Rick Rosen: Time for the Next Chapter

Rick Rosen is Executive Director of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE), and has been one of the driving forces in the massage profession for almost three decades. He is also co-owner of Body Therapy Institute (BTI) in Siler City, North Carolina, along with his wife Carey Smith. The couple announced this week that they are retiring from the massage school business. They are putting BTI up for sale and will be moving to the Big Island of Hawaii within the next 12-18 months.

Rosen has covered a lot of territory during his service to our profession. Inducted this year into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame, he was the founding Chairman of the North Carolina Board of Massage & Bodywork Therapy, and was one of the first Presidents of the North Carolina Chapter of AMTA. He was also a co-founder and the first Executive Director of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. Rosen’s commitment as Executive Director of AFMTE runs through the end of this year, and he has offered to extend that if needed. “I may be completing this phase of my career as a massage school director, but I’m open to further exploration of how I may continue to be of service to the massage therapy profession at large” said Rosen, in a letter announcing his transition plans.

Carey Smith was the 2009 recipient of AMTA’s Jerome Perlinski Teacher of the Year Award, and has pioneered teacher training for massage educators. She and her husband have co-directed the Body Therapy Institute for 17 years. Founded by Rosen in 1983, BTI was the first school of massage therapy in the Carolinas, and has become one of the most respected massage schools in the nation. Located on a beautiful 156-acre property known as South Wind Farm. BTI is one of only two COMTA-approved schools in NC. During the past year, 100% of the school’s graduates passed the NCE and MBLEx on their first try. The school has long been known as a center of excellence, thanks to these two leaders and their dedicated faculty.

While expressing that they will miss the farm, the school and their staff, the couple is looking forward to the next chapter of their lives so they can have more time for creative endeavors. Rosen noted, “We invite prospective students all the time to come to massage school to pursue their goals and dreams. Now it’s time for our next great adventure.”

Professional Associations: Do You Belong?

Do you belong to a professional association? I do, and I find it is well worth the money. Liability insurance  is of course a benefit, but there is so much more.

This weekend I’m hanging out with the AMTA folks from North Carolina. We always have a blast at our conferences. Good classes, a social on Friday night, meals together, vendors….one of the usual vendors sells beautiful handmade jewelry, so twice a year at our meetings I treat myself to a pair of her earrings. I haven’t missed a national convention in years. There is something totally awesome about being with a couple of thousand other people who do what you do.

I also belong to ABMP. Their client newsletter alone is worth the money. They also have cheap online classes, and numerous marketing aids that are yours at no cost if you’re a member.

I blog a lot about the politics of massage, and I want to point out that these two professional associations have government relations representatives, and they pay lobbyists to look out for the interests of massage therapists. I keep saying that many therapists aren’t involved, and I also hope to change that. By belonging to one or both of these organizations, your annual dues money is going to help finance the cost of their assistance in legislation that stands to affect massage therapists.

These organizations also make large annual contributions to the Massage Therapy Foundation, so your membership dollars go to support that, too.

I know a lot of therapists who say they have let their membership go because of the recession, and that it is just one more thing they have to pay for. Just a reminder: if you are operating without any liability insurance, you are taking a huge risk.

According to my research, about 6% of massage therapists have been sued. I am sure it’s actually more, because my figures are just a compilation of those from AMTA and ABMP, and don’t include any therapists who aren’t members. That may not sound like many, but you don’t want to be one of them. If you have that insurance, you’re good to go. If you don’t, and someone sues you, they could get a lien against your property, wipe out your children’s college fund, get your retirement money…you get the picture, and it ain’t pretty! Don’t let that happen to you.

I get a lot out of my memberships. Free listings on their websites, trade magazines, networking opportunities, education opportunities, volunteer opportunities, teaching opportunities…sounds like they’re the place to go for opportunities, doesn’t it? Membership in AMTA and ABMP, along with your insurance and all the rest, amounts to less than a dollar a day. It’s one of the best values around.

If you are a school owner, massage school instructor or administrator, or provider of continuing education, the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is there for you. This young organization is holding their first annual membership meeting this June in Park City, UT, and I plan to be there. The AFMTE will act as an advocate for education, and some of the great minds of massage are lined up to speak, including Tom Myers, Carey Smith, and Cherie Sohnen-Moe. Membership is an investment in the future of education. Join us!

Peace & Prosperity,

Laura Allen