Pandemic Pivot Idea.
Local networks of massage therapists have been a driving force in moving the massage therapy profession forward. Back in 1943, small groups of massage therapists gathered in people’s homes to start what has now become the American Massage Therapy Association. (See history of AMTA-WA)
The American Massage Therapy Association used to have local networks called “Units” that actually gathered on their own and offered CE classes and networking opportunities. They actually at one time paid a fee to AMTA State Chapters/AMTA National to use the name and organizing systems. There are still some left today that have gone on to become separate organizations after AMTA dropped them from existence.
Why Start a Local Massage Network?
Information is constantly changing in the massage profession. New rules and laws are also changing. It is impossible to keep up with information these days with so many sources like newsletters, social media accounts and associations. A local network will let you share resources like paying for lawyers for legal help, getting your CE classes completed and making sure you have the best resources and information.
Start Your Own Local Massage Network
Starting your own local massage network is as simple as calling a friend or two and setting up times to get together in person or through zoom calls. It can be just to talk or you can start talking about how to form a larger network. Some of the things that you can do are:
- Create a paid membership organization that actually becomes a non-profit with a paid team of organizers, executive directors and staff.
- Create a CE class that keeps people up-to-date on legislative issues in you state/city/county and also the latest science/research on massage.
- Have monthly membership meetings
- Offer low cost CE classes or free to members
- Offer paid classes to non-members
- Create resources for community members to work with police departments, city councils and legislators to help stop brothels doing business as massage therapists.
- Create a resource for sharing the latest news and information from the state board meetings.
- Create a directory of CE classes
- Offer other full CE classes on other days.
- Create a directory of resources, supplies, supporting businesses like software, accountants and lawyers for the massage therapists in your area.
Local Networks Can Do
Currently the massage profession has many major issues to be figured out. Getting more people involved in solving the issues can help move the profession forward more quickly and efficiently. Our large massage associations have gotten bogged down in having to manage large numbers of members and most of their income goes to that rather than advocacy.
- Expand the opportunities for massage therapists to come together for mutual support, continuing education, and collective action.
- Support anyone interested in starting a group, project, or initiative to support LMPs and share the good story about the benefits of massage
- Help end the polarization in the massage profession over issues like evidence informed practice, science, pseudoscience, and things like energy work.
- Massage therapists need to be separated from brothels doing business as massage therapists.
- Massage therapists need to be classified and considered to be healthcare providers.
- Massage therapy should be covered by health insurance. WA State has been part of healthcare since about 1999.
- CE is one big conundrum.
- Massage therapy awareness campaigns can be created in local networks.