Alliance For Massage Therapy Education

How will we replace ourselves?

“We must have highly qualified educators demonstrating professional behaviors, ethical practice, and appropriate touch at our entry-level schools and at our national conferences.”   

How will we replace our great instructors when they retire?

Teachers in the classroom are getting older … there are many more schools and programs being taught by underdeveloped educators. With over one thousand of massage schools in the country and over 2000 CE Providers, we estimate there are close to 10,000 teachers of massage and bodywork therapies at all levels.  New instructors need training, skills, and support.  Experienced instructors need to continuously strengthen their skills with professional development courses and continuing education that helps develop skills to teach different generations as they enter the classroom. Since we are not born with the skills, we must be taught, trained, evaluated, and practice the art of teaching.   

Currently, there is no mechanism in our field to train, evaluate, and certify teachers at any level.  So the AFMTE has undertaken a long-range project to identify the National Teacher Education Standard Project (NTESP).  The overall goal of this project is to create a culture of teaching excellence and eventually offer an instructor certification upon completion of the course.

When this project is complete, we encourage schools and educators to utilize the “Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers” to determine whether an instructor is qualified to teach. Our “Teacher Training Curriculum Development Committee” (TTCDC) is using the new ELAP Blueprint to help inform the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to be deemed a “certified” teacher of massage therapy and bodywork.

About AFMTE: The Alliance For Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) was formed in 2009 to work with and strengthen the skills of massage therapy educators. The main focus of AFMTE is to create and implement teaching standards and to support educators in delivering exceptional education.  The AFMTE is the massage profession’s “College of Massage Educators.”  Our focus is teacher education and continued professional development for therapists and teachers.  

AFMTE and NCB  Collaboration

The NCBTMB and the AFMTE are working collaboratively to inform stakeholders, certificants, and approved providers about the shared values of the organizations.  We have overlapping constituents (CE Providers). Both groups are members of the Coalition of National Massage Therapy Organizations and both groups share in the ownership of the ELAP Blueprint and support its goal of identifying entry-level massage skills.  Both have representatives on the Academic Consortium for Complementary & Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) Board, and participate in state and national conferences and conventions.  The constituents of both groups have a shared interest in setting standards for educators and education, from core curriculum through continuing education.

NCBTMB collaborated with AFMTE concerning the review of the new Approved Provider program that was released October 2013 and is currently seeking feedback concerning acceptable continuing education for Board Certification.

This blog was written by:

Pete Whitridge


Laura Allen's picture
Submitted by Laura Allen (not verified) on Sun, 04/06/2014 - 10:24

In my opinion, the only way the NCBTMB is going to survive is by forming strategic partnerships. As the AFMTE is the youngest organization, and the one with the least amount of financial resources, this collaboration will have the benefit of being able to reach more people with the message. Any other benefit, especially to the AFMTE, remains to be seen.

I would really like to see a thorough report on how the NCBTMB is progressing on cleaning up the Approved Provider program, because as long as they are allowing Biblical Anatomy, healing with crystals, and other such things to be approved for CE credit, I question their expertise in identifying good education, and suggest that the AFMTE may need to assist them on that front. They have appointed a task force, so it would be nice for them to give regular updates on what has been done.

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Tue, 04/08/2014 - 07:09

Thank you for your comments Laura, yes strategic collaborations is definitely the key to success and the number one focus/strategy of the new Chair. To address the key issue of Approved Providers a task force of diverse and experienced individuals from the industry was formed in January 2014. This group meets monthly and brings a both a breath and depth of experience from the industry to the table. Discussions are led by Bruce Baltz and Michael McGuillicuddy together with support from AFMTE and updates and progress will feature through NCB PR.

Chad Ever's picture
Submitted by Chad Ever (not verified) on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 10:13

I agree with Laura. Is there a response to if the task force will be reporting back to the public/members?

