Winter 2016-17 Newsletter

Beyond Technique

by David Hammond LMT West Burke, Vermont

When I got the news that I had been chosen to receive this year’s AMTA-VT Annual Continuing Education Scholarship, I thought, oh cool – I can learn some new techniques, expand my massage repertoire – add to my bag of tricks.  What I had no idea of was that taking Kate Peck’s “Myofascial Scar Release for Burn Scars” workshop was to be a profound experience.  The weekend at Lake Morey would prove to be a deeply moving one – one that touched my soul – one that shifted my perspective on suffering and that renewed my awe of the capacity of human beings to endure unimaginable hardship and still come out with love, grace, dignity and even humor.

Though nominally being taught by a competent, well-informed, seasoned professional with a lot to give, our true teachers came in a different form. We were blessed by the presence of four survivors of horrific, cruel, close to fatal burn injuries.  To say that their bodies and beings had gone through hell is a feeble understatement.  They stood before us – disfigured, scarred, pained, stared at and shunned.  They were beautiful, brave souls there to help us.

These two ladies and two men are indomitable spirits.  They are SURVIVORS.  They carry the light of love and they were there to help us learn. Their willingness to share their histories, and to welcome even the most personal of questions was astounding –  their courage inspiring – their outlooks and ability to laugh in spite of it all, humbling – their grace and kindness almost heart breaking.

And through it all, it was never really a notion of learning new techniques to be performed or of what we could be doing to help.  This was more an exercise in BEING.  Being truly present with our fellow human beings – conduits for a healing process through which we gained at least as much as we might be giving.

Yes, these special souls were being tended to by a battery of lovely, caring massage therapists, but is was we who were being given this touching opportunity to receive their gifts – their open willingness to be vulnerable and available on our tables – to trust us enough to put their selves in our hands.

At one point, one of our volunteers (a spunky young lady of 60 who has a great sense of humor and a daily yoga practice among other things) was asked where she found the inner strength that sustains her through all of this.  “Gratitude,” she replied, with no hesitation.  These people, we were reminded repeatedly, are NOT burn victims.  They are SURVIVORS.  They feel blessed. (Let that sink in for a moment.) And we were blessed to have spent the weekend with them.  And for this, I AM DEEPLY GRATEFUL – thank you !!!

Attendees and burn survivors at the 2016 Education Event


HOD 2016

This year, House of Delegates was quite different than usual. Since there were no recommendations nor position statements for us to vote on, the HODOC (National House of Delegates Operating Committee) took full advantage of this opportunity to hear directly from the State Delegates and Alternates about the expectations and responsibilities of HOD.

We broke up into small groups, where we had ample time to discuss exactly what we  believe has been working well and what needs improvement, within the overall governance of our association and then shared our thoughts. It seems overwhelmingly the responses were very positive. There was a recurrent theme that we need increased communication between our national parent/umbrella assn and the individual State Chapters, in addition to the need for increased communication within each chapter.

CVOP and Sports Massage
by Denise Gebroe

The AMTA National Convention this year was super exciting for me. It’s great to be surrounded by like minded people that share the same career. I felt recharged when I returned home, enough so that I decided it was time for me to make the big leap and open my own practice. I was inspired and felt extremely supported by my massage “family”. The week of convention started with a 2-day conference on volunteerism and ramping people up to help create teamwork. I learned how many different types of personalities can join together and get things done faster. The CVOP educators had us work in groups building with tinker toys to demonstrate these examples. It’s important to utilize different personality types so that a broad spectrum of people can help get many things accomplished. As the new Sports Chair, I will undoubtedly need all the information I learned from CVOP to rally some troops to better support all the amazing activities for athletes that we have here in Vermont. My big event this year will be to work with athletes at the Vermont 50, taking place at Ascutney, the very mountain where I teach conditioning classes. I will also be helping out with the Prouty, and hopefully the Vermont City Marathon. I will be searching for whoever wants to join forces with me to help all the amazing athletes out there. I took continuing education at the National Convention and plan to utilize those very techniques that I learned. If anyone is interested in joining the Vermont Sports Massage Team and helping support athletes in and around Vermont, please contact me at: