By Nikki Arel, Delegate and Government Relations Chair

This year, as a member of the AOD (Assembly of Delegates) I was filled with anticipation, excitement and a little bit of confusion.  If you were at the July meeting, you had some familiarity with the two Position Statement topics that we were addressing. Shortly before National, we also received a Discussion Topic.  Although we treated our information gathering similar to year’s past, the set-up of the Assembly and the information sought were vastly different.

We did receive a number of instructional emails prior to AOD and were told what to expect and how to prepare.  I found this information very helpful & revisited the discussions numerous times for clarification and to communicate with other Delegates from around the country. This, for me, greatly cleared the confusion.

As a bit of background, the House of Delegates used to be given Position Statements to consider that were written by massage therapists and were meant to create the ‘facts’ of our profession; statements that could be used by those in the field to state benefits and indications for massages that were backed by research.  The one year that I participated (last year) was more about the language of the statement over whether this was something we *wanted* for our field.

The new AOD (Assembly of Delegates) is meant to explore whether the Position Statement is around something we would like to be able to say about massage.  Whether we feel that this would benefit the field.  In talking about the Pediatric Massage in Hospital settings and the benefits for OA (Osteoarthritis) of the knee, there were times that my table for discussion started to side-track over language, but we did quickly come back to how the statement would benefit the field and the professionals in the field.

Once both statements went for a vote, they both passed.  Then, a vote was taken at each table of which statement should receive priority in becoming developed and written.  I was surprised that the pediatrics statement was voted as the priority, as I thought that the OA statement had more general support and would be of greater benefit to more LMT’s than pediatrics, which seemed more specialized.  But I was pleased that both passed and as both seem to have decent research behind them, there should be Position Statements written soon. Then, there was a brief break and then back in for the Discussion Topic.  This felt a little more ‘open and free’ with discussion, but overall the process was interesting.

Moving forward, the Delegate position is a very active, year-round position, as was stressed many times throughout AOD.  There are, currently, two discussion topics that Delegates are being asked to work on: Human Trafficking and Workplace Safety.  I hope to have more understanding of what the Board is looking for so that we may have discussions at further meetings and I can present your concerns, ideas, thoughts and interests to the Board.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve and the chance to be part of the very first AOD!

metta … nikki