Why the 15th annual Canadian Massage Conference is the most important one yet…

By Amanda Cooke

September 22nd-25th, 2022 is quickly approaching and to some of you, it’s just another weekend. To myself and my 3 partners, this particular weekend has been on our minds for over a year. For the last 2 years, due to the pandemic and the pandemic response, humans have not been able to congregate in large groups. That could have stopped conferences all together but human beings are resourceful, social creatures and we figured out a way to remain connected throughout a very challenging, and for some, traumatic, time in history. The last 2 Canadian Massage Conferences went ahead, virtually, so that we could try to maintain some normalcy, provide inspiration and education to the hardworking therapists in our profession, and keep the Massage Therapy Community together. Despite our best efforts, and seemingly successful virtual conferences, most of us can attest that it just wasn’t the same.

Now I am not saying that we didn’t have a great time. I could not have been prouder of the extra efforts and hard work from our presenters, to our sponsors and virtual exhibitors, and all of the volunteers behind the scenes making sure that every shot had the best camera angles, lighting, and audio so that all of you at home could still get an incredible conference. But as Massage Therapists, we not only work predominantly in isolation, we are also lovers of humans and safe human touch, none of which can be translated the same through screens. We made a pact last year that the CMC would come back for 2022 IN PERSON and bring back the excitement and feeling of community that was just shy of enough with the virtual shows. For us, this year symbolizes a rebuilding of something that was depleted to rubble, but can be brought back to life if the entire community pitches in to revive it.


Concerts, sporting events, and festivals have all made a comeback in 2022 and it’s refreshing to see. With that said, there are still sections of our community that have not felt ready to reintegrate into society again, or have grown accustomed to watching from behind a screen. Aside from that, people’s businesses have taken a hit, money is tight, inflation is high, and a lot of us are still dealing with a feeling of loss, of whatever you may have lost, over the past couple of years. We get it. We hear you. We have spent the last 2 years listening and want you to know that the conference is designed this year with you in mind. We want you to get the most bang for your buck, the most variety, the best quality of education, the inspiration needed to bring life back into your practice, and the reconnection to remind you that you’re not alone. The Massage Therapy community is filled with some of the BEST people, at the center of healthcare, who want to be the best version of themselves for their patients. Let us be a part of that growth. I’m going to tell you how we plan to do that and what will be different at this year’s CMC.


NEW LOCATION

The CMC has traditionally been held in Burlington, at a beautiful location. This year, we had to find a new venue and decided to try for a more central location that may appeal to more therapists. We will be at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North just off of highway 404, on highway 7. We are surrounded by other hotels, restaurants, and bars making it more appealing to spend the weekend. This location is also easier for those coming from North of Toronto, or any direction really being right off of a major highway and close to public transportation. We have access to 2 large ballrooms which we have converted to 4 classrooms for our amazing presenters, and 2 large hallways to run our tradeshow which will include products and equipment sales, as well as ongoing demonstrations from some of our presenters and vendors.


NEW FORMAT

Each year, the CMC has had one pre-conference day, a free student and educator day with a student panel, and 2 days of pre-registered classes. We have slightly altered the format to allow for more variety, more networking, and to give a stage to new, up and coming educators who are doing amazing things in our profession. We have also included some presenters from other professions to offer an interdisciplinary perspective. So, what’s new? Instead of a pre-conference day, we are now offering 3 full days of education to choose from. Each of these 3 days will have classes ranging from 1 hour to 3 hours and even some 4-to-7-hour options. This will allow you to purchase a 1- or 3-day pass and have the opportunity to hear from a wider range of presenters with a variety of topics. As well, what would have normally been the FREE student and educator day, is now still FREE for students and educators but also a free-for-all so to speak. Friday September 23rd we will be mixing it up and introducing a whole new series- Massage Therapy Media Talks and Massage Therapy Media Demos.


