Recently I had the opportunity to attend a symposium
of integrative medicine professionals in New Mexico. Since I was
there representing National as an exhibitor, I did not attend the
many exciting and innovative workshops, but I did speak to many
exciting and innovative health care practitioners who are inspired
to bring their practices to another level in patient care. Making
the adventure even more interesting was the diversity of the
participants. In attendance and conducting workshops were MDs,
PhDs, RNs, dietitians, chiropractors, naturopaths, nutritionists,
oriental medicine practitioners, acupuncturists, and yes, massage
Of most interest to me was the fact
that a good portion of the workshops were lead or assisted by MDs.
I think that I have unfairly grouped MDs together as practitioners
who prefer to work with other MDs and shun complementary and
alternative care providers. Nothing could have been further from
the truth in this setting. If I were from Mars and came to earth
for the first time landing smack dab in the middle of this group I
would feel their unity, their deep and abiding desire to help and
nurture. and be very impressed with the quality of care offered to
The only things that resembled any
other conference or symposium that I've ever attended were a
continental breakfast, refreshment breaks and lunch on your own!
Seriously, this was so far off the beaten path and so intense in
its purity and energy that I felt privileged to rub elbows with
these forward thinking professionals.
The first day started with a keynote
presentation on the future of integrative medicine. Workshops
included: Integrative Pain Management; Mindfulness Based Stress
Reduction; Native American Healing Practices; and Mexican Folk
Healing. The afternoon sessions concentrated on cardiology with an
Integrative Cardiology; Yoga Therapy for Cardiovascular Health; and
Prayer, Healing and the Soul. Day two covered oncology and
pediatrics and these sessions included: Chinese Herbal Medicine in
Integrative Oncology; Restorative Qualities of Oncology Massage,
Yoga for Breast Cancer; Chiropractic Medicine in Adults and
Children; Homeopathy in Daily Practice; Healing with Hypnotherapy
in Children; and Indigenous Healing Traditions.
Day three addressed women's health
issues including nutrition, osteoporosis, chronic stress, and core
strength. The symposium concluded with a look at integrative
pharmacy with workshops that included The Herbal Kitchen, Ayurvedic
Pharmacy, and a Botanicals Panel.
Being a huge supporter of
complementary and alternative care, I was in awe of the amount of
information that was exchanged by these leaders in integrative
medicine. There was an outpouring of support for one another, an
eagerness to learn from each other, and a yearning to create a new
model of health care together.
Some of the additional benefits
offered at this conference were sunrise yoga and meditation at 6:30
am. Our continental breakfast had background music from a harpist
one day and a flutist another - and there wasn't a sweet roll or
donut in sight. Complementary chair massages were offered by
students of the massage program at the University of New Mexico.
One evening there was a community ritual for healing offered
offsite at the Dragonfly Sanctuary and participants were asked to
fast for the day for optimal success. There was much buzz the next
morning about how extraordinary the experience had been.
The best part for me was meeting
massage therapists who use their practices to improve the health of
their clients and, in this setting, were accepted and respected for
their part in integrative care. As groups like this one take up the
challenge to engage their patients in a wide variety of holistic
care, massage therapy will be elevated to its proper position in
the health care system.
So get on
board and explore the possibilities of this profession - the sky is
the limit! Join the growing list of professionals who call
themselves massage therapists and use touch as their healing art.
We make it easy for you with our Intro to Massage mini course where
you can be a student for two weeks, fall in love with the
profession and unleash your inner healer.