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24 May 2023 8:00 AM | WSMTA (Administrator)

By Dagmar Growe, LMT

I have been honored to serve my profession and my fellow massage therapists for the past 7 years as a board member of WSMTA. I love the connection to the amazing people who are leading this organization, and our members. When I started I didn’t know what a WAC was (the rules that govern our profession), or how to find them. My insurance billing was based on a mixture of rumor and guessing. And I felt a sense of isolation, as I was practicing mostly on my own. Stepping up and volunteering for WSMTA has been a huge benefit for me.

I am now in what I hope will be a drawn out final stage of a 30+ year career. As I am shifting my focus to things other than work and family, I have decreased my work time and canceled my health insurance contracts. I am traveling a lot and keep missing WSMTA meetings. I am losing my enthusiasm for taking on insurance companies.

Many of the folks who guide and protect our profession through their volunteer service for WSMTA, AMTA-WA, or the Board of Massage, have done this for 30+ years. They have brought us from being an obscure profession with a dubious reputation into the 21st century: We are accepted as healthcare providers, our patients seek our expertise for their health issues, doctors refer to us, and yes, well, insurance companies reimburse for our services – kind of. None of this has come easy, every step was fought for, and there is a constant pressure all around us to reverse this progress. Municipalities write codes that discriminate and aim to limit our scope of practice in the name of fighting human trafficking. Insurance companies try to limit coverage for massage therapy, or to make processes so cumbersome that we would give up and go away. I believe massage therapy as a healthcare modality does not have a future unless we keep fighting for it. There is an urgent need for younger therapists to be trained to step in to take our place as this current generation of therapists transitions out.

I have therefore decided to step down from my position as a WSMTA Board member and make room for someone who has a longer professional life ahead of them, and more energy and investment. Please notice that I did not mention “more time”, as just about nobody I know has extra time on their hands. However, a wise friend of mine once told me: “I don’t have time, I make time. For what’s important to me.” And my profession has always been important to me. I am planning to continue to be involved actively, mentoring younger therapists, giving more of my attention to South Sound LMTs, a local networking group that I have been part of since I first got licensed, and you might see the one or other article I feel compelled to write for WSMTA. As a lifetime member I will continue to be part of it, giving my time to the occasional project.

What does this position entail? Board members are also part of one of our programs (in my case Clinical Practice, there are also Membership and Government Relations). That’s 2 phone or zoom meetings a month, a total of about 4 hours, which count towards your continuing education hours. Whatever board members contribute beyond those meetings is mostly based on their interests and the time they are able to make available. My contribution has mostly consisted of writing articles, researching information, answering member questions, and taking minutes at meetings.

If you do care about our profession, and want to see it thrive in the future I very much encourage you to start volunteering now. Bylaws require that members serve actively for 6 months on one of the programs before being eligible to serve as a director. Please do not hesitate to nominate yourself or contact us to let us know in what function or area you would like to volunteer. Your service is needed to ensure the viability of our profession in the future.

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