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  • 10 Jun 2021 8:23 PM | WSMTA (Administrator)

    Hello WSMTA Community! My name is Aidan and I’m excited to be here. This is my first article, and hopefully with many more to come, I will be exploring and documenting the world of large animal massage. Specifically, we will be focusing on equine massage and bodywork – but I’m not saying only horses (and donkeys, mules, etc.), because if there’s a creature with four legs who weighs more than a Mastiff, we’re not going to rule them out of the discussion.

    I am a life-long “horse girl” and a fairly new massage therapist. I graduated from the Port Townsend School of Massage in 2019 and worked in a chiropractic office for six months before everything went to hell in a hand basket, as my mother would say. I left my job at the chiropractic office, and the income from my other job gave me the freedom to do some massage career soul-searching. I knew one thing for certain – I really did not want to go back to working for someone else. When it came time to restart my work, it would be on my own. It was on a Zoom call with a former teacher that I realized what was next for me – a combination of my education and skills as a massage therapist, and my passion and love for horses. That conversation helped me realize that an equine-centered massage business felt exciting, inspiring, and fulfilling.

    Most equine massage therapists only work on the animal, and not the rider. This is where I hope to come in an offer something a bit different – a service for both horses and riders. Unless you are an equestrian yourself, or you’ve ever spent significant time watching someone ride, you may not fully appreciate the physical relationship between a horse and rider. An instructor once summed up riding as “one unbalanced being on top of another unbalanced being, trying to be in balance,” and that really is about as succinct as it gets. The physical imbalances, limitations, injuries, strengths, and weaknesses of both horse and rider play off of each other constantly. The end goal is harmony, but we sometimes end up with what feels, and maybe looks, like disaster.

    As massage therapists, we know that the desire to achieve a perfectly balanced body is idealistic and not realistic. An admirable goal, perhaps, but not a functional one. One rider with significant imbalances, who regularly rides several horses, will eventually have all horses going in the same compensatory way to offset their own imbalances. By creating a practice that works on both bodies, I believe I can help riders balance their equations with their horse.

    In my next article I will be exploring some of the different modalities used by equine massage therapists, and what the licensure and governing bodies are in Washington State. If you have any specific questions or areas of interest that pertain to large animal massage, please send them over and I’ll work to cover them.

    Aidan Sievertson,  LMT

  • 9 May 2021 7:04 PM | WSMTA (Administrator)

    Annual Business Meeting and Continuing Education

    • June 27 2021 at 9:30AM - 2:30 PM
    • Zoom attendance is limited to 100 participants.
    • Free to members, must be a member to attend. To become a member JOIN HERE
    • 4 Continuing Education Credits

    Sustaining and Growing Your Business in Tough Times: Thinking Outside the Box During the Pandemic

    In this live, interactive webinar our presenters will present creative healthcare business models. Thinking outside the box, they will share the benefits and risks of various models as well as the underlying values that inspire them.

    Our presenters, from an array of healthcare practices, will inspire you to consider new ideas to grow your practice or recover from the effects of the pandemic.

    Annual Business Meeting

    • Results of the 2021 election of Directors.
    • Reports from WSMTA Clinical Practices, Government Relations, Membership Programs, and Treasurer. Our team of volunteers have been working especially hard for you and the profession this last year.

    Continuing Education Sessions

    Direct Primary Care (Concierge Service) by Dr. Richie

    Dr. Ritchie will describe the pros and cons of a Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice, and answer any questions you may have in case you are contemplating starting a DPC practice in the future within a massage or multidisciplinary setting. With DPC, also known as concierge service, the provider works directly for the patient, and insurance companies are not part of the equation. Since the provider does not have to hire multiple billers and coders to deal with insurance companies, she can see fewer patients and give more time and individualized attention to each patient. The hassle factor of a medical practice goes down dramatically.

    Biography: Samantha Ritchie M.D., is a family physician who retired from full time practice in 2019. Her 32 year career included working in a private practice, teaching at a family medicine residency, being the medical director at a rural healthcare clinic, and working for the last ten years in a direct primary care (DPC) practice.

    Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Supplemental Insurance Benefit Options - Taking Control of How Your Healthcare Dollars are Spent by Jessica Bradley 

    As healthcare providers and consumers of healthcare, it is important for massage therapists to understand the basics of supplemental health care accounts. There are a variety of tax advantages and reasons why you or your clients may wish to utilize options to set aside money to pay for healthcare expenses.  Also, these types of accounts can help increase your practice if you are willing to welcome clients into your practice that have supplemental healthcare accounts. This workshop will explain the basics of Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and employer sponsored Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association (VEBA) plans.

    Biography: Jessica J. Bradley has a Masters Degree in Public Administration and served as a labor relations adjudicator and mediator for over a decade. Jessica has assisted with negotiations of hundreds of contract negotiations involving health insurance benefit options and supplemental health benefit accounts. Jessica is now self-employed in Washington State as a small and large animal massage therapist (SAMP & LAMP).