Heather Bostian, LMT, MFA, RYT,CHT's picture
Submitted by Heather Bostian... (not verified) on Sun, 04/06/2014 - 13:57

As a former teacher for ASIS in Flagstaff , Az I do think its important for you to know the LOW quality of teaching that does normally go n there and the unspoken philosophy of the owners not caring if a student "understands" the info or not, just that they collect the huge fees ! When I spoke to them about how OUT of integrity this belief system is with healing massage, they said I should not use the word healing ever.I quit right there and then .Previously, they wanted me to teach from a two page flyer the entire coarse of Cranial/sacral. After telling the owner that this text was sorely lacking ( which he found insulting ) I re= wrote the entire text , they never paid me for it , never thanked me for the huge effort it took and they still use my text. Stay away from ASIS is my advise.

Leslie Markham's picture
Submitted by Leslie Markham (not verified) on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 11:32

I have been actively practicing massage therapy for 20+ years in Alaska and have recently moved to Arizona.Due to Arizona licensing laws, I currently ASIS in Clarksdale, AZ to obtain my Arizona license even though I have over 750 continuing education hours. My point is that I have been exposed to many teachers and many different classes and I am highly impressed with ASIS's program, both in content and the quality of teachers who teach each modality.

joseph Rongo's picture
Submitted by joseph Rongo (not verified) on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:43

Thank you Leslie, and yes, your experience is one we both strive for and so often hear. You and your comments are much appreciated. The comments you were responding to are from a disgruntled individual with what I see as a very active imagination. I beauty of blogs and such forums is we all have a voice, in fact this whole topic is simply people's voice.
My 25 years of experience at Massage School leads me to think that there are no silver bullets, no line in the sand for defining good teachers, great teachers or bad teachers, in many ways, teaching, like therapy itself has some great moments, some terrible moments, and the rest is just fine and dandy. What All of us OLD teachers need to remember is we all started somewhere, we all had classes we either completely stuck out in, while we had others we hit the biggest home run in. And then there were and are those classes that had that one student we touched so deeply, their life changed, who was sitting next to that other student who wished we never even got out of bed that day.

Rebecca Beene, BS, LMT   AMTA and NCTMB's picture
Submitted by Rebecca Beene, ... (not verified) on Mon, 04/07/2014 - 10:25

I will always be interested in teacher qualifications.
I look for instructors who openly provide their CV's.

I am always interested in the activities of any group or organization (AMTE, AFMTE, NTESP, ELAP, ACCAHC, NCBTMB, AMTA or others) that has influence in my profession.

Who is seeking feedback: "NCBTMB collaborated with AFMTE concerning the review of the new Approved Provider program that was released October 2013 and is currently seeking feedback concerning acceptable continuing education for Board Certification."

Will you provide us the place / link to give our feedback?

My AMTA wrote ELAP information in an obscure placement in our email news, as though the ELAP activity is of minor interest to practitioners. The ELAP news had a deadline. "Caveat emptor." Buyer beware. I never thought that I would ever have to search out deadline information from my professional society.

For purposes of NCBTMB and AMTA, give us the dates and deadlines first, then fill in with the details.

For purposes of practicing MT or for purposes of entering into teaching MT, I am always interested in the development of our education for MT.

Rebecca Beene, BS, LMT

Ruth Werner's picture
Submitted by Ruth Werner (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 13:11

Thanks for this, Pete: it is an important point.
I am eager to see the AFMTE advocate for educators, which is why I'm a member!

Pete Whitridge's picture
Submitted by Pete Whitridge (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 14:42

Thanks Ruth and others for commenting. The AFMTE offers feedback and consultation for a variety of groups in our field since most issues in our world revolve around massage education, professional development, and licensure requirements. The NCBTMB is formulating the new requirements for maintaining Board Certification. We are offering input on applicable coursework, delivery systems, credit hours, and of course TEACHER REQUIREMENTS. Not everyone is trained as an educator yet many have been deemed eligible to be an approved provider. This issue is our biggest concern. There is an NCBTMB think tank formed to address all of these issues. P>

Catherine Laws, DBA The Healing Touch's picture
Submitted by Catherine Laws,... (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 13:25

I am a firm believer in Hands-On Training and not in online courses. I have spoken to so many massage therapists that I have taught and they all tell me the same thing about online courses, "I haven't learned a darn thing" It is my opinion that touching, feeling and seeing by way of hands-on training is the real way to elevate current and prospective massage therapists to a professional level. If you want to separate the wanna be's from the real thing, have them do a proficiency test by way of hands on and you will have your answer. By staying in the art of massage therapy, medical and leisure, I am able to pass on valuable attributes based on personal every day experience.

