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In this Post: AMTA has been around for a long time, and every year they put on a conference. Have you ever wondered, is AMTA conference worth it? I know I have! So this year, I decided to find out for myself.
After eleven years of being an AMTA member, I finally decided it was time to check out what national conference was all about. While the idea of going has regularly intrigued me, there has always been some reason I haven’t gone, money, timing, pregnancy. You know… life.
My curiosity about the quality of the CE classes, if the reward would be worth the cost, and what other opportunities might present themselves resurfaced when a couple of changes occurred in my massage career.
The first change happened when I began teaching massage at a local community college. Having never taught before, I thought going to the conference would be beneficial. It would help me stay up to date on big and small changes in the industry, shed light on areas I needed further growth, as well as give ideas for how to be a more effective teacher.
On the Friday of the conference, I had the chance to spend the entire day with seasoned educators during “Teacher Day.”
The timing of this day couldn’t have been more perfect. The night before I left to go to conference, I received an email from the director of the massage program where I teach. The students were pushing back on an assignment I gave. While I was confident my assignment was important; it was nice being able to chat with other educators and get their perspective on its appropriateness. Having these conversations gave me confidence that I wasn’t out of line with my expectations.
It was interesting to see all the different teaching styles and methods being utilized. I have to say; I was a little surprised by some of the attitudes out there regarding the state of massage education.
The second change in my massage career was I started this blog. The conference seemed like an excellent opportunity to get in greater touch with you, the massage therapists I serve.
Generally, I am fairly confident with how connected I am with massage therapists. I have been a massage therapist for eleven years. I have been employing them for nine. I’ve worked in five different massage establishments. My friends are all therapists. And, as you know, I am now teaching therapists.
However, there are still subsets that are mysterious to me. For example, I’m am not super knowledgable about massage chains. I’ve never used Zeel. And I’ve only worked in Colorado. Because of these limitations, conference seemed like a good place to gain a deeper understanding of the broader problems and challenges massage therapists face.
New Kid Nerves
Being the “new kid” was a little intimidating. So, I brushed up on my networking skills. And I set out to learn, make connections, and grow.
Tami Schumacher, my Colorado chapter president, also helped ease some of those nerves. Before I even arrived in Indianapolis, I was receiving text invitations to meet the other Colorado members. Plus, there was a new attendee luncheon. Here I met therapists from all over the country! Instead of having too few people to hang out with, I had too many, so many new friends!
One of the huge benefits of going to conference is the opportunity to bust out some CE credits. I received 16 CE credits for three days of classes. I think I would have received 18, had I not been running late to the opening session. Thanks, Indianapolis parking situation!
The classes I took:
The Art of Client Retention: Turning New and Repeat Customers into Lifetime Clients with Felicia Brown
Business Head, Healing Heart with Kelly Bowers
Educator’s Forum with Cynthia Ribeiri and Winona Bontrager
The Changing Landscape: Creating a Student-Centered Experience with Michael Hova.
Essentials of Orthopedic Assessment with Whitney Lowe
Closing Session – Yes, I received credit for attending the closing session, which is why I think I would have received credit had I actually been on time to the opening session.
Exhibitor Hall was a lively place. It was chock full of booths with products and resources to make our jobs as therapists easier. There were lotion suppliers, table manufacturers, essential oil distributors, and educational resources producers.
Some of my favorite booths are listed below:
I walked away NEEDING the Comfort Craft electric table! I mean seriously, this is the Cadillac of massage tables!
It was crafted by the most charming Florida engineer, Jim Craft. Jim designed and built this table after an injury at a water park sent him down a lengthy self-care journey. During this time, he utilized massage as a key component in his recovery process. After establishing a solid relationship with his massage therapist, he was asked to please build a table for him.
So he did. He got busy in his garage and set out to build the most ergonomic table possible. This table pivots to allow proper curvature of the spine, it has cut-outs that allow you to work closer to the body, and it has two control panels so you can adjust the height from either side of the table.
While this company has grown, it remains true to its roots. The pride this father/daughter team exudes is palpable. You can’t help but want to be a part of their family, the Comfort Craft family.
Before ever stepping foot into exhibitor hall, I knew that I wanted to find a substitute for my current cupping set. The set I own has never maintained suction the way they should.
On the recommendation of a friend, I was introduced to the Hawk Grip cups. She swears that these are “the best” cups out there. Made from food-grade silicone, there is no need for a pump when utilizing these cups. They come in multiple sizes and are easy to clean.
I can’t wait to begin using these cups in my practice!
John G. Louis Massage
On the first day of conference, I was drawn into John’s booth by his Massage Star. A weighted massage tool that allows therapists to save their hands. John offered to do a demo on me, so I got on his table, prone.
This was when I got real interested. The massage star was cool, but what struck me was his face cradle cover. It was so comfortable. You might be thinking, how can a face cradle cover be “so comfortable,” aren’t they all kind of created equal. Well, I am here to tell you they are not.
His covers are seamless and made from super soft cotton. I’m thrilled to begin using them in my practice!
I also left conference with a free travel size theracane, lotion samples from bon vital, and an awesome tote from massage warehouse. Massage swag is the best!
So, would I recommend it? Is AMTA Conference Worth it?
Yes, but… I don’t feel the need to go every year. It was expensive flying, hotel, rental car, parking, eating out, etc. I think it was an excellent opportunity to see what the organization does for us and their level of care. But I don’t feel the burning need to make it an annual event. I do, however, feel more compelled to get involved with my local state chapter.
Having served massage therapists since 1943, this is an organization that cares. An organization that wants to help its members grow and improve.
The conference was a mixture of things for me. There were moments when I felt like my brain was stuck in a complex tongue twister (Whitney Lowe’s “Essentials of Orthopedic Assessment”). Moments where I laughed and cried (Melissa Stockwell’s amazing story of becoming a Paralympian). Moments where I was inspired and moments where I was exhausted. Overall, I walked away feeling a more heightened sense of belonging — a connection to the vast AMTA community.
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008