MASSAGE THERAPY MEDIA

Who are Massage Therapy Media? Massage Therapy Media is a brand-new company that will be both sponsoring part of the conference as well as producing it going forward. One Concept group has been putting on this show for the last 15 years. In 2020, One Concept Group as well as the owners of ConEd Institute, started to work together to make the virtual conferences a reality. After 2 years of working together, these two companies decided it would be in the best interest of the entire Massage Therapy Community to join forces and keep the momentum of education and entertainment alive in our profession. Massage Therapy Media hosts a variety of educators and content creators on our platform with TV channels dedicated to different aspects of our profession ranging from techniques, to exercise, from interviews to Reality TV. The publications section has a quarterly magazine, blogs, articles, and podcasts from some awesome people in our profession. We also offer member benefits such as business consultations, legal consultations, discounts on products, equipment, professional liability insurance, supplemental insurance, and even practice management software. With all of that good stuff, the one thing we didn’t want to lose was the networking. This is where the good stuff happens. We wanted Massage Therapy Media to be the force to continue to bring people together. The new MTM talks series will feature short, inspirational, and educational lectures by therapists from all corners of the Massage Therapy profession. These talks will be happening in the main hall while the other rooms will have interactive demos happening ranging from pre-natal, to athletic therapy, taping, to exercise. This entire day will not require pre-registering to join in. With a CMC pass, therapists are free to roam the hotel and pop in and out of talks and demos that interest them, as well as networking on our tradeshow floor.



NIGHTLY COCKTAIL RECEPTIONS

I’ve been going on and on about connection, community, and networking. Of course, when attending a conference, you want to ensure you get the chance to register for all of the classes you want to participate in. We have such a wide range of topics and presenters that I can’t blame you. But then what? After each exhilarating day of education, we invite you all to stay on the tradeshow floor and network with all of the other attendees, us the organizers, our sponsors, our vendors, and of course our fabulous presenters. The goal of the CMC 2022 is to bring us together to share ideas, listen, learn, make connections, and leave feeling inspired for the next year. Our nightly cocktail receptions are open to all who want to keep the fun going!


INTERNATIONAL MASSAGE EXPO

Something we are super excited to share with you all this year is the International Massage Expo. Massage Therapy Media, as well as our podcast, 2 Massage Therapists and a Microphone, has allowed us to be exposed to Massage and bodywork around the world. In the day and age of social media, and most things being available online, therapists are getting a chance to showcase what they do in their practice. There are even Massage Championships that take place in different places globally to allow Massage and Bodyworkers to demonstrate their approach to therapy and learn from their peers. We wanted to give Massage Therapists a small glimpse into some styles of therapy or modalities used around the world. On Saturday September 24th, during our nightly cocktail reception, we will have demos of international therapy happening live. We hope this will be an event we can continue in the future.


VENDORS, SPONSORS, PRESENTERS, AND SPEAKERS

For a full list of who will be at this year’s CMC, you can always visit www.oneconcept.com where we have the full schedule posted, as well as the different ticket options available. But I must talk about some of the wonderful people that will be joining us. ConEd Institute of course will be there and we will be joined by other educators from around the world such as AIM Academy, Center for Pain Management, D’Ambrogio Institute, Cupping Canada, Holistic College Dublin, Trimesters Massage Therapy Education, Osteo University, Rock Tape, and more! This year we have more educators than ever before as well as some brand new faces both in the classrooms and on the stage during the MTM talks and demos. We also have some awesome product and equipment vendors such as Cardon Rehab, Cryoderm Canada, our friends with the Dolphin Neurostim, Western Therapeutic Supply, Vitality Depot and more. Familiar faces such as Massage Addict, Hand and Stone, and Advantage Insurance Brokers will be there as well to answer any questions you may have. I cannot express my excitement enough about some of the newer presenters and speakers at the CMC this year including Andre DeCairos; Athletic Therapist and Perinatal therapist, Janette Yee; Athletic Therapist, RMT, and CSMTA Sport Fellow, Jason White who recently returned from the 2022 Commonwealth Games; Registered Kinesiologist, Magda Lewandowski; one of the founders of Sutherland Chan, Grace Chan; Business Strategist, Joanna Sapir; Chiropractor Dr. Glen Harris; Registered Physiotherapist, Sarah Hull; RMT/ RKin Dylan Crake- RMTAO board member and creator of the Anatomy Trading Cards; Cindy McNeely; Julie Pouliot; and still more! Alongside this impressive lineup we are bringing back some old faves such as James Waslaski, Dr. Kerry D’Ambrogio, Terra Nicolle, Sean-Michael Latimour, Brad Norris, and more. To kick off our Friday events, we will even have the Executive Director and CEO of the RMTAO, Michael Feraday, giving an address.

This first in person conference signifies the beginning of a new era in Massage Therapy education. We want to give everyone a voice, everyone a stage, and everyone a purpose. This profession has such a wide range of talents and abilities, and we can learn so much from coming together, networking, and listening to therapists who work in a variety of settings. Please join us for the 15th annual Canadian Massage Conference and let’s bring the Massage Therapy Community together. We cannot wait to see you there!