Become an Ambassador and Promote the Massage Therapy and Bodywork Profession

“No man is an island, entire on itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Perhaps you remember that line of poetry from your high school English class, more specifically from the poem, “No Man is an Island,” by the poet, John Donne.  In the poem, Donne talks about individuals being separate, yet being a bigger part of humanity.

In our practices we can often be working as an individual with our client, yet it is our collective responsibility to promote massage therapy and bodywork whether we are working, networking or just out and about on errands, going to the health club, or getting together with your friends and family for a social event.

So, how can you as a massage therapy and/or bodywork professional accomplish this?

By becoming an Ambassador for the profession.  What does that mean exactly?

In a recent meeting of the Massage Therapy Coalition (comprised of ABMP, AFMTE, AMTA, COMTA, FSMTB, MTF, and NCBTMB), a well-known and well respected colleague of mine, Cynthia Ribeiro, greeted me with the following request, ‘Leena, you need to define Ambassadorship for the profession’.

After contemplating this request, I looked up the meaning of the word ambassador and found:  leader, advocate, doer, promoter, representative, steward, agent, and spokesperson.  These are all words that I’m especially fond of and that I use to promote the profession.

So as an ambassador for the massage therapy and bodywork profession, you can become an advocate for the profession in various ways……

  • Volunteer: Share with your peers your passion, the mission of your organization and information about the many benefits of contributing to volunteerism, whether it is on a committee, a task force, a think tank, a chapter, a board or in the community through massage events and venues.  Our profession relies on volunteers to elevate the standards of education and knowledge drive education and knowledge and deliver information to society.

  • Massage Therapists:  Share information about classes you have taken and different modalities in your profession, not because you had to as Sandy Fritz would say, but because you want to promote the advancement of education, knowledge and skills as an ambassador.

  • Board Certified Massage Therapists (BCTMB): You can inform massage therapists and bodywork professionals know about the requirements to attain the higher certification credential requiring 750 hours of education (core, continued education and college education), 250 hours of hands-on experience, CPR certification and a criminal background check.

  • Ambassadors educate Potential Students who are interested in the profession to become massage therapists or bodywork professionals by describing the work, its many benefits, and what it involves on a daily basis.

As an ambassador for the massage and bodywork community, spreading the word about massage therapy and bodywork is the key to success.

  • Physicians are a great place to start. Many physicians are interested in the benefits of massage therapy.  Many are looking for ways to help their clients outside of traditional Western Medicine and will listen to educated research or findings within our profession.  Researching The Massage Therapy Foundation’s website is a great place to find articles and information.

  • Social Events with friends and family presents an excellent atmosphere to talk about work and indications for massage therapy.  It can be an excellent avenue to gain new clientele and educate people about the profession.

  • Daily Life Activities provide opportunity to be an ambassador, like standing in line at the local grocery store, sitting in the doctor’s office, meeting new people, or striking up a conversation with other individuals about the benefits of massage therapy.  All of these opportunities increase awareness of the endless positive effects of the work.  And, of course, always be sure to carry plenty of business cards!

 

Think about these and other ways of inspiring others within and outside the massage therapy and bodywork community.  What are some ways that YOU can be an advocate, an Ambassador? How can you positively promote the massage therapy and bodywork profession?  I welcome your thoughts and ideas, as well as other ways an ambassador can help move our profession forward in society.

 

This blog was written by:

Board Chair
Leena S. Guptha
DO., MBA., BCTMB.
 

Comments

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:22

Patricia, Thank you for supporting the profession.....if everyone serves as an ambassador for massage therapy in their own town - the recognition for the whole profession can continue to move forwards.....

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:24

Hello Shanita,
The blog is about inspiring people to be an ambassador in their own town....but NCB will also look at developing a ambassador program where volunteers can contribute, so please keep following news from NCB.

Jennifer Nelson's picture
Submitted by Jennifer Nelson (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 00:37

I already do these things. How do I become an official ambassador for professional recognition?

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:32

Hello Jennifer, Your passion and dedication is wonderful, often volunteerism brings recognition but I see great interest here....so we will need to consider the 'official ambassador' and 'professional recognition' pieces great question - Thank you.

Beth (RN, M. Ed., LMT, NCBTMB Approved Provider)'s picture
Submitted by Beth (RN, M. Ed... (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 11:45

If you are a LMT in the southern tier of NYS or northern tier of PA I invite you to join us for a Fireflies Massage Seminar. These FREE seminars blend continuing education with community service by offering hands-on CE training that benefits both the LMT and the community. www.fireflies.massagetherapy.com Let your light shine!

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:33

Beth,
Thank you for let us know about this, it is wonderful to read how massage therapists serve the profession as ambassadors.

Karen Luciano's picture
Submitted by Karen Luciano (not verified) on Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:35

This is something I would be interested in doing. I will be contacting you soon.

