Tucson, Arizona (June 15, 2012): The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) Conference focused on creating an atmosphere of collaboration, respect and mutual support. The conference theme was “Deepening Connections in the Massage Education Community.” Keynote Speaker Benny Vaughn’s inspirational opening reminded us that a society is judged by how it educates its young and that massage therapists need to increase their self-esteem. Vaughn says, “In this digital world touch is vital.” He envisions a world where we will be greeted with reverence and shouts, “The touchers are coming! The touchers are coming!”

The Alliance re-elected Pete Whitridge, Iris Burman, Su Bibik, and Cherie Sohnen-Moe to the board as well as elected two new board members Heather Piper and Stephanie Beck. The Alliance held elections for the leadership Development Committee and announced that Debra Curties, Joe Lubow, Susan Beck, Tracy Walton and Tim Herbert were elected.

The Board deemed this meeting an incredible success. It brought together a distinguished group of participants from the US and Canada. Leading educators and more than twenty nationally published authors attended. There is an overwhelming consensus that teacher education standards are needed in the profession. Small groups worked collaboratively to refine the TESP competencies. The Professional Standards Committee will take this feedback under advisement. Other breakouts provided participants information on educational research, communication skills, social media and busting massage myths.

Over eight hundred dollars was raised for the Massage Therapy Foundation. Seated massage was coordinated by Janet Vizard & Shelene Taylor during the Thursday evening Opening Reception sponsored by Performance Health/Biofreeze and Massage Envy.

John Weeks delivered his keynote presentation: “ACCAHC and Collaboration in our National Health Care System.” Weeks discussed a health care system that delivers more effective care that is patient centered, focused on health/wellness and is readily accessible to all populations. Massage therapy has an important role as one of the five disciplines of Integrative Medicine.

Major massage organizations in attendance included the Massage Therapy Foundation, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, the Commission On Massage Therapy Accreditation, the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, and the American Massage Therapy Association. Other organizations recognized for their supporting role in the conference are: Massage Today, Massage Magazine Insurance Plus, the Florida State Massage Therapy Association, Massage Envy, Books of Discovery, Pearson Higher Education, Performance Health/Biofreeze, ONE Concept, and SOAP Vault.

According to Pete Whitridge, “The board is thrilled with the outcome of the conference. We heard from the participants that this was a 5 star event. Thank you to our presenters, sponsors, exhibitors, Allied Members and companies who supplied items for the tote bags and donated prizes.”