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Massage Today
October, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 10

Highlights from the World Massage Festival

By CG Funk, LMT

The World Massage Festival is always full of colorful, engaged attendees, passionate exhibitors and diverse education providers. All of this makes the Festival a valuable event for massage therapists and bodyworkers. And, for me, the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame is always the highlight.

The Massage Therapy Hall of Fame was created by Mike Hinkle. Each year at the World Massage Festival, a ceremony is held to induct the recipients into the Hall of Fame. Since 2006, Mike and his team have been committed to seeking out massage therapists, bodyworkers, authors, teachers and other massage industry representatives that, through their work, have furthered the massage therapy profession. What is unique about the selection process, is many of the inducted Hall of Famers have worked quietly in their cities and states and receiving this incredible recognition is very often the first time they have been in the national spotlight.

The Hall of Fame ceremony is so inspiring. To be present as each inductee is recognized, awarded and speaks about their passion for massage therapy and bodywork is an experience to cherish and touches the heart in so many ways.I have always believed it is important for massage therapists and bodyworkers to know their roots. And for the massage profession, our roots lead us back to the gifted, skillful and compassionate hands, hearts and minds of those who did the work before us.

World Massage Festival - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark These leaders, innovators, teachers and creators have given us many of the philosophies, modalities and techniques we have today. The Hall of Famers represent all facets of our profession and come from many walks of life. Some have worked quietly without seeking a grander spotlight. Others burst onto the national scene with brilliance and passion. And, there is one thing they all have in common: a deep, internal, soulful knowledge of what it truly means to connect with another human being simply through the laying on of hands and an unwavering belief in the healing power of touch.

This year, at the 2014 Hall of Fame ceremony, there were twenty-four inductees. From teachers, to marketers, school founders, authors, to modality creators, the wide breadth of knowledge and experience in the group was unquestionable. While this short article doesn't have the space to list all the inductees experience and contributions, here is a brief overview of the new Hall of Famers.

Gertrude Beard (1887-1971) – an army nurse who promoted the use of massage for soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Injury.

Mark Beck – involved in the massage profession since 1974, with a history that includes two posts as a school director and authoring books including Visual Guide to Swedish Massage, Theory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage (now in its 5th edition).

Carol Carpenter-Ayala – founder of the National Holistic Institute and a practicing massage therapist since the early 1970s among all her other wild woman and incredible world adventures.

Bruno Chikly, MD, DO – extensively studied and practiced osteopathic techniques and dozens of other modalities in Europe and the United States. Author of Practice of Lymph Drainage Therapy and international teacher.

Patricia Donohue – 45 year career in spa and health clubs and a medical massage expert.

Joe Ferguson – a massage therapist since 1965 and a lifetime of activism including being a part of lobbying the State of New York to adopt massage therapist licensure legislation.

Michael Reed Gach – founder of the Acupressure Institute and author of several books including best seller Acupressure's Potent Points.

Jim Hackett (1950-2014) – 30 years of experience as a massage therapist and teacher, co-founder of the Chicago School of Massage Therapy and owner/director of MSTM.

Brenda Mohalapua Ignacio – a KumuLomilomi and Kahu and an Instructor of Hawaiian Healing Arts. She is also the co-founder of Hawaii Healing Arts College in Oahu.

Eeris Kallil – a practicing massage therapist since 1985 and with expertise in many massage styles. She was a teacher of Zen-Shiatsu and Movement at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy for nine years and developed and teaches "Alignment Technique Massage for Breast Cancer."

Karen Kowal – a registered nurse and practicing massage therapist since 1994. She is the developer of Mother Earth Pillows and a continuing education provider.

Stephen Kreger – a massage therapist since 1992 with a working history that includes primary therapist for the Bone and Join Center at St Paul Medical Center, manager and therapist at Genesis Rehabilitation and an owner and operator of a day spa.

Janelle Lakman – a massage therapist with a journey that includes learning Native American traditional methods of healing. She is an instructor for Stone Medicine.

Thomas Liberto – a graduate of the Texas Institute of Reflex Sciences in 1977 and a rich history that includes teaching, presenting and writing within the massage profession.

James Mennell (1880-1957) – served as the medical officer lecturing on massage therapy at the Training School of St Thomas Hospital and published author of Physical Treatment by Movement, Manipulation and Massage.

Ilse Middendorf (1910-2009) – developed "The Experience of Breath," a unique form of breath education. This artistic form of breathing education continues to receive international attention for its effectiveness as a somatic healing process.

Ron Phelan – A remedial based therapist trained in Bowen Technique. He organized an official monument to Tom Bowen and continues to run the "Tom Bowen Legacy Trust Fund."

Alex Spassoff, BA, LMT – a massage therapist since 1976 and director of the SunCoast Massage Therapy Center. Tom is a founding board member of the International Academy on NeuroMuscular Therapies.

Marty Swager – an accountant by trade with a career in the massage industry spanning 19 years. He has been and continues to be a dedicated advocate for the profession.

Frances Tappan (1915-1999) – an associate dean of the School of Allied Health at the University of Connecticut. Her publications included several books on massage techniques, including Massage Techniques – A Case Method Approach.

Lisa Upledger – vice president of The Upledger Institute. She's a doctor of chiropractic medicine, maintains a successful practice and teaches clinical courses in CranioSacral Therapy.

Brian Utting – massage therapist and founder of the Brian Utting School of Massage, considered one of the best massage schools in the country.

M. Susan Walsh – a practicing certified massage therapist and a continuing education provider of ancient Ayurvedic modalities in the United States.

Beth-ellen Zang – a massage therapist and practioner of heath care for several decades. She has a clinical medical massage practice and has taught massage modalities since 1983.

Congratulations to all Hall of Famers! And, deep thanks to Mike Hinkle for creating this great program. Mike's love and passion shines through in everything he does himself to further the massage therapy profession for us all.

CG Funk is the Vice President of Industry Relations and Product Development for Massage Envy Franchising. Her responsibilities include developing national therapist/esthetician recruiting/retention strategies, developing and testing new service and model offerings and implementing national public relations programs and campaigns. CG has been actively involved in the massage therapy industry since 1992 as a therapist, instructor, curricula and program developer, writer and presenter, corporate trainer and school administrator. She's also a licensed massage therapist in Arizona and California and an advanced cranial sacral therapist.


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