The MTI Annual Conference, has rightfully become an important date for the Holistic Massage Therapist’s calendar – 2021 marks our 11th conference!

The Conference is now an established event to meet like-minded therapists from all over the UK, explore new avenues of massage and bodywork, pick up inspiration and ideas and generally enjoy a fun, interactive day which also offers 6 hours of CPD training! This year marks our first virtual event.

Conference 2021

Sitting for 8 hours or more a day. Eating processed food. Being constantly on the go. We know this way of living doesn’t make for a healthy body, yet it’s surprising just how many people in today’s world follow this lifestyle.

As massage therapists and bodyworkers, we are being called to address conditions that weren’t even on the radar 30 years ago, and others that have grown in prevalence during that time. Cancer, for example, now affects 1 in 2 people in the UK. And, of course, this last year of the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that a new disease can appear at any time and completely alter the way we work.

At the 2021 MTI conference, we will face these issues head on, with our theme of Massage for the Modern World. Our workshops tackle a range of modern ailments, including: Fibromyalgia, massage in the time of Covid-19, stress, respiratory problems, Cancer, chronic muscular aches and injuries, post-natal rehab, gut issues, infertility and sedentary posture.

Take Fibromyalgia, for instance. This debilitating condition is still a medical mystery and treatment revolves around pain management. Associated mental health problems such as stress, depression and fatigue take an even greater toll on the Fibro patient. Our two workshops on the topic: Inside the Head of Fibromyalgia by Chris Newton and a Myofascial Approach to Fibromyalgia by Amanda Oswald, give two very different takes on how we as massage therapists can make a difference for our Fibro clients. This ranges from paying attention to the environment we treat in and the language we use, to offering self-care techniques clients can use to manage the condition at home.

Infection control and PPE are now a crucial part of massage practice and remain an important factor even as the Covid-19 pandemic subsides. MTI tutor Eva Weltermann’s workshop takes us through PPE best practice and how to massage effectively under these new conditions. For those working with post-Covid clients we have a lunchtime presentation on Covid-19 pathology from former biochemist Jane Langston, and the keynote speech will address how the pandemic has changed the healthcare landscape in the UK.

Oncology massage is another growth area and one that has many myths around it. Does massage cause Cancer to spread? Is it dangerous for those with thin skin from chemotherapy? Is there a particular technique you need to use to work with those who have Cancer? Susan Findlay will address these questions and share the latest research that directs how we can best help our clients with Cancer.

The ‘Superwoman’ who can have it all may have been an invention of the 1980s, but it’s a myth that persists. Many modern-day women find themselves run ragged between demanding jobs and caring for their family, with little space to look after themselves. Jayne Burke will explore Stress and the Modern Working Women, diving into these topics in detail.

Women’s health is one of the hot topics this year. Jenny Burrell, the founder of Burrell Education, runs the only education company in the UK dedicated to delivering education to professionals serving women throughout their major life phases. Jenny’s workshop focuses on how massage therapists are ideally placed to make a huge difference to the wellbeing of post-natal women, particularly in the areas of pelvic floor rehab, Diastasis Recti and respiratory dysfunction.

The sedentary lifestyle brings a lot of clients to our doors. Long hours spent sitting at a desk or driving and little time spent in motion cause a variety of postural and muscular concerns. And our world is increasingly based in the mind, meaning the body’s needs often get overlooked. In their Vital Motion workshop, Maya van der Galien and Iain Murdoch will offer a range of exercises that show you how to come into contact with the body, unwind stuck postures and move in an authentic and nourishing way. Useful information for both therapist and client.

When it comes to working with muscular tension, how do you know that you are working in the right area? Client feedback and your own intuitive sense can take you so far but, add muscle testing to your toolkit and you can work even more effectively. Jane Langston and Earle Abrahamson’s workshop on Muscle Testing for Modern Day Injuries offers precise tests to discover which muscles test weak and therefore need addressing – and it’s not always the one you think!

There’s nothing more natural than breathing, right? Another sad effect of the stresses and strains of modern life is that the way we breathe can be shallow and not give our body all the oxygen it needs. Gray Caws’ Buteyko Breathing workshop offers a method for reinstating effortless breathing that moves from the diaphragm and improves the functional breath. It can help those with asthma, anxiety and sleep disorders to breathe easy again.

According to the father of modern medicine Hippocrates, all disease starts in the gut, so having healthy digestion is a key factor in health and wellbeing. Science is discovering more and more about the importance of the gut microbiome and how fundamental it is in treating and preventing disease. In her workshop on the Importance of Gut Health, Susie Willsher explains how nutrition and gut health influence a wide variety of issues such as immunity, mental health and abdominal pain to name but a few.

And while focusing on how to best help our clients is valuable, knowing how to take care of ourselves as therapists is essential. In her workshop on self-care, Ruth Duncan will take you through tips to help you take care of your own body as you take care of others.

As well as the chance to absorb information on these fascinating topics, the MTI conference is a great place to network and connect with other therapists going through the same journey as you. Whether you are an MTI member or not, you are assured of a friendly welcome and an engaging and heart-warming day, plus access to our virtual marketplace and a prize raffle draw to close the conference.

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