Inspiration this fall at Ocean Shores massage education conference

Ocean Shores

Sandy beaches and high-quality education meant an inspirational weekend for me and 400 other licensed massage therapists two months ago. As the weeks whir by, the memories of dramatic weather (heavy rains AND deep blue sky!) and information-packed classes at the AMTA Washington Chapter Educational Conference at Ocean Shores continue to inform my work and my discussions with clients. Usually I stay in Seattle for my continuing education credits—we are fortunate here; there is no need to travel for excellent instructors—but because I had a significant practice anniversary this fall, I decided to treat myself to a conference in a new location. I loved friendly Ocean Shores and the seminars were fantastic.

This time I chose discussion vs. hands-on training. For years I’ve dragged my table to classes and spent the weekend getting dressed and undressed under a sheet (LMTs practice on each other). While hands-on work is wonderful, this time I wanted to sit wrapped in a cozy sweater and soak in the knowledge. It was a perfect strategy. I learned more about massage for elders, and more ideas for self-care for longevity in massage therapy careers. It was thrilling to be among LMTs with two years of experience and some with forty. Everyone had wisdom to share.

One class I took because I knew nothing about the subject—topical cannabis creams, oils and lotions, often called “CBD” creams. We learned about the history of cannabis; its use around the world and in the United States; when and why it became illegal, and the biology and science of the cannabis plant. We learned the rules and regulations for its use, the indications and contraindications for clients and massage therapists, and how to incorporate cannabis topicals into our practices legally and ethically in Washington if we want to go that route. This is new, uncharted territory, and much research still needs to happen to understand exactly these topicals work. At present, I don’t plan to use CBD creams or lotions in my practice—there are too many different kinds and there is not one universal one that works for all. But because the creams are popping up everywhere. Bartells’! The local mailing center! I feel good knowing I can have an informed discussion about them with clients.

All-in-all the weekend was a success — I returned recharged, looking ahead and ready to continue my massage practice into the next twenty years!