AMTA OR Newsletter Fall 2019

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Sunset in Waldport, OR. Photo: Mark Retzlaff

Editor’s Note:


Aaron Gustafson, LMT, CAMT II, Digital Media Production/Newsletter Editor AMTA-OR

-In this Issue: The leaves are turning and night is about to tip the scales on day. I hope you have enjoyed this beautiful Oregon Summer! Another fun Big Float and Summer Social are in the books. I’m sad I missed them this year as I’ve been busy getting my first kiddo off to College (It’s kinda freaking me out, but let’s not tell her.). I’m looking forward to getting back in my AMTA groove as a Delegate @ National Convention in Indianapolis this October. There are photos of the Summer’s activities throughout the newsletter and I’ve finished the videos from April’s AMTA-OR convention. We’re releasing them in the next couple newsletters, starting with: Therapeutic Relationships: Tara McManaway LCPC– Scroll to the bottom of the newsletter to check it out, or click to go straight there.

President Mark’s note explores the new Pain CE requirement and diversity in our field, plus what to look forward to at 2020 state convention.

Julie Crispin updates what’s happening in Salem with the ongoing OBMT CE & Chiropractor’s Assistant Issues in the Government Relations Report.

Membership #’s Update

I look forward to seeing you at the Fall and Winter Events.

Aaron Gustafson

Computing the year to come. Board members (left to right) Gamble Velimirovic, Christina Weber, Mark Retzlaff, Kelly Cormier, Amie McCormick and Britney Von Trapp getting it done.

President’s Note:

Mark Retzlaff LMT, AMTA-OR Chapter President

Massage Therapy is Healthcare AND MORE

Hello Oregon LMTs and friends! It’s been an eventful summer for Oregon Chapter volunteers. Between our Government Relations efforts, hosting social events, travelling for leadership meetings, keeping up with membership and administrative duties, and planning upcoming education events, there’s a lot to do! I’m so grateful for our team of volunteers that make this job so rewarding and fun. If you have a commitment to the massage profession, we would love to have you join us in providing leadership for our community. Please email me at to learn more!

One recent change for LMTs in Oregon is that our licensing board has adopted a free, online CE course in pain management created by the Oregon Health Authority. It is a one-time requirement, so it only affects your next renewal. We advocated for this change because we think it is a step towards integrating massage therapy into healthcare, which is a part of the mission of our chapter

It has been interesting to see the reaction to this new requirement. Many LMTs are appreciating that massage therapy is being recognized as a part of the solution to the opioid crisis. Taking the same course that is required for most other healthcare providers in Oregon adds to the legitimacy of our profession, and the course helps us to establish a common language when talking with clients about pain. But not everyone loves new education requirements! I’ve also seen a few comments about the burden of additional rules and some LMTs saying that the information isn’t relevant to their practice.

These different reactions highlight an issue I’ve written about before, which is the multi-faceted nature of massage therapy. AMTA Oregon members practice in many different environments, and provide many different types of services. Some are focused on symptom relief and relaxation, others on movement and awareness, and the list goes on. Some of us incorporate tools, modalities, and traditional medicine approaches as well. One of the joyful parts of being a massage therapist is developing and refining a unique skillset and style that reflects the practitioner’s interests, values, and character. 

That strength can also be a challenge when we consider that we have just one license to regulate many different kinds of massage. LMTs that work under the supervision of other healthcare professionals have different responsibilities than those of us who work independently. Spa massage can look a lot different than massage given in a hospital or clinic. We currently have one set of standards for all LMTs, and that can lead to some conflicts when we consider what the standards should be. 

That said, I hope we can all agree on this: while some massage therapists focus their practice on the medically-complex, ALL massage therapy in Oregon is healthcare. Every client we see brings with them their history, illness, pain, injury, uncertainty, and questions. No matter where we practice, our clients trust us with their health and expect us to be knowledgeable, professional, and ethical. We have an obligation to take our status as healthcare providers seriously. And part of that obligation includes continuing to educate ourselves on the evolving art and science of massage therapy, and incorporating that knowledge within our unique practice style. 

All of these thoughts are running through my mind as we plan our next Chapter Convention – April 18-19th at the new East West College location in downtown Portland! Gamble Velimirovic, our education chair, and I are planning to bring in massage educators with experience in medical environments like oncology, hospice, geriatrics, and hospitals. We know that not every LMT wants to work in those settings, but we think all LMTs can benefit from the advanced skills that these settings demand. I really hope you join us next April for an informative and inspiring event!