    Widening Your Horizons and Adding Additional Services to Your Practice with Leslie Korn

    Dr. Leslie Korn will share her story beginning as a bodywork practitioner, expanding and evolving to an Integrative Medicine clinician, focused on mental health, somatic therapies & nutrition. She will describe her motivation to expand her education, knowledge base and income sources which led her to become an educator, author, mentor & supervisor. Leslie will also describe the opportunities for partnering with researchers & creating projects to increase access & deliver services to under-served communities which are funded by grants.

    Biography: Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH is a licensed psychotherapist, certified in Functional Nutrition, board-certified in both Polarity therapy and Bodywork and Massage therapy, and is a national board-approved clinical supervisor. She has a private practice where she works with clients to improve mental health and reduce or eliminate medications using natural medicines. She mentors clinicians who want to enter the field and provides supervision for clinicians in the field.  She is also director of research at the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a non-profit American Indian organization focusing on social justice and consultation to indigenous communities on revitalization strategies using traditional medicine, herbal and culinary practices.

    Developing and Running a Membership-Based Wellness Spa by Nicole Chryst, LMT 

    Nicole will describe the membership model and how she transitioned out of the typical pay-as-you-go model that most massage practices and clinics have.  Membership models require customized software to implement this business format.  Nicole will also describe how to accurately calculate the overhead expenses per massage treatment as well as discuss how to develop the online marketing and employee education that goes into making her wellness spa successful.

    Biography: Nicole has been an LMT since 2006.  In 2008, she created, Ballaura, a wellness spa that focuses on fitness, health and healing using an employee-based model.  Four years ago, Nicole transitioned Ballaura into a membership-based wellness spa.

  • 7 May 2021 12:39 PM | WSMTA (Administrator)

    How are you doing?

    By Dagmar Growe

    Thank you to all of you who responded to our question we posted in February. It provided some interesting insights into the challenges and opportunities our members have been facing during COVID-19. As expected, a number of LMTs saw their business evaporate overnight, especially those who specialized in the corporate and mobile massage. Many of you felt for various reasons uncomfortable to resume practice, and are struggling to make ends meet. We know that many LMTs have opted not to renew their licenses and are moving either temporarily or permanently out of the profession.

    But we also learned from some for whom COVID-19 created new opportunities. The decreased number of massage therapists has created a new demand for therapists. Patients and employers alike are looking for therapists. Most patients, especially those who have been vaccinated, have no hesitancy to receive massage therapy. Wearing a mask has become standard practice. Many of us have created efficient cleaning protocols. 

    If you are one of those who have rebuilt their business from scratch, if you are unhappy with the working conditions in your current place of work, or if you are simply just looking for a change, I encourage you to sign up for our annual conference: Sustaining and Growing Your Business in Tough Times: Thinking Outside the Box During the Pandemic.

    We are looking forward to connecting with you at the annual meeting. Until then please feel free to send us your questions and comments - we love to hear from you.

    Here is one especially encouraging story from a fellow LMT that responded.


    I hope this finds you well. 

    I appreciate being a part of this organization. 

    When Covid closed my practice in March of 2020, it was some hard learning and uncertainty about Covid itself and what it means to be in the healthcare profession during a pandemic, and "should I even be open?" However I was fortunate to receive unemployment and I'm so grateful for that. 

    I opened again in August 2020. The pandemic brought new costs, new complexity, new waivers, screening, and continual adaptation to what will work best for relative covid safety. Fortunately, at least to my knowledge, nobody that has come to my office nor myself contracted Covid.

    The lengths I went to educate myself and change my office and shared office suite area brought about an unexpected change. I raised my rates and for the first time, I feel solid in my fee, and have felt completely unapologetic or sheepish. Also, the risk to myself and doing the private practice anyway also gave me a greater sense of value in the work I provide people. What also contributed to this, I believe, is that so many other therapists were not working and people were happy and grateful to find that my doors were open. More demand than ever. 

    Feeling like I'm in demand does give me more confidence to do what I feel I need to do for the sake of the person's session, not for expectations of clients that I think I had spent too much time unconsciously being snagged in, people pleaser that I've been most of my life. 

    Being in demand also had a few other byproducts. I started having to say on my website "please plan for your therapy as appointment availability may be 2-3 weeks." This statement was out of kindness and necessity, but I stopped getting requests for same day appointments. 

    And then I noticed that most clients coming in this year mostly all had more seasoned expectations of bodywork; the cost, how many sessions it takes, etc., and they were already inclined to return regularly, understanding bodywork's process well. 

    That's been really nice!

    Surprisingly to me, when I put on my website that I am not open to new clients at this time, it did not stop people from contacting me and asking me to put them on a waitlist for when I do open up. What a shock. A really sweet shock. 

