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Massage Today
July 1, 2011

FSMTA Draws Large Crowd to Orlando

Education was a strong theme at the 2011 Florida State Massage Therapy Association convention in Orlando on June 22-26, an event that attracted hundreds and nearly 90 vendors.

And, as has become a tradition at major conventions, a large majority of attendees participated in Massage Today's raffles by picking up and wearing our now-famous "Have You Had Your Massage Today" T-shirts.

During both the Friday and Saturday night drawings, massive crowds wearing the T-shirts, were delighted when the raffle drawing winners both gave $200 of their $500 grand prizes back so that two other people could also win cash.

Keynote speaker Marilyn Allen, discussed the importance of massage practitioners becoming more closely aligned with the medical profession and alternative health care providers as the new federal health care reform law begins to take hold.

Marilyn Allen - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Marilyn Allen gave the keynote address at the 2011 FSMTA convention. Getting there is going to require higher educational attainment by therapists, and the FSMTA provided ample opportunity with a huge agenda of classes for attendees seeking continuing education credits.

More than 350 Therapists who have been licensed less than one year were invited to participate in the "Successful Start" program which brought together experienced practitioners and business experts for an all-day training and education session on Wednesday, June 22.

Ralph Russ, president of the FSMTA, said the program wasn't around when he was starting out 12 years ago, "and I certainly could have used that kind of help. I didn't know anything about how to run my business, and all the other details you need, then. It took me two years to learn what these students learn in one day. And I think that's why this has become so popular."

One of the most important events of the show was the Women in Bodywork Business Roundtable on Friday night. While modestly attended, the event brought out a critical subject: degreed programs for massage therapists. This is a controversial subject in some quarters, with advocates saying it will add credibility to practitioners who want to work closely with medical providers and opponents worried that it may lead to a kind of stratification in the field that may disadvantage those without degrees.

Much more is likely to emerge on this subject in the next year.

Two individual attendees truly enamored themselves to the show with their generosity. Both Brian Smith and DJ Johnson won $500 each during the "Have You Had Your Massage Today" raffles on Friday and Saturday night. But both decided to return $200 so that others could have a shot at cash. Patty Fernandez and Larry Miller's names were drawn and they walked away with the prizes.

David Kent and Brian Smith - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
David Kent (left) and Brian Smith celebrate his raffle prize win. Smith would donate part of his winnings to give another attendee a chance at winning.
David Kent with DJ Johnson - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
David Kent (left) with DJ Johnson, who donated his raffle winnings so that someone else could also win.


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