Another article by Ginne Fanelli BS, RN, LMT, our massage therapist that writes article for the blog and travels to massage shows with us. Photos courtesy of AFMTE COPYRIGHT © 2019 – Shared with Permission.
Have you ever thought much about who taught your massage teachers to teach? I’m sure we’ve all thought a lot about massage school in general… how long it took, how difficult it was, how great it was to get massage ALL the time, how challenging it was to get through all those hours of free massage we needed to give to graduate. I’m sure there was an instructor or two whose voice you hear in your head as you correct your posture during a massage, perform a specific technique, or think about an anatomical structure in particular. For me I hear “lower your shoulders”! (Thank you Nancy) I think of Zach, my deep tissue instructor, every time I reach my fingers up under the client’s occiput and apply traction or perform a long, deep glide to someone’s ITB. I remember Emily (fondly) who taught me just how to sink into the glutes. I think of my Physiology/pathology instructor whom I admired for his knowledge and his wit, as well as for his talent to teach. I could go on, but won’t. My point here is, who taught these people to teach? Who taught someone how to start up and run a massage school?
Many of these questions were pondered when I recently attended the semi annual conference for the Alliance For Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE). I was honored to attend with The Jojoba Company as a vendor. I never even knew an organization such as this existed. And was I ever in for an awakening. One very unique situation at this conference was that all of the vendors were right in the main conference room and so, I was able to “attend” many of the sessions that happened over the 3 day gathering. I hardly even know where to begin!! I guess one of the first bits of glee was to be greeted by the owner and instructor of the massage school I attended! I had no idea she would be there, and then to find out she was one of the founding members of the AFMTE and helped to organize this conference. Nancy went out of her way to bring people to our booth to introduce them to jojoba (because she loves and uses it), but also to introduce me to some of the leaders in this field. I had the honor of shaking hands and chatting with the authors of some of the textbooks I used in school, some of the pioneers in massage therapy techniques, and some amazingly brilliant thinkers and doers. I found myself trying to remember to pull my jaw up off the floor several times, or else look like a blithering idiot as that proverbial lightbulb went on upon realizing to whom I was speaking. Suffice it to say I felt myself surrounded by greatness.
This greatness shown even brighter as I listened to the various topics and discussions during the conference sessions. Topics such as whether or not to require massage teachers to be certified and if so by whom, and how, and why (answering the question “who teaches the teachers to teach). I listened in on a session about book publishing. Now ordinarily, this might be the last place on earth one could find me, but it was compelling and fascinating to listen to the panel of experts speak about their own paths to publishing. It was equally fascinating to hear the questions being asked. Who ever knew there was so much involved! It’s not something the average Joe thinks about, but I do now. What I took away was that writing the book is the “easy” part!! Publishing is not for the faint of heart. Talk about passion… passion is 100% necessary for publishing, and passion was oozing everwhere during this conference. Not only from the authors in the group, but from the group in general. Here is a group of industry leaders that have been so passionate about massage therapy, that they have started schools, taught classes themselves and have done research and published works to get the word out.
And speaking of passion, have you met the Jojoba people? This is one passionate company. They have such pride in the quality of their product. They are also an honorable company. So honorable that they chose to attend this conference to get the word out to students. The idea being that students should learn about all the different products and how to use them while they are in school and have instructors to lead them through and answer questions. Its’ also a benefit to be using a product that is hypoallergenic and has no additives because the students are litterally up to their elbows in product during schooling. It’s great for the students to know that when working with the general public, a public that is increasingly allergic and sensitive, that there is one product that works for all types of massage and all types of people. So I went to this conference with The Jojoba Company, not to sell product, but to find out how the company could best help the educators educate about how to use skin lubricant. We came away with lots of great input and advice. The Jojoba Company went to this conference to offer free product to the schools so that they can teach how to use it. Not that it’s difficult to use, it’s not. It’s just that like anything, using it for the first time goes more easily with some pointers.
This conference was a joy to attend. I got to rub shoulders with some of the rock stars of the massage therapy world. I got to talk about what I consider to be the best product out there to use for skin lubrication in massage therapy. I was blown away by the passion, dedication and level of sheer intelligence these Doctors, educators, school pioneers/owners, authors, and AFMTE officers/members bring to the table. And a good time was had by all.