no longer can be natural. I strongly think that this needs to be changed; otherwise the entire society will regret that sooner or later."

Mike McGillicuddy, FSMTA president, is determined to assist in spreading this program throughout the United States. I am hoping in the very near future to write more about the Peaceful Touch program and its implications, as well as its chances for success here in the United States.

Professional travel for me usually involves a conference, convention or symposium. I highly recommend these events to all massage therapists. I know of no other venues that provide as much "bang for the buck," as much fun, as much socializing with peers and as much actual professional growth. If you can't afford the time or the money to register for an entire conference, at least try to get to a trade show associated with one of the conferences. It's all tax deductible! If you aren't sure how to find out about a conference near you, most advertise in Massage Today. Check with your national or state professional associations. I am familiar with several outstanding events in addition to the FSMTA convention: The American Massage Therapy Association holds an annual convention in a different location throughout the United States each year; the California Massage Therapy Association holds an annual conference that alternates between northern and southern California; the AMTA New England Regional Conference is held each March in Massachusetts; and the Worlds of Wellness Advanced Integrated Care Conference is held in late fall each year for the mid-Atlantic region. There are many more, so keep looking until you find one that suits your particular needs.

Enough for now ... the sun is high, the spinnakers are billowing, and I think I smell burgers and hot dogs on the grill. Isn't summer grand?

Thanks for listening!

Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters related to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue or online. Please send all correspondence by e-mail to , or by regular mail to:

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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