On October 10, ABMP is bringing renowned myoskeletal therapist Erik Dalton to members in an exclusive, live, online event, and the initial preparations are leaving me starstruck. I’m standing in a huge, dimly lit ballroom staring at a stage illuminated with spotlights. Giant screens to my left and right flash close-up images of the action at a single massage table in the middle of the stage. In a vast plane, across the long length of the ballroom floor, more than 100 massage tables are organized four rows deep while therapists, working almost in sync with the man on the stage, apply techniques and bend to receive the whispered feedback of their practice bodies. There is a deep silence. I can only hear the constant rustling of bodies on massage tables. I feel a surge of adrenaline flood my body. I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’ve been in the massage profession for 20 years. Next to me videographer Eric Brown starts shooting.
“Wow,” he says simply.
“Wow,” I agree.
We are in Oklahoma City to shoot video for an ambitious project: "Solving Today's Pain and Injury Puzzle," with undisputed master practitioner Erik Dalton. ABMP is going to make learning Erik's hands-on techniques accessible to thousands of massage therapists at one time, by leveraging the power of the internet. We are going to give every one of our ABMP members the chance to train with Erik Dalton and earn 6 hours of CE—for free!
I’ll be honest. I know Erik Dalton the legend, but I don’t know Erik Dalton the practitioner or his work. I’m not a person who gets starstruck. When people have mentioned Erik to me in the past, it’s been with a tone of awe that has put me off. Also, at some point, I got it into my head that his work is outside the scope of practice for massage therapists. In fact, I’ve been worried about this even as I’ve done the preparation for this video shoot.
Now, watching him demonstrate the techniques, I see my concerns were unfounded. The work is soft-tissue manipulation at its very finest. It is absolutely in the massage-therapy scope, but so inventive and dynamic that I find myself moving toward the stage transfixed. “Our members are going to go wild for this stuff,” I say to Eric Brown. He nods and says, “And so are their clients.”
We spend three days shooting at the live event in Oklahoma City and talk to scores of participants to get their take on the work, and to find out how they use the techniques in their practices. We meet Erik’s staff of event managers and teachers, and I have the opportunity to interview Erik at his home and meet his wife Teri. Then, the following week, Erik joins me in Colorado for a video shoot at the ABMP offices with a small group of six therapists. We want to make sure we can capture the techniques, close up, so our members can practice right along with Erik—stroke by stroke.
It’s been three months since I was in Oklahoma City and the online event is coming up October 10. Now, I sit watching the first draft of the opening session of the online workshop and smiling. It looks great! This group effort is so well organized and presented that therapists will really be able to learn these techniques through their computer screens. They’ll be able to ask Erik questions and see him streaming live and answering. Nothing like this has ever been attempted in the massage profession before, and it’s going to be impressive. Our members are going to love it!
This project and Erik Dalton’s amazing techniques will stay with me. These methods will benefit the small band of rock climbing friends who comprise my unofficial massage practice. Beyond the work, Erik Dalton’s passion for the body and ingenious spirit will stay with me. This is a man who really knows how to teach hands-on methods. This is a man who knows the body inside out and who wants to share his knowing with everyone. This is a man, so generous with the work, that every person who trains with him or works for him feels seen, heard, valued, and supported. This guy is massage magic! I smile to myself. Oh! Look at that: I’m a little starstruck!
If you’re an ABMP member, watch your inbox this week for the special invitation to participate. If you’re not an ABMP member, you should join ABMP now to participate. Only ABMP members have access to this unique event.
—Anne Williams is ABMP’s director of education.