John Triplett's picture
Submitted by John Triplett (not verified) on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 09:11

I live in a rural area where access to "hands on" training, after massage school, is extremely limited. I have furthered my education exclusively through online courses an have found them to be very informative. Considering the fact that neither the National Certification nor the MBLEx contain a hands on component, I don't understand the bias against online courses. Also, the "hands on" aspect of massage is to subjective to quantify (which is probably why neither test has one). Who is to decide what is "correct" in terms of touch. What one person finds enjoyable, in respect to massage, another may not. I am fairly new to this occupation having only just hit the five year mark, but in this time I have noticed a certain amount of "snobbery" in regards to education. LMT's selling over priced CE's because they offer "hands on training" seems to be the norm and anyone going the online route either because of price or location is considered less than.

April's picture
Submitted by April (not verified) on Mon, 05/05/2014 - 20:48

Hello john, I have read your paragraph and I'm very uplifted by your stance on online courses regarding massage. I live in the state of Florida and would like to peruse this field but simply cannot find an online school. So I'm reaching out to see if you have any guidance you can spare and point me towards the right direction. I would love to hear back from you! Thank you!!

Cliff Korn's picture
Submitted by Cliff Korn (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 14:09

Love the blog post, Pete. Maintaining qualified "elders" will continue to gain in importance. One of my long-held concerns involves the fact that even with the completion of teacher certification the schools will only be "encouraged" to avail themselves of this great resource. While we know that many will, I am skeptical that the numbers who use this year's students as next year's teachers will reduce drastically. The only comprehensive solution that I see to this is ubiquitous massage school accreditation. If a required teacher qualification certification is part and parcel of a universal programmatic massage school accreditation paradigm our job will be done and we can just sit back and smile!

Joy L. Mellum's picture
Submitted by Joy L. Mellum (not verified) on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 23:33

And please tell me who you are Cliff Korn? What authority do you have in a decision making process? If your views are the direction of this Alliance then our profession has already been compromised.

We live in America. It used to mean freedom. We are the last health care profession that still has freedom and you are applauding the idea of our profession becoming institutionalized like all the other "higher education" institutions.

Are you suggesting schools who make a decide not to participate in the "accreditation" process are less professional or capable of producing quality massage therapists? Who are the decision makers of the accreditation process? I have looked into this process. Schools who make this investment open up a steady stream of students due to the federal government financial aid. Being "accredited" does not give an assurance of better teachers or educational experience. I have made the choice not to involve the federal government into the fabric of the school and am content to abide by the laws established in the state of Iowa.

I have interviewed potenital therapists and teachers who have earned a certification from schools with accreditation and have not been impressed with the product produced by these schools so again, who decides what is right or wrong and whose ideology becomes the "standard"?

In our profession the decision makers decided a license process was the way to seperate massage therapists from the sensual massage of prostitution. Almost all states have a license requirement and the problem with prostitution and massage still exists. What is next? More and more regulation? How has that helped any of the medical or health professions?

Boundaries are indeed necessary. States with a license requirement also have educational requirements for the approved schools of the state. Let's not forget how close universal is to uniformity.

Holly Davidson's picture
Submitted by Holly Davidson (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 14:46

I would actually be interested in be an instructor for massage therapy. I have been doing table and chair massage for over 10 years and have felt somewhat of a "whats next" feeling. I love what I do but some times want to expand some how on that. Would this be something that may be good for some one like myself?
Thank you

Denise Branch's picture
Submitted by Denise Branch (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 15:10

This is great news! I have been researching how to become a massage instructor, and have found very little information. I have been practicing massage for 9 years and desire to transition into teaching. However, since I am licensed in CA, there are currently no CEU requirements to maintain certification, and I have had a great deal of difficulty finding hands-on instruction. There is definitely an eminent need for CEU teachers in CA in the future. I am certified with the NCBTMB and need continuing education to maintain my certification. In addition, I am always looking for classes to enhance my skills and remain current with techniques. I think it is fantastic that the NCBTMB is looking towards the future for massage therapists! I would love to find out more information on how to get involved and fulfill my dream to teach massage.

