Together, We Will Rise

A special message from AMTA's President, Angela Barker

By Angela Barker, May 1, 2020

As I come to you today, I realize, now more than ever, how fragile the balance between health and illness really is in our world. I, like so many of you, suspended my practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I sent the therapists in my clinic home, locked my door and then waited.

I waited for information. I waited for answers. I waited for the moment I could return to my treatment room where the world makes sense. I, like many of you, had my breakdowns. I had my moments of frustration and concern. I had my moments where all I could do was ask myself: “How is this really real?” But being the consummate optimist, those moments were short-lived, and I would force myself to find the proverbial silver lining in the midst of it all.

Through all of the confusion, frustration and unknown, I kept remembering what a fellow therapist had said about massage therapy.

A Profession of Community and Hope

Just weeks before COVID-19 changed our world, I had the opportunity to attend AMTA’s 2020 Schools Summit. During one of the sessions, a massage school owner shared that he taught his students that what we as massage therapists give our clients, and each other, is hope. In the moment, I thought that sentiment was lovely. But now, reflecting back, I couldn’t agree more.

Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. As massage therapists, we give this feeling to our clients every single day. We give hope for less pain, less anxiety and an overall better quality of life. We give hope to those facing injury, illness and addiction. We give hope to expectant mothers, cancer survivors—and even athletes.

These recent events, however, have given me a clear understanding of what hope means for massage therapists, as well as AMTA’s role in providing that hope. Throughout these trying times, AMTA leadership worked diligently to maintain and restore hope for all massage therapists.

Our team, your team, has continued to provide resources that can benefit our members and the whole profession. And all of us have been motivated by a desire to help our members who we know are hurting financially, personally and professionally as we have endured with everyone in the world a very real challenge. Moving forward, you can be sure that AMTA will work to give you the best information and resources for your practice and your professional future.

I want to be clear as your President: AMTA has and will continue to support our members and the entire profession of massage therapy. Your association is not only working to protect you and your practice, but is working to give you hope. Hope that will allow us to not only survive this virus but thrive and come out stronger and better.

In the Summer 2020 issue of Massage Therapy Journal, you’ll find features that we hope ground you in the strength of the massage therapy profession and provide you with hope for the future of the profession we love, the profession that, among everything that’s changing fast, remains constant.

From how massage therapy can benefit mental health, reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality to easy self-care stretches you can do at home, we want to remind you that the work you do matters. You matter.

I believe in AMTA, and I believe in our members to rise above every challenge we face now and in the future. I believe in lifting one another up, and speaking words of encouragement and understanding. I believe in our AMTA family and the entire massage community. I believe in the limitless power a community has when it works together.

And, I believe in hope.