What Should We Do Different, More, Start and Stop? Systematic Collection and Dissemination of Massage Education Stakeholder Views from the 2017 Alliance for Massage Therapy Educational Congress†

Niki Munk PhD, LMT, Jasmine Dyson-Drake, BS, Diane Mastnardo, LMT


Introduction: The Future of MT and Bodywork Forum, held July 27 during the 2017 Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) Educa-tional Congress in Tucson, Arizona, systematically gathered the thoughts and opinions of various massage education stakeholders through an exercise following the principles of the World Café model.

Methods: Forum attendees participated in three, concurrent 30-minute Breakout Group Sessions (Rounds) in three different adjacent rooms, focused on Continuing Education, Schools, or Employment. During each session, participants rotated for 3, 2.5, 2, and 1.5 min-utes between four tables, asking what should be stopped, started, done differently, or changed in massage education related to the focus topic. Participants recorded their responses in marker on large Post-it® notes (3M, Maplewood, MN). These were reviewed by each of that round’s participants who awarded “importance points” to each response, with 6 blue and 3 orange dots each worth 1 and 3 points, respectively. The Post-it® notes with comments and point alloca-tions were transcribed into a data spreadsheet and analyzed for descriptive statistics and top scoring comments from each room.

Results: 85–91 attendees participated in the three breakout sessions resulting in 674 comments with 3,744 assigned value points. The top five scor-ing comments from each room per session (N = 45) determined stakeholder’s most critical views. Stop comments made up the smallest total comments proportion (19%), yet largest top scoring com-ment proportion (36%)—potentially highlighting unified frustration for various massage education practices. Comparatively, Start comments made up 26% of total comments, but the smallest high-est scoring proportion (18%)-perhaps suggesting stakeholders feel it more important to improve what is already being done rather than beginning new endeavors in these areas.

Conclusion: Stakeholder opinions on the future of massage therapy education can be system-atically gathered in large conference settings and organized, analyzed, and disseminated to inform field decision-making.


therapeutic massage; community participatory research; REDCap; massage education; massage policy; medical-based massage therapy; massage regulation; massage standards

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3822/ijtmb.v12i1.441

International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
ISSN 1916-257X