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Massage Today
November, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 11

Open Hearts in Arizona

By Angie Patrick

The spirit of giving is alive and well in the beautiful state of Arizona. The 2008 American Massage Therapy Association National Convention, held in Phoenix this September, featured the third annual Sanctuary fundraiser to benefit the Massage Therapy Foundation.

The exhibit hall was alive with both seasoned therapists as well as those just learning massage. Seemingly everyone in attendance wanted to take a turn in one of the Sanctuary bays for a bit of relaxation and pampering.

The Sanctuary is a project that is designed to raise greater awareness of and funding for massage research. In essence, a mini spa is set up at the trade show and manned by volunteers. In this setting, various 10-minute treatments are performed for a $10 donation. The treatments span an array of protocols, including facial massage, as well as treatments designed specifically for the feet such as hot/cold contrast, Thai herbal balls, exfoliation and reflexology.

We were blessed by the talented hands of so many openhearted volunteers! Many established and well-recognized therapists from the Phoenix area graced the therapist chairs, as well as students from Apollo College. This fundraiser is designed to help each of them by furthering the acceptance of massage therapy and the quantification of the value of the therapy as a whole. It is an event designed truly for them and without whom the event would not be possible; it is further evidence of the symbiotic relationship we all share with one another.

Each of the bays opened was in full swing, rarely experiencing downtime. The popularity of this event is extraordinary and has shown marked growth each and every year. It proves unequivocally that people enjoy massage and therapists specifically crave the healing powers of bodywork, even while on a trade show floor.

One of the most exciting benefits of Sanctuary is the opportunity to sample products as they were intended to be used, rather than in passing while walking crowded aisles. At Sanctuary, the attendee can choose from any one of six protocols featuring products provided by Bon Vital, Soothing Touch, Performance Health, Sa-Wan, Unique Skin Care and TH Stone. They are given the unique opportunity to see and feel the products, not just from the perspective of the therapist but, almost more importantly, from the perspective of the client. This is a first, and it is proving to be more effective in the education and understanding of the benefits each of these wonderful products provides.

It isn't only the industry's leading manufacturers who were in the giving mood; two of the industry's largest media leaders took part in the event as well. We are proud to welcome Massage Today and Massage Magazine as event partners. Such distinguished sponsorship has certainly given Sanctuary a life of its own, and has helped the project raise more than $30,000 for research in the past three years.

Massage Warehouse is truly honored to be able to present Sanctuary, and we are proud of the success it has enjoyed. We have been both humbled and amazed at the tremendous generosity of not only the volunteers and event partners, but also the convention attendees. On numerous occasions, people have doubled or even tripled the requested donation amount because they know it is going to benefit their industry as a whole and help it become stronger. It is with my whole heart that I say thank you to all who have participated. For those who have yet to enjoy Sanctuary, look for us in 2009 at the FSMTA convention in Orlando, Fla., as well as the American Massage Therapy Association Convention, also in Orlando.

If you are a manufacturer or media outlet and would like to be a part of this worthwhile event in 2009, please contact me for information on sponsorship.

Click here for previous articles by Angie Patrick.


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