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Off to a Successful Start

Many new therapists are skilled at performing massage, but struggle when it comes to building a practice. One massage association addresses that problem head-on.

The Florida State Massage Therapy Association gives new therapists a boost toward their chosen career with the association's Successful Start Program. The program is held each year at the outset of the FSMTA's annual convention, and is open to members and nonmembers. This year about 400 new therapists attended the program, which was held at the convention site June 27 through July 1 in Orlando, Florida.

"You learn your techniques in school," said FSMTA President Maureen Gilbert. "You learn what to do and you come out and you're filled with all kinds of fire—you know how to give a massage, but where do you find clients?

"[The program] benefits them because they have all the masters of the business giving them advice, and we hope it will encourage and inspire them to have a successful career," Gilbert added.

The program featured a panel of massage-industry experts who shared advice and knowledge on succeeding in the business of massage. This is the fourth year that the Successful Start Program has taken place.

This year's presenters and their topics were:

  • Hal Baker, vice president of Hygenic Corp., "Importance of Patient Self Care and Retailing";
  • Ray Blaylock, "Seated Massage/The Key To Creating A Successful Massage Practice"; and
  • Donna Buist, "Start Up A House Call Practice";
  • Earl DeCarli, president of Hygenic Corp/Performance Health Products, master of ceremonies;
  • Maureen Gilbert, FSMTA president, "Association Involvement";
  • Lynn Hupp, FSMTA executive director, "Association Involvement";
  • David Kent, "Tips On Setting Up Your Office";
  • Pamela King, executive director, Florida Board of Massage Therapy, "MA007 Licensed To Massage";
  • Vivian Mahoney, "Insurance Billing Issues";
  • Michael McGillicuddy, "Self Care & Wellness For The Massage Therapist," and "Kick Start A Practice With Sports Massage";
  • Angie Patrick –Director of Business Development, Massage Warehouse – Massage: A Love Story"; and
  • Lynda Solien-Wolfe, "Promote Your Way To Success."

To learn more about the Successful Start program, visit

—Karen Menehan