Michael's picture
Submitted by Michael (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 15:53

I am massage therapist, hypnotherapist, EFT/TFT/TAT/EMDR Energy Psychology practitioner, addictions counselor, Reiki Master, Healing Touch, Touch for Health and Pranic Healing Practitioner. I am also CEU provide. I think that if massage therapist could begin to wrap their heads around working with the mind/body/spirit to facilitate change it would help tremendously. My message is treat the Whole person, if an ache or pain keeps coming back locate the hold-on to the problem resolve it and the treatment will last longer if not permanently. I also teach the value in collaborative work with a good match therapist to complement each others work especially with survivors of incest, sexusl abuse, rape, physical abuse, the dying, families of dead or dying people etc. Yes

Pete Whitridge's picture
Submitted by Pete Whitridge (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 16:16

Michael - I'm not sure your comments correlate to the Blog. But I think you make a good point about Holistic Health. The point of the blog has to do with training trainers to be excellent in all aspects of the profession of teaching. If we don't plan now for the future, who will teach the students in 25 years? We as Elders must train, share with, assess, certify, and mentor future educators. Please stick to the topic. P>

Patti Grabowski's picture
Submitted by Patti Grabowski (not verified) on Sat, 04/12/2014 - 06:25

Perhaps he is reacting to an earlier comment by Laura Allen which seems to indicate her skepticism with regard to the validity of CE course content like "Healing with Crystals", and is trying to make a case for the importance of the inclusion of providers teaching courses that encompass a holistic mind/body/spirit approach?

MaryRose's picture
Submitted by MaryRose (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 17:17

I am curious, as a school owner and instructor for over 20 years, who exactly sits on your teacher training committee and therefore is working on this new project.

Do you have a timeline for this project?
Thank you

Pete Whitridge's picture
Submitted by Pete Whitridge (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 20:36

Yes, the Teacher Training Curriculum Development Committee is Chaired by Dawn Hogue from the Cayce Reilly Institute. Board Liaison is Gloria Lawerence Education Director at the Dabney Lancaster Community College - Rockbridge Campus. The committee is comprised of long time educators in the field like: Cherie Sohnen-Moe, Iris Burman, Su Bibik, Brenda Ranier, Sandy Mason, John Morgan, Gabriella Sonam, Julie Mez. The timeline for this work is long. We are using the Core Competencies Document and the new ELAP Blueprint to outline the learning outcomes for standards 1-3 over the next 6 - 8 months. A full recommended curriculum with outcomes should be presented at our July 2015 Educational Congress. The presented material with be our First Draft and calls of comment and feedback will extend us into 2016 for anything final. Of course, there are many pieces of the teacher training puzzle that are already in place all over the country. We are not re-inventing the teacher training wheel merely organizing deliberately for our field. Massage education is different, since the training environment has such a power differential. Teachers of massage need training, supervision, assessment, mentoring, and continued professional development to be successful and complete facilitators of future massage therapists. This is a 15 to twenty year project. P>

Dennis Collins's picture
Submitted by Dennis Collins (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 18:23

Thanks for the email. I had been ignorant of this effort.

Mary Ann Testa's picture
Submitted by Mary Ann Testa (not verified) on Fri, 04/11/2014 - 18:58

I chose not to join NCB because of the gross lack of CE standards.

Laura Allen, I am with you. CE credits for Animal communication, online crystal therapy and on and on, 100's of them is why there is lack of respect in this profession.

Another pain in my side is Upledger Institute. Any one can take their classes. ANYONE...and can practice without any kind of license at all. (In IL anyway).

That is when I started feeling these organizations were about money and not the quality of education.