Mark Retzlaff

AMTA OR volunteers working hard and having fun under their favorite shady tree at The Big Float.
The Big Float is on! Huge shout-out to all the volunteers that showed up to to make it great.  Join us next year!

AMTA OR members and their families enjoy Oaks Park at the Summer Social.


Important Links:

-Get the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists Boarderline newsletters by clicking here.

All ready for the Medford Member Social.

AMTA-OR Government Relations Report:

AMTA-OR Government Relations Chair: Julie Crispin LMT, BCTMB, CMLDT

AMTA Oregon has been busy this summer attending meetings, hosting social events and working with various health boards in the State. Since our last newsletter, the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists “called up” the standing committees in Rule, Education and Scope. Some former committee members agreed to come back and serve and the OBMT appointed several new members to each of these committees. These committees have met once and begun to address the proposed changes regarding the license renewal and continuing education requirements. The committees are scheduled to meet again at the end of September. I just attended the OBMT traveling meeting in Medford, Oregon and had the privilege of sitting through the board strategic planning meeting. The job of Executive Director is currently being filled by Bob Ruark since Kate Coffey retired last year. The board will begin interviewing potential candidates to fill this position permanently.

We have been working with our GR team and lobbyist, Cindy Robert to negotiate with the Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners over our continued concerns about chiropractors using their chiropractic assistants to perform massage and bill insurance for those services. If you have been following this issue over the past few years, you know that we do not think that CA’s who have 12 hours of training (and very little formal hands on massage training) should be allowed to perform massage. We see this not only as a public safety concern but also encroaching on our Practice Act. We have have been trying to address our concerns to the OBCE for many years now with little success as the OBCE has continued to expand the CA job description in the Guide to Policy and Practice ( The loophole that the OBCE has been able to take advantage of is in our Practice Act that was written in the 1950’s with the intent to have doctors in a hospital setting direct medical personnel to perform comfort touch. We drafted a Senate Bill considered housekeeping in order to remove the language – “or under their supervision” –  from our Practice Act, but of course it was met with resistance from the chiropractic association lobbyist. The chair of the Senate Healthcare Committee, Senator Monnes Anderson, did not allow our bill to move forward and suggested we figure this out between the two professions. We recently proposed a solution that allowed those chiropractors who wanted to use CA’s to assist in preparing a patient for treatment to use pettrisage and effluerage but to make certain the patients had full disclosure that this was not massage and that it was not being performed by a Licensed Massage Therapist. See the letter and proposed rule language we offered here: Click here to read the letter.

The AMTA Oregon Government Relations committee will continue to monitor and advocate for the massage profession here in Oregon. If you are interested in learning more, or to get involved, please contact me at

– Julie Crispin, Government Relations Chair

Doing the work @ AMTA National Planning Meeting in Chicago.
After the work was done, there was still some time to see Chicago with our AMTA friends.

Education Chair’s Note:

Gamble Velimirovic, LMT, AMTA-OR Education Chair

Gamble has gotten up to speed quickly, organizing the 4-hour CE event for our November 2nd Traveling Board Meeting in Eugene:The Ethics of Client Communication: Talking to Clients About Their Health”, presented by Ruth Werner. She’s also working on next years’ Annual State Convention to bring together the topics Mark shared in his note. Stay tuned for more on the convention soon!

Gamble and Ruth Werner working out the details for November 2nd in Ruth’s studio.

Membership Update: Still Growing!

Britney von Trapp, LMT Membership Committee Chair

Happy September everyone! 

We are still hanging in the 2000’s with our active membership numbers at 2006 as of September 1st!
Thank you all for your membership and have a great fall ya’ll!

With appreciation,

Britney von Trapp

Connecting with colleagues and friends is the heart of AMTA Oregon.

Video: Therapeutic Relationships: Tara McManaway, LCPC.  46 minutes

Tara McManaway, M Div, LCPC, LMT is the Massage Therapy Program Coordinator at the College of Southern Maryland. She presented the keynote at the AMTA Oregon 2019 Convention, A Holistic Approach to Therapeutic Relationships.

Video produced by @Technesoma.

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