Why attend the World Massage Conference?

I love the World Massage Conference! Why wouldn’t I? I helped shape it into my dream event!

I’m addicted to learning. So me at the World Massage Conference is like a crackhead in Columbia. There is so much great information on pretty much every massage topic imaginable. I’m on a six-day high.

Because I run the event it’s hard to take me seriously. I know I come across as an evangelist: The person you don’t want knocking at your door. I just want to sell registrations, right?

So I asked a number of prominent educators who have been involved as both presenters and attendees at the conference what they liked about the World Massage Conference and then I put together this little video. Enjoy…

** Click here to register for the conference **


Haiku Deck Forces You to Create Better Presentations

At World Massage Conference we feature webinars from about 50 presenters each year. These are some of the most respected educators in the industry, some of the most innovative thinkers and the people that move the profession forward.

Along with the presenters comes their PowerPoint presentations. And over the years, we’ve seen it all over the years: The good, the bad and the ugly.

If you’ve seen the presentations by myself or any of the ABMP-produced sessions, you are seeing what are considered best practices in presentation design. The basic idea behind effective  PowerPoint design is this: Keep it simple!

This is hard for many presenters to do. It’s a surprisingly difficult task to maintain visual simplicity in a way that has impact. And it takes hours and hours to put together.

There’s help. Recognizing the difficulty of the task, a developer has created Haiku Deck, an app that pretty much forces you to do better presentations.

If you are a presenter check out this free app as an alternative to PowerPoint:




Making Massage Education Relevant for Students

The future of massage education has been at the top of my mind for some time now. Yesterday I started seriously mapping out processes for a new e-learning platform that I’ve been dabbling at for more than two years and putting together with my full time developer and friend Adnan Shareef. Hopefully we’ll be testing it out as a blended curriculum for a chair massage course for January 2013.

The system will integrate some of the ideas from people who traditional academics scoff at. Here is a great video of some of these futurist freaks I admire and whose ideas (some expressed in this video) I will be implementing:

What’s wrong with massage education?

I’ve been teaching massage for over two decades and have been doing online education since 1999. Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time learning about technology in the classroom and looking at the effective of models of education that would work for massage, in particular those using a blended curriculum – part online, part in-class.

As I’ve been researching requirements for massage schools in the USA, I’ve discovered that very few States allow any online component. Even where online education is not expressly prohibited, regulators I’ve talked to say they never approve programs with web-based elements. What’s up with that? Do we live in the dark ages?

I know that education hasn’t really changed for the past 500 years, so it shouldn’t surprise me that schools are so backwards in adopting new models, but it does.

Look at the numbers:

  • Attrition rate for students is 13%
  • Less than 2/3’s of graduating students pass their State certification exam

That means 44% of students going into massage training, never make it out the other side. And out of the ones that make it as therapists, over 50% have to work significant hours outside the profession (20+ hours) to make ends meet.

Does it occur to anyone that something is wrong?

It does to some people and I applaud the efforts of the current industry leaders at the most recent Leadership Summit. They are working to establish baseline criteria for education in this profession as a first step forward. It’s the most basic thing we could possibly do to start to turn things around. It’s about time the issue was tackled using a reasoned and researched-based methodology instead of people’s opinions or ideologies.

The idea is not revolutionary, but it’s vitally important. The profession has been building on a foundation of sand for far too long and we need a solid foundation if we are ever to move forward.

For my part, I’ll be exploring the use of technology in massage education in more depth. Instead of looking simply at doing old things in new ways, I will try to push some boundaries and do new things in new ways. We need a little shakeup. So be on the lookout for some interesting experiments in massage education over the next year.

I’ll be exploring issues in education more frequently in this blog. If it’s something that interests you, subscribe to the blog or subscribe to me on Facebook.