Catherine Cline Ph.D is my teacher's picture
Submitted by Catherine Cline... (not verified) on Sat, 04/12/2014 - 00:30

I was blessed to teach a few classes at a nationally certified NCBTMB college. The experience over 8 years taught me to use Blooms taxonomy of critical thinking and actually teaching from my k-12 Bachelors GVSU teaching degree in multiple sciences...this entire experience taught me humility.

Communicaitons is the key to clear understanding of any experiences I have had in studying or teaching. Living is a class itself. Class and teachers must have life experiences enough to be good empathic readers of students. This personal skill developed involuntarily over 26 years of working in Michigan Natural Resources legal cases enforcement...I taught massage for students just starting out... there but for the grace of God go I... thanks to the Baker College system of allowing new teachers to give it a try.

I now understand that clearly I all have a lot to learn. Coming from a teaching science background I wanted to share that I can't walk in the shoes of college students but I did put myself through 10 years of two bachelors degrees by workstudy,both parents were deceased by the time I was 19.

Students are similar ..usually Working and raising a family and going to classes is enough to push students too hard. Please be patient with everyone starting a new career with study and know the BEST classes are ones from life's give college students a break to see the best in themselves.

I focused on improving myself and help others to mine out their dreams and best talents, skills and blooming dreams. Massage helps great talent come out in open classes..good instructors are open to teaching critical thinking.

So good classes are taught by those among us who worked very hard at obtaining their certificaitons. skills in listening to help students really understand problem solving skills in the work place. THAT PERSONAL CHARACTER development IS PRICELESS and leads to talented unique healing hands and hearts that help everyone on their tables.

Sorry for the pollyanna but putting myself through 10 years of college in the taught me humility, hard work and trust in my own un tapped abilities needed to be given a chance. So give each growing teacher chances to learn how to bring out the best in students. WE alll start new skills development when we are brave and try new careers.

Thanks for the tempoary soap box. I no longer teach at that good college which is still there and has moved on to try out new talent which I hope are discovering their ability to support students learning atmosphere/setting the tone by
ALLOWING mistakes, trial and error and just plain hard work...the students starting their own search for their unique talents within themselves in the field of massage. This is the priceless item in each and excitement in learning more about themselves and their potential future.

Margo Benge's picture
Submitted by Margo Benge (not verified) on Sat, 04/12/2014 - 07:22

Huge moments of fear as I read this. Who decides who is the expert, since today's expert is discredited tomorrow? How do we keep egos at bay? How do we protect advanced modalities from being copied by amateurs? What protection do we have that this is not another bureaucratic soup that adds cost and time to our practice without improving it?
There are excellent teachers with little training, and horrendous teachers with much education. Who decides and how do we keep honor above politics?

Pete Whitridge's picture
Submitted by Pete Whitridge (not verified) on Sat, 04/12/2014 - 10:21

Margo -"Who decides and how do we keep honor above politics?"

This is where assessments come into the picture. Direct assessments, indirect assessments, video recording of applicants, portfolio review and self-assessemtns are tools we can use to assess someone's teaching proficiency and skill. We have in our midsts professional educators with a clear intention to address the very issues that you write about. Teaching is a skill that is developed, nurtured, and practiced. Mastery takes time and effort so this is why there would be ongoing professional development opportunities, educational congresses and conferences focused specifically on teaching, teachers, and student success.

Teachers need models of good teaching practice. There are many Elders of the profession that need to pass along their knowledge, skills, and experiences. That's what my blog is about...we need to find, train, and mentor future educators. I'm alway looking around for successful therapists who are ready to take their practice to the "next" level. Good starting places abound; massage schools need assistants, CE providers need regional assistants, both the ABMP and AMTA have support materials for massage educators. These modules are excellent and will be part of a whole system of badges and certificates that will match up with the "Core Competencies" developed by the Alliance For Massage Therapy Education.

This is a long term project, have you read the document? There are ten standards and some of standards may be unfamiliar or frightening to you. This is a natural reaction, and with patience and training based on the Core Competencies AND the new ELAP Blueprint we have a pathway toward advancement in our field. Every indicator in our field shows that most teachers need support and further training as a teacher of adults in massage programs and trainings. Ethical behavior, professional demeanor, and skilled classroom instruction are needed now, in 10 years, and definitely in a generation from now.

