My husband Champ and I attended the AMTA National Convention in Raleigh this week, and a good time was had by all! Congratulations to all our colleagues in the North Carolina Chapter for pulling off a fabulous event! I’m not going to take any credit because other than teaching and sitting in the House of Delegates, I am afraid I didn’t have the time to do much else. Champ was all over the place helping out….lifting and toting, working in the massage room and whatever else he could do to be useful. Thanks, honey!
On Tuesday, I attended the Board of Directors meeting. Those are open to everyone, and I wish more members would attend so you can see the Board at work. It’s worth the effort. I sat beside Leena Guptha, a past National President, and one of the funniest and warmest people in the world. We had a nice little visit.
Wednesday morning, the Opening Ceremony was fabulous. President Cynthia Ribeiro is a very engaging speaker and her Portugese accent just makes her more so. The keynote speaker was Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run, and she was one of the best speakers we’ve ever had, in my opinion. Wednesday afternoon, we had the preliminary meeting for the House of Delegates. I have been honored to serve as a delegate for the past two years, and it is a wonderful experience. During the preliminary meeting, there is always a mock position statement and mock recommendation put forth so new delegates can get the gist of what goes on during the actual meeting. Ken Swenson, Iowa delegate, facilitated the fake recommendation that we should be required to sing a song before every massage, by performing “Rub it In,” and it was the high point of the meeting. You can watch that here.
Wednesday evening, Champ and I attended the annual author’s dinner hosted by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, my publisher. We sat with the ever-entertaining Diana Thompson, former President of the Massage Therapy Foundation, and Mary Beth Braun-Hanson, former President of National AMTA. Also present was Ruth Werner and her husband Kurt, Celia Bucci, Joe Muscolino, Leslie Young Giase, a bunch of LWW folks, and I hope I am not forgetting anyone but I probably am! Ruth shared that someone had called her husband Champ earlier that day–they’re both good-looking, so it was an honest mistake!
Thursday was the House of Delegates meeting, ably facilitated by the awesome Dan Barrow, and John Combe of Oregon did a great job as the leader of the House. Ann Blair Kennedy of SC authored three position statements that passed muster and were officially adopted by AMTA. They are: 1) It is the position of the AMTA that massage therapy can be effective in reducing low back pain, 2) It is the position of the AMTA that massage therapy can be a beneficial part of an integrative treatment plan for those who suffer with fibromyalgia syndrome, and 3) It is the position of the AMTA that massage therapy can help improve sleep. Congratulations to Ann!
Thursday night, the Bloggers had a meetup thanks to the organizational efforts and generosity of Allissa Haines, author of Writing a Blue Streak. Michael Reynolds, Kelli Wise, Katherine Mayerovitch, Lisa Santoro, Christopher and Xerlan Deery, and Champ and I had a big time eating, drinking, and being merry.
Friday morning, I taught Using Research to Market Your Massage Therapy Practice. Friday afternoon, I taught One Year to a Successful Massage Therapy Practice. It was my first time teaching at the National Convention, and I totally enjoyed both classes. Both were very interactive with students sharing a lot, so it was just a great experience.
Friday night, I attended the reception for the Massage Therapy Foundation. I had to duck out early, but I did stay long enough to see the awesome Tina Allen receive the Humanitarian Award sponsored by Biofreeze and Performance Health. A $2500 donation was made to the MTF in Tina’s name. If you haven’t met Tina, she’s dynamite in a small package and the founder of the Liddle Kidz™ Foundation. Please watch this video about her work in Japan, and you’ll see why she is deserving of this award.
I left the MTF reception and went to the NC Chapter BBQ and Beach Music Blast! The National Shag Champions were there demo’ing how to do the shag. The food was good, the music was good, and the fellowship was good. People were dancing out on the sidewalk! I had a great time visiting with friends from all over.
The one black mark on my visit was the fact that Friday morning, I woke up with terrible low back pain, something I actually never have. Usually my aches and pains are in my shoulders, but I was in terrible condition, and I had to teach all day wearing a happy face! Saturday morning, Kathleen Gramzay of Kinessage® Massage through Movement worked on me for about an hour in the exhibit hall, or I probably would not have made it to the dinner dance. She was a great help!
We sat with the other NC folks but of course I had to get up and socialize. I saw a lot of my favorite massage people this week and only got to spend a minute or two with most of them, but I’m so grateful to have seen them all and to have met so many FB friends, a lot of whom were in my classes.
I ran into Jaime Huffman, former President of the North Carolina Board of Massage & Bodywork Therapy. I served on the Board with her for five years and she is the newly elected President of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. I also took the time to stroll up the street to the North Carolina Board offices, since my last Board meeting was in 2010 and I hadn’t seen my friends there in a long time. I had a good visit.
I also spoke with Bob Jantsch, the delegate to the Federation from Pennsylvania, who attended the FSMTB annual meeting in New Orleans just before coming to AMTA. Bob introduced the amendments to restore the original bylaws–and subsequently the balance of power–and although the were defeated this time around, I personally applaud Bob for having the guts to get up and start the ball rolling. The opera ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings, and I can just about guarantee that this one isn’t over. Bob is also in the AMTA House of Delegates, and I must say he knows the drill! Bob has served this profession in many ways over the years and kudos to him.
All in all, this was one fabulous week. I’ve attended about ten national conventions, and this was one of the best. Thank you so much to all the folks who came from far and wide to attend–we hope you enjoyed North Carolina, and we all enjoyed having you!