Our Roots

By Leslie Young
[Editor's Note]

Last spring I was excited to visit Alexandria, Virginia, for the annual ABMP School Issues Forum. The area is steeped in history and I was surprised to learn I had a great aunt there—in Arlington National Cemetery. The calendar seems to be turning more quickly lately and I’m becoming more interested in my roots.

Born in 1904, Aunt Minnie died about eight months after I was born. Had life been different, she and I would have been fast friends. She had a tenacious spirit that helped her survive the lean ’30s and ’40s. She only lived to age 57.

I see this search for historical significance going on in our profession as well. First, there’s Judi Calvert’s dedication for collecting massage-related antiques. She and her late husband, Robert, started gathering items in 1985 and opened the World of Massage Museum in 2004. But, according to Calvert, the timing wasn’t right and the museum was short-lived. “Therapists were not ready to honor their history at that time,” she says. Her collection includes more than 4,000 pieces and she’s thinking about selling it. First, she’s chronicling it on video and structuring a history of massage continuing education class.

Also, Mike Hinkle, father of the World Massage Festival, is gathering interest in a historic repository called the Massage Therapy Project. “I am inspired every time I hear of the old days of massage and I ask, ‘Where can I see that information?’ The answers make me understand why this information … should be compiled. We will create a place for our history.”

Hinkle partnered with the Boulder College of Massage Therapy in
Colorado to house and catalogue the donations. He’s planning on debuting
the initial efforts this spring. For more information or to contribute items, visit www.mtproject.org.

When speaking to Calvert and Hinkle about their projects, it’s easy to feel their passion. But time and finances being what they are in 2011, theirs are tough journeys. Just as I trekked the rolling hills of Arlington to trace my roots, these two aren’t about to be swayed.

Have you thought about your professional roots? If you’re a new practitioner, what are you searching for in the story of massage? If you’ve been practicing a decade or two, what’s your legacy? Share your ideas in the Massage & Bodywork group on www.massageprofessionals.com.


Leslie A. Young, Editor in Chief