Let's work together. Please join with the AFMTE and participate on the committee, offer feedback during "Calls for Comment."

Keep up with the Alliance on Facebook and Linkedin.

Who will replace us? The National Teacher Education Standards Project (NTESP) lays out the roadmap.

Please read the project outline here:

Read the Core Competencies here:
Remember this is a 15-20 year project.

All the best. P>

joseph Rongo's picture
Submitted by joseph Rongo (not verified) on Tue, 04/15/2014 - 19:49

Pete, we must still remember that none of this guarantees anything. After raising 3 children who attended a variety of schools with teachers who had degrees, and some schools where degrees were not required, I can honestly say that so many of their teachers with 4 year degrees in education were mediocre at best, and rarely inspirational.

Pete Whitridge's picture
Submitted by Pete Whitridge (not verified) on Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:42

Joe - Agreed. As you know colleges and universities struggle with this issue all the time. A graduate student is not a teacher by definition, yet they are teaching in the classroom. A traditional teacher in a traditional school is trained in the theory of teaching but not given adequate training in actual classroom situations. The practice of teaching takes repetition, experience, and continued learning. We hope to create a model that will help all CAM schools. Acupuncture is having this issue, how to train teachers to carry the tradition forward..

Its all about assessments. Our training model with focus on Direct and Indirect Assessments when certifying teachers. Direct assessments could include: video, class observation, testing, and task assignment. indirect Assessments could include: completed classwork, portfolio review, previous training experience, documented practical experience.

There are thousands of training modules for teacher/teaching (theory) yet the massage classroom is unique because students in the massage class are in a vulnerable power position. Thus it will be important for us as a field to train our teachers in the importance of professional and personal boundaries, ethical behavior, and modeling professional demeanor. We need our teachers to embrace radical respect for our students and help them become successful representatives of our work. This is variable at best now. I'd like to see that be different by encouraging us to create teacher trainings that are focused on the massage classroom where students are vulnerable/in the least powerful position. Teachers need mentoring and training in behavior, style, and approach.

Yes, Joe there are no guarantees...never have been.... but we can work communally to support high teacher standards in the classroom, in our CE classes, and at our National Conferences.

All the best, P>

Joy L. Mellum's picture
Submitted by Joy L. Mellum (not verified) on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 22:11


I agree with the concern of "who" decides. We are treading on very dangerous landscape of our profession when we replace "standardization" with character. I own a massage school and have experience with the excellent teacher with little training and the horrendous teachers with certifications, degrees and job experience. It is my job as the owner of the school to make sure the teachers are quality and if there is a student who wants to take the step forward as a teacher then it is my place as the owner of the school to create the opportunity to intern them. This model of training does not work unless the owner of a school is ready to put investment in. It also does not work unless the owner of the school is of quality character. History has the potential to repeat. The massage therapists of the late 1800's who felt so strongly about the need for "standards" formed a new charter to divorce themselves from the unprofessional and unregulated practice of massage. Today we know them as physical therapists. Did this change the problems? Is the physical therapy profession the model we are looking to? How does it measure up? I agree, a healthy measure of fear is warranted here.

John Triplett's picture
Submitted by John Triplett (not verified) on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 09:14

Excellent point!

Sandy Xayasouk's picture
Submitted by Sandy Xayasouk (not verified) on Sat, 04/12/2014 - 19:45

My only complaint is, this concept should have been installed years ago, but rather late than never, right? I am very excited for the outcome of this project. I came from a fantastic accredited school in Iowa a decade ago. My instructors were bright, inspirational, and dedicated with just the right amount of toughness. I was offered an interview in Manchester, England to teach and then recruited and offered a lead instructor position at a cosmetology school in Iowa. I declined because I could NEVER be as amazing as my instructions that I respected so much.

I regret my lack of confidence even though I would have had help creating the curriculum of this brand new school. Now that school has someone with less qualification leading a new generation of therapists. Had this new project been around a few years go, I would have been more confident. I would love to be a part of this.

pete whitridge's picture
Submitted by pete whitridge (not verified) on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 15:11

Agreed Sandy Xayaxouk! I have been singing this song since I was a Board of Massage Therapy, Chair back in the 1990's. Changes in the industry have created opportunities for unqualified, uninspiring folks to teach in schools because there are no standards nationally.

Its a process, thanks for your input. Glad you choose the ethical path and hope you will consider joining with us to learn these skills, get inspired, and eventually become a teacher in the classroom.. P>

Oniris Rosales's picture
Submitted by Oniris Rosales (not verified) on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 07:37

Good morning my intention is say hi.and thank you for everything. I love the skills education. If I could a chance I would like to be a teacher and massage therapist.

Christine Parker VT, RA, LMT, NCBTMB's picture
Submitted by Christine Parke... (not verified) on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 12:21

Having been through a disappointing experience I am excited for all of us. Especially our future MT's! Though I attended a reputable Massage Therapy school, education regarding muscle anatomy and physiology was not a strong part of the curriculum. One would think this would be a core requirement. The school had two A&P instructors. Depending on which instructor you were assigned to, students either received a strong foundation or a weak foundation for MT. Unfortunately this allowed for students to graduate without a good understanding of the very structure they would be working with. Hoping this alliance would pull some uniformity to core requirements at least.

Sylvia DeSantis's picture
Submitted by Sylvia DeSantis (not verified) on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 14:31

As both the director of a graduate program at a private Philadelphia university and a therapeutic body worker who provides energy work (Shiatsu, Reflexology, and Reiki) in private practice, I am in a unique position to judge the veracity of the energy work components of formal LMT programs in the area, and my assessment is one of continued disbelief.

I regularly teach reiki to LMTs who cite a critical lack of information in their school-mandated training (a one-page handout and 4 hours of lecture). Somehow, since reiki isn't considered 'verifiable," poor training that leaves its students un/underprepared regularly slips by in these state-approved programs. I find this unfortunate and discouraging.

As someone with 15+ years of both online and F2F higher ed classroom experience, I don't necessarily need (or want) an authority telling me what constitutes a good curriculum or how to deliver it. However, some of the mandated curricula out there for energy work clearly *is* nonsensical, is being taught by those who know nothing of it, and makes those of us in energy work look like charlatans or worse.

I'd like to see a committee dedicated to this issue with energy work in mind specifically.

Jimmy G's picture
Submitted by Jimmy G (not verified) on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 18:55

Here is a huge pink elephant in the room: Large trade and corporate conglomerate schools are unwilling to spend the money necessary to implement teacher training programs. Ideas generated from the Alliance must not involve any costs for school's to accrue. With enrollments down nationwide, this has lended towards a closing of the purse-strings that have made teaching more challenging. Emphasis on softer skills and technology utilization are paramount to our development as teachers when we are told "here's the book, you're teaching this subject new to you next week, figure this modality you have no experience with".

Joy L. Mellum's picture
Submitted by Joy L. Mellum (not verified) on Sun, 04/13/2014 - 21:43

For 20 years I have watched the movement of the massage profession and the decisions that are made by "organizations" with the interest for advancement of the "standards" for the massage therapy "profession".

I am a licensed massage therapist in Iowa and own and instruct in an Iowa Massage Therapy approved school. The training I offer massage students is unique and would not adjust well to the idea of "standards" that I constantly read about in the Alliance "core" curriculum.

Who is it that decides what is important to be taught in the schools and by what delivery? Most schools teach Anatomy and Physiology in the same manner Institutions of Higher Learning have taught for decades. That model is outdated. Most techniques that are taught are mechanical applications much as Physical Therapy and do not serve a population we are now administering massage to.

The focus of all that I read and hear is to develop along the same lines as the medical profession has to allow large schools to "standardize" the curriculum to make the cookie cutter process smoother.

What happen to quality teachers passing on their skills to a new generation. Apprentice those students who have a skill for teaching. Many massage therapists have interviewed to teach at our school and my experience is those who think their certifications qualify them for the job, realize I am looking for someone who is willing to engage with the students not "teach" at them. When the student leaves the school, my goal is that they will think for themselves and make good judgements based on what they know and what they do not know.