    Thanks for asking, I hope this was in some way helpful. 

    Wishing you well,


    Broehe Karpenko, LMT, CCSP

    (Broehe rhymes with Zoey....she/her)

    Rosewater Craniosacral 

  • 13 Apr 2021 6:31 PM | WSMTA (Administrator)


    June 27, 2021. 9:30am to 2:00pm.

    Sustaining and Growing Your Business in Tough Times: Thinking Outside the Box During the Pandemic

    In this live, interactive webinar our presenters will present creative healthcare business models. Thinking outside the box, they will share the benefits and risks of various models as well as the underlying values that inspire them. 

    Our presenters, from an array of healthcare practices, will inspire you to consider new ideas to grow your practice or recover from the effects of the pandemic.

    Free to WSMTA Members.

    You will be notified when registration opens or check here for event updates in the future.

  • 25 Feb 2021 1:11 PM | WSMTA (Administrator)

    Almost a year in with COVID 19 and we would love to hear how things are going for you and your practice. We value your insights, needs, and questions. Drop us a line at

  • 2 Dec 2020 8:29 PM | Carl Wilson (Administrator)

    So, many LMTs in WA are asking, “What do Governor Inslee’s new restrictions (Proclamation 20-24.2) mean for me?”  At the time of this writing, this is what we know, in brief.

    Neither the Department of Health nor the Governor's office have announced any changes to the status of healthcare providers or the healthcare phases. We are closely monitoring the situation for any changes to our status. I would suggest that you look at the governors posting for 11/15 here… and continue to watch for additional updates there. Also, make sure to read the recent article written by WSMT’s own Julie Johnson on Critical Judgment for LMTs. This article will take you through the very important critical decision making steps with regard to COVID-19 and your massage practice.

    With cases of COVID-19 rising very rapidly in WA, WSMTA is encouraging LMTs to exercise extra caution in their practice. It is important to watch what is happening in your local area. For example, pay attention to whether your local hospitals are restricting elective surgeries. This would be a clear indicator that your local area hospitals are concerned about being overwhelmed with patients and you should consider seeing only urgent need patients/clients. You should also assess your individual risk factors, your families risk factors and your patients/clients risk factors very carefully and adjust accordingly.

    We are aware that many LMTs are making new adjustments to their practices with the increase of COVID-19 cases. Some LMTs are shutting down for the next few months, others are limiting the number of folks that they see in a day, some will only see a patient/client over 65/high risk if they are an urgent need patient/client, etc. This is a time to exercise extra caution in your screening of patients/clients. WSMTA strongly encourages all LMTs to do what feels safe for them, their families and their patients/clients.

    We encourage you to check back here on a regular basis for updates, as we continue to do our best to keep you informed.

    Be well,

    Marybeth Berney

    WSMTA President

  • 30 Nov 2020 12:59 PM | Carl Wilson (Administrator)

    Home Office Insurance

    by Dagmar Growe, LMT

    LMTs working out of their homes will generally require 3 types of insurance for complete coverage. Malpractice/Professional Liability insurance, which most commonly for LMTs is obtained through an AMTA  or  ABMP membership. Malpractice/Professional Liability insurance  does not cover accidental injury (such as slip and fall) that patients/clients might sustain while on your premises. This type of insurance is called General Liability If you have your insurance through AMTA or ABMP your policy does cover General liability.You also will want insurance to cover your physical space and contents - these would be covered through premises insurance.  And of course they would need homeowners insurance, covering the private use of their home. This is especially important, as home loans generally require homeowners insurance, and losing homeowners insurance can lead to problems with mortgages.

    Unfortunately many homeowner insurance carriers will cancel a policy when they find out that a business is operated out of a home that includes patient/client visits, or refuse to issue a policy in the first place. WSMTA is working on supporting our members by developing a list of resources and options. We need your help. Have you successfully obtained insurance coverage that covers your home business? We want to know how and through which company or agent. Please contact Dagmar Growe at with any information.

  • 27 Apr 2020 3:25 PM | Carl Wilson (Administrator)

    COVID 19: Massage Therapist Return to Practice Guidance

    The Washington State Massage Therapy Association has been hard at work accessing the most current and most reliable information available to us. Whether you have continued to see patients with urgent medical needs, or you are considering how to adjust your environment and practices when you choose to return to work when you are able to, we have information for you. We want you to be able to work in the safest (for you and your patients/clients) and most professional and ethical way possible.

    Part 1: Introduction is currently available for members on the website under COVID 19 Resources & Links page. In the next few days the next editions of “COVID 19: Massage Therapist Return to Practice Guidance” will be, Part 2: “WSMTA’s Interim Guidance on PPE” and the “WSMTA’s Interim Guidance on Sanitation” for Massage Therapist.  Shortly following that will be, Part 3 “WSMTA’s Interim Guidance on Practice Guidelines”.

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