Sonia Alexandra's picture
Submitted by Sonia Alexandra (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 11:51

Dear Leena,

How are you, thank you for the information yes, I am interested in becoming an Ambassador,as a continuing education provider since 2000 and the pioneer of stone massage therapy, 4 decades as a massage therapist and spa owner please view my website stone-healing.com and see my our mention to your organization.blessings Sonia

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:37

Sonia, We are delighted there is so much interest in Ambasadorship, though there is no formal program right now this is certainly and area close to our hearts and we will consider the options beyond volunteering for an organization. Thank you for your interest.

Tami A. Goldstein's picture
Submitted by Tami A. Goldstein (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 12:03

I am an Ambassador for massage and bodywork. As a parent I've been advocating for CST (CranioSacral Therapy) as part of a multidisciplinary approach to achieve functioning recovery of autism for years. Professionally, 10 years I've specialized in CST & bodywork for individuals on the autism spectrum and sensory processing disorders. I speak, regionally, on a state level and in May, on a national level( Autism One - the worlds largest conference on autism,) about Upledger CST & Autism. I authored an international award winning book, Coming Through the Fog, about it and I am a contributing author in Cutting Edge Therapy & Treatment for Autism, 2014 edition. Recently, I received NCBTMB approval as an approved provider for a CEU course, Applications of Upledger CranioSacral Therapy, Massage & Bodywork for Autism. One in 50 children fall on the autism spectrum and as certified massage therapist and bodyworker we have and can receive additional training that allows us to be very successful working with this population. My goal is to promote that to every massage therapist, bodyworker, and family raising a child on the spectrum know this.

Phong Vuong's picture
Submitted by Phong Vuong (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 12:08

I believed if we have a committee that willing to meet and talk to LOCAL potential students who was interest in became a massage therapist and did not know where to start or was wondering what it will be like as a massage therapist. We can provide advices, warnings, confirmed or ensure and guiding our younger generation of therapist.

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:39

Hello Phong, Great Suggestions. Thank you

Lori Kirchheimers's picture
Submitted by Lori Kirchheimers (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 12:29

This was good to read. I'm always trying to find new ways to educate the common person about what we actually do. I believe we need to keep learning throughout our careers to be great massage therapists and teachers. Research is definitely needed to promote our credibility these days. Thank you for the inspiring article.

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:40

Lori, We appreciate your comments......thank you for taking the time to post.

Betty Greaver's picture
Submitted by Betty Greaver (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 12:35

I'm interested in becoming an ambassador, especially to the public & physician's. Is there more information you have to share? Thank you!

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:43

Betty,
With our new board in place we are exploring these avenues, we recently had a pilot event in Florida with Physicians where ambassadors as well as NCB Board Members - volunteered their time in chair massage and massage promotion to physicians.....we will report further on this aspect led by Dr. Randy Snyder as it develops.

Jarrod Fritz's picture
Submitted by Jarrod Fritz (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 13:32

How do I apply!?

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:45

Jarrod,
The blog was about inspiring massage therapists to be an ambassador in their own town.....but with all this interest we will definitely be exploring the broader options.

Timaka Wade's picture
Submitted by Timaka Wade (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 14:08

I enjoyed reading the blog.. I would love to be an ambassador..

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:47

Thank you, this first posting was to inspire and clearly it has, you can be an ambassador in your own town.....but as we see the energy stay tuned for more information as we consider channeling this energy to furthering the profession nationally.

Lisa B. Melendez's picture
Submitted by Lisa B. Melendez (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 15:13

Would love to be involved. I do many of the requirements already as a business owner and Program Director for Massage Therapy at Miller-Motte Technical College. Where do I sign up? :-)

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:49

Hello Lisa,
That's great to hear. Well done. Carry on the good work......we will consider how to capture all the great energy this blog is accessing and activities to 'sign up'. Thank you.

Yifat Donenfeld 's picture
Submitted by Yifat Donenfeld (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 15:57

I love the idea of increasing awarness for therapeutic massage & bodywork throught involvement in networking, educating clients, students and all the views and direction that you have mentioned.
It is a great initiation and can effect positively everyone that connect in whatever direction.
I believe that every motivation and action is adding goodness,
In good health,
Yifat Donenfeld, BCTMB

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:51

Yifat, and this is how you add goodness to the profession too....