I will also continue to teach spiritual content. The minute you "standardize" an education process you will open the door for censorship of ideas and possibilities. Medicine was censored when the great Galen created the "standard" for anatomy and physiology / medical practice. Hippocrates is NOT the father of modern medicine, Galen is. The "Age of Reason" also brought with it the politics of faith/science. I for one believe one can not exist without the other. It would behoove all of the organizers to learn the history of massage therapy which will take individual to ancient practices that have merit today.

Tread this course in our history very carefully and do your homework on the consequence of actions taken today. Your intent or motive may take a very different route in generations to come.

Develop the "character" of the current students we teach and you will have the quality of a teacher for the future. Develop the "character" of the owners of the schools and you will have quality teachers. Where did the quality teachers we have today come from? There are some things that can not be taught only learned through example.

pete whitridge's picture
Submitted by pete whitridge (not verified) on Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:20

"When the student leaves the school, my goal is that they will think for themselves and make good judgements based on what they know and what they do not know."

"I will also continue to teach spiritual content. The minute you "standardize" an education process you will open the door for censorship of ideas and possibilities."

Good points and I would encourage you to review the "Core Competencies" document. We DO include the spiritual aspects of learning and teaching. Our committee and our Board embrace the ability of schools owners and educators to model spiritual principles in our schools.

COMTA also allows schools to define for themselves what to teach, how to teach, and to develop specific outcomes for their schools. Standardizing and defining what the base level of massage education is the purpose of the ELAP. The ELAP is an excellent Blue Print that defines what is entry-level education.

I work at the Florida School of Massage and our mission to "enhance the quality of life, through the vehicles of touch and awareness". Some students come specifically to experience their own "life change". They are not necessarily there to become an LMT. Rather they come to become "better people, more whole".

Standards can and should also include the apprenticeship model of teacher training. There are problems with this method since there is a need for SO MANY teachers while here are so few mentors. That is the point of the blog. We as elders need to look ahead..plan for our replacement... and help future students become future teachers... Its a career path that is missing in our field.

Joy, it sounds like you are passionate about your school and your students. That is what is missing in the Career Training settings and many of the corporate schools. Your passion is appreciated and I would invite you to get involved with the Alliance. We are focused on teacher training, support, and professional development.

How will you replace yourself? What will happen to your school when you can't teach anymore. This issue is close at hand for us at the Florida School of Massage. That's why we have a Teacher Assistant Program to train experienced therapists to be Teacher Assistants and to eventually become teachers.

William Raich 's picture
Submitted by William Raich (not verified) on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 11:19

I was just talking about this same issue with friends and coleuges of mine last week. Pete if you need input or help in this at all I am willing to give it my all. I have been in the classroom for 12 years , and a C.E. provider for 4. I think this school for teachers is the main key we have to unlock the future of our profession, without standards we have little to stand on.

Deborah's picture
Submitted by Deborah (not verified) on Sat, 04/26/2014 - 15:12

I'm a certified instructor with the AOBTA. We have had a method for evaluating Asian Bodywork Therapy teachers in place for a couple of decades now. Our instructors are top notch. I'm sure the Director of Education (education@aobta) would be happy to share our process with you. The Jin Shin Do(R) Foundation for Bodymind Acupressure(R) has had a Teacher Training program in place since 1982. I'm currently leading this year's training. I'd be happy to share info as well.

Sharon Pollock's picture
Submitted by Sharon Pollock (not verified) on Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:17

You bring up some great points about training the next generation of Massage Therapy Instructors. Please let me know how I can help with the process - finishing up my eighth year of teaching massage in the Twin Cities.

Denise Radcliffe's picture
Submitted by Denise Radcliffe (not verified) on Tue, 06/10/2014 - 13:47

Hi Pete, Not sure if you will remember me but we overlapped in our schooling in Florida. I am a dean of faculty in MN and my program chair shared this article with me. It's wonderful how active you are in the profession. I think the AFMTE is fantastic!!! If you ever need someone to help with that I would love to be involved.

Take care,
Denise Radcliffe

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