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Yes, I’m in pain. Believe it or not, it pains me to write negatively about the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. I am personally acquainted with many of the people who work there, from the CEO, Mike Williams, on down, to Board members, staff members and volunteers. I count some of them among my friends. I know for a fact that they are dedicated and hard-working people.

I’ve been NCTMB since 2000 and an approved provider of CE since 2002. I’ve seen the ups and the downs of the organization: the days of great service, and the days of bad service. I’ve seen the leaders who had the best interests of the profession at  heart–and one or two who were on a personal mission to bring down the organization with their wild spending and lack of professional ethics. And I’ve seen–and even been a party to–some of their missteps. A couple of years ago when they announced an advanced certification exam, I signed right on. I even appeared in an advertising campaign for it, along with quite a few other well-known massage therapists, educators, and even some illustrious physicians. The failure of that project, I believe, was because it was a general thing, and not a specialty certification–which the profession has been requesting for quite some time.

CEO Mike Williams responded to my Wish List blog last week. I met Williams at the AFMTE meeting a couple of months ago and spent a very enjoyable couple of hours talking with him one-on-one. I hear (from other folks, he wasn’t bragging) that he has a proven track record of helping floundering organizations get back on track. He even joked to me that he had learned everything he needed to know about the NCB from reading my blog.

You can’t please all of the people all of the time, and I know that just from the comments I receive on this blog. However, distress at their latest action seems to be shared by more than a few people. The NCBTMB sent out an application for a new assigned school code to massage schools this week. Now, the organization has required a school code since the beginning; it’s just a number that students must include on their application to sit for one of the NCB exams, and it is supposed to demonstrate that the school is legitimate. That’s good in theory; and I think the original intent was to keep schools and/or individuals from falsifying diplomas and transcripts.READ MORE...

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Comment by Rob Buckley on August 14, 2012 at 8:15pm

Hello Laura,

Thanks for sharing your post and insights, very useful. I wanted to give a little bit of insight on the human trafficking and massage issue from my perspective: Nepal is one of the new areas of real problem for this, and they estimate between 10,000 to 15,000 every * year * are victims of this. It's a result of 11 years of civil, and still no constitution or functioning government, so the predators do what they do and they take advantage. Some of our students at Himalayan Healers are recovering from human trafficking, and the journey they move through is profound in terms of personal healing and growth. By learning massage in a healthy, safe, respecting environment they are able to let their guards down and to touch and be touched in a healthy way. I can't tell you what a dramatic difference it makes and you can see physical changes over time, along with dramatic emotional healing and growth.

What I wanted to bring up in regards to human trafficking in America: the massage parlors, nail salons, and back alley locations that use "massage" signboards and services for the victims of human trafficking that they control do NOT send their women to massage schools. So... it's of course great the NCB and others bring up awareness of the issue, but... it's definitely off topic (and illogical, crazy, misguided) to think that the pimps and criminals that engage in human trafficking would risk exposure and their funds and time to send the women and children they control to a massage school to learn massage. Just wanted to share my thoughts.

Look forward to seeing you next year in San Diego, hope you have a great day... :) Rob

Comment by Sean Vierra on August 13, 2012 at 6:48pm

Laura, this is somewhat off topic (yet related), but could we chat about how one might go about becoming a CE provider? Either with the NCBTMB or otherwise? If you have any info I would greatly appreciate it. :)

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