BLANCA ESTHER RODRIGUEZ's picture
Submitted by BLANCA ESTHER R... (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 17:56

CONGRATULATIONS MRS. GUPTHA for your interest in Promote our Profession. I am from this Board. I am very happy when I read this letter because is exactly that I think. Every body need to know the importance and necessity of a Massage Therapist in their daily Life. No Matter what Age, Race, Religion, Jobs or Profession they have. WE ARE NOT ALONE. IF WE PUT TOGETHER OUR EFFORTS AND KNOWLEDGE. TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND CHANGE THE FOCUS OF OUR CAREER ON FRONT THE PEOPLE AROUND US. I am really interested in becoming an "Ambassador" specially with High School Students, we need them. If we are to Sell and Create interest in them as "Exceptional Profession as part of Health in this Country", they will come to this career. They are the Future of our Profession. I have my own experience. I have a Daughter. She wants to be a Chiropractor and I sold her the idea to be a Massage Therapist first, because she will be advanced and she will have an advantage in knowledge. Right now she is almost finished as a "Massage Therapist and Bodywork Student" She is really happy and she discovered God's gift to her to help people with this Profession and She Can "MAKE MORE MONEY THAN OTHERS IN THE SAME TIME OF WORK". She wants to be, obviously a NCBTMB. I am a Journalist, a Radio Announcer for Spanish Speakers in Houston, Saleswoman for 23 years in this Country. I have experience as Training for Sales and Leadership in Companies of Beauty and Natural Products for Spanish Speakers. It would be my pleasure to serve you again. My first time a helping The Board was reviewing the Spanish National Certification for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB). Sincerely. Blanca Esther Rodriguez

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:53

Blanca, Thank you for your efforts, dedication and suggestions of ways massage therapists can embrace Ambassadorship.

Walter Lopez's picture
Submitted by Walter Lopez (not verified) on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 21:45

I am a massage therapy program coordinator and instructor, for me is a bless knowing that I am training future healers. An everyday wonderful challenge teaching them the art of massage industry, bringing to the classroom former students that pass the National test, and be proud of it, organizing different charity events with different organization and the student perform massages so learn the importance to give back to the community But also sometime inspire other massage therapist who are not too involve in the industry and the possibilities that are out there in the world.

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:57

Walter, You are clearly an Ambassador, thank you for your contributions....

Claudia Tristancho's picture
Submitted by Claudia Tristancho (not verified) on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 07:38

Would like to become re-certified and participate as ambassador.

Sincerely,

Claudia Tristancho
MA53979

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 15:56

Claudia,
If you are currently National Certified you can transition to Board certification - that would be the renewal process. If you are not Nationally Certified then there is a Board Certification exam you can take. Nevertheless, Ambassadorship is about Advocacy, and Advocacy for Massage Therapists can occurs with every human interaction.

Ellen's picture
Submitted by Ellen (not verified) on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 08:36

Hi Leena,

What an interesting concept! Ambassador for a profession that has called to me since I was young and that I found after many years of detours. In reading your comments, I think the paragraph that begins "After contemplating this request," should include some fashion of the work EDUCATOR. In addition to all of the other areas mentioned, I educate clients, family, friends, people in grocery store lines, medical providers I use/see as clients, etc. I converse with them and reduce some of the mystery/unknowns about our profession. I simply listen and volunteer to them that there is a possibility that massage therapy might offer a positive outcome to them, or about whomever it is they are speaking. I help reduce the mystery of what a massage is like, what it is for, who can benefit and most of all, I give them an experience of who a massage therapist might be, in this case, me.

I am totally in favor of the higher education requirements. I know that more education does not always dictate more maturity, but it sure helps. I had a private practice for 14 years, and have been working for Massage Envy since 2008. I am very grateful that Massage Envy has helped normalized massage to the public and helped de-mystify the profession by its presence in so many communities. A good therapist is a good therapist regardless of where they work.

I love the idea of a think tank but have not found a way to participate in one. In fact, I have not found one. I think the biggest short coming in the profession is that lack of mentorship to other therapists, especially new therapists. I would like to see a statistic that gives information about how the length of practice of therapists. How many other therapists are in their 19th year of practice? My list of suggestions and questions is long.
Personally, for me, in an ideal world I would have a patron and be able to do massage at no charge to support medical volunteers or emergency teams who take mission trips, and of course I would work on whomever they wanted to be helped with massage. I could create the time if I did not have to create the money.

Thank you for listening. I would appreciate an email back just so that I know this was read.

Respectfully, Ellen

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 16:00

Hello Ellen, Thank you for taking the time to comment, share and suggest. Your comment was definitely read and is inspiring in of itself....carry on the good work.

lifeworks's picture
Submitted by lifeworks (not verified) on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 09:27

Ms. Guptha, thank you for sharing your insight into the "how to's" towards better stewardship of the massage therapy profession. Through education, networking, charitable events and many other methods, I too have used all these methods to no only gain a broader market for my business but to educate a public naive about the therapeutic power of touch. And when the services are not medically reimbursed they are not likely to maintain a budget for this preventative care. As the medical model in the US has yet to bring us into the fold as recognized healthcare practitioners then we have an uphill battle. Too bad, that after all my efforts and now 15 years into service I am still under-employed, non-insured,and generally not (still) accepted by the medical community enough to receive referral.
We massage therapists know how we can transform the quality of lives around us, our clients know as well. Each of us is an ambassador each and every time we touch our client.
Maybe I have ask you, Ms. Guptha, how will NCBTMB be my Ambassador in the realm of federal healthcare as to be recognized for our skills as wellness providers? How will NCBTMB be my Ambassador to mediate reciprocity between states for therapists wanting to gain work in multi-state regions? What does NCBTMB do with my dues other than to ask me to continue my roll of Ambassador? We need some help out here, the statistics show the decline of therapist longevity, and we are misleading our massage community in thinking that being an Ambassador is going to keep us employed and viable enough to pay NCBTMB dues, state license renewal fees, insurance fees, continuing education fees, etc..... I love my profession, but sometimes you just don't get no respect, and even an Ambassador wearies.

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Sun, 03/23/2014 - 06:24

Hello Lifeworks, These are very real and pertinent issues that affect all of us in practice. The growth and sustainability of our practices in the current market is a key issue. Addressing these issues effectively requires a collaborative effort of the stakeholder organizations, which we are a part of as well as the continued dedication of volunteers. Ambassadorship we are an exam board as opposed to membership organization, we are part of the coalition of massage therapy a vehicle that serves and dialogs on the key issues face us as therapists in the profession today. Yours Respectfully.

Lena Michaux's picture
Submitted by Lena Michaux (not verified) on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 10:34

I would love to be an ambassador for Massage therapy. I started massage in 2005 and would love to share my knowledge and wisdom with the world. Please let me know how to start this process.

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Sun, 03/23/2014 - 06:27

Lena, you express a wonderful energy, this blog has clearly generated interest in ambassadorship and we will channel that energy into ambassador activities.

Jai Kaur Annamaria San Antonio's picture
Submitted by Jai Kaur Annama... (not verified) on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 10:39

It's a pleasure to be an ambassador to this labor of love: massage therapy and bodywork and I have worked in every possible arena offering my skill, and trade. Is there some formalized way of becoming an NCTMB ambassador? I now help run the Massage Therapy program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge Mass where I continue to offer all forms of massage and bodywork and I teach a Massage class to the MIT community. I also offer treatments to the elderly residents of an assisted living facility and specialize in Ayurvedic treatments in my home-practice. I am working to open a clinic to offer yoga therapy and bodywork.

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Sun, 03/23/2014 - 06:31

Hello Jai,
There is clearly an interest in formalizing ambassadorship and something that we need to give great thought to and we will report back on ambassador opportunities. Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective and experience.

Julia Hayes's picture
Submitted by Julia Hayes (not verified) on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 14:35

Hi Leena, Yes, this is a good PR article to begin educating our industry about what an ambassador is. Nice job. As always, your a saint that never rests.

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Sun, 03/23/2014 - 06:35

Hello Julia,
Many of those who responded here are interested in ambassadorship, which of course brings warmth to our hearts....it appears that within this blog itself is a volunteer workforce that are keen to spread the word and traverses the country too.

denise miller's picture
Submitted by denise miller (not verified) on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 15:01

am a diplomat OF C I D E S C O WHICH IS AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR BODY AND HAIR THERAPY. iT IS HIGHLY RESPECTED WORLD WIDE AND VERY WELL KNOWN i TOOK THEIR FIRST AMERICAN TEST IN aTLANTA, GEORGIA AND WAS TOLD i WAS HIGHEST SCORER, HOWEVER, I NEVER RECEIVED IT IN WRITING.
i AM A PUBLIC SPEAKER AND HAS TAUGHT ALL OVER THE u.S.A. AND SOME IN EUROPE (ENGLISH ONLY) i OPENED THE FIRTS MASSAGE SChOOL IN TEXASand one of the first cont. ed teachers here both in cosmetology and massage.
I am a giver , and work heavy with the veterans. ANd I always sell Massage!

OLEAN HICKMAN's picture
Submitted by OLEAN HICKMAN (not verified) on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 20:27

I really enjoyed reading the information,yes how do I become an Ambassador? I love talking to others about the Art of Massage and Body Works and the joy that it gives me to help others in need with information or sessions only to name a few. Thank You

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Sun, 03/23/2014 - 06:38

Olean, Thank you for your comments, you are already an ambassador in your activities and we will return back to you with NCB Ambassador opportunities.

Alisa Wolfe's picture
Submitted by Alisa Wolfe (not verified) on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 06:54

I would like more info about signing up for the ambassadorship. Thank you in advance!

NCB's picture
Submitted by NCB (not verified) on Sun, 03/23/2014 - 06:41

Alisa, thank you for your interest.....we will collate the contact information of those interested and create an ambassador pool.

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