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FOB Biographies

Berney, Marybeth - LMT

marybeth-berney-3.jpgMarybeth Berney has been practicing massage therapy in Washington since 1985, and has been involved with the regulation, policy, and politics of our profession since 1988.

Marybeth has served in many volunteer and paid roles for our profession over the last 30 years. She has served on the WA State Board of Massage, was the president of the Washington chapter of the AMTA, and has worked as an Expert Witness/Consultant in cases involving massage therapy Standards of Practice and Regulations. Marybeth is currently President of the Washington State Massage Therapy Association (WSMTA).

While putting her practice on pause for 3 months (due to COVID safety precautions), she and fellow WSMTA Government Relations Program members closely followed the status of health care providers in WA, worked with the WA Department of Health leadership and helped to develop guidance documents and information about practicing massage in a COVID-19 world. You can read more about the WSMTA’s work in developing safe standards of practice in the age of COVID-19 at www.mywsmta.org.

Marybeth will be discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the massage profession from a Regulatory Oversight perspective; Proclamations 20-24 and 20-24.1; and the Health Care Phases vs. the Safe Start Phases. She will also discuss tapping into your Local Health Jurisdiction (LHJ) for surge capacity data and PPE Assistance (yes, there is assistance out there for you!).

Marybeth is passionate about sharing her expertise and experience with other massage therapist and can be reached at: mberney@mywsmta.org



Crafted Touch: Lauren Christman, LMT, CCST, CBSI/KMI

lauren-christman-2.jpgLauren has been a bodyworker since 1994; she practices a synthesis of craniosacral, visceral manipulation and structural integration/ATSI for children and adults. She began her study of craniosacral and visceral techniques in 1995 with Bruno Ducoux, DO, first as a student and later as an assistant.

In 1998 she deepened her craniosacral skills and understanding with Ursula Popp, LAc, again, first as a student and later as an assistant. Lauren went on to incorporate Structural Integration (ATSI/Tom Myers), and Visceral and Neural Manipulation (Barral Institute). Her focus has been on synthesizing methods based on osteopathic principles, exploring the fullness of the body’s ability to heal, and bringing skilled touch to infants, children and adults.

Lauren was a Core Faculty member and Dean of Students at the Brian Utting School in Seattle, WA for 8 years. She then was a Senior Instructor of Anatomy Trains / Kinesis Myofascial Integration for 8 years in the United States and Europe.

In 2013, Lauren began teaching on her own and with her husband, Richard Polishuk – classes in Intraoral Work, Pediatric Fascial Balancing, and Visceral and Cranial methods. She currently leads "Craniosacral Therapy — A Healing Art," a certification program for manual therapists. With over 18 years of experience teaching both beginning and advanced students, she has a passion for anatomy, clarity of method and the fullness of the healing experience.

In this panel, Lauren will be discussing the basics of COVID-19 etiology, pathology and transmission. If we understand COVID-19 as a disease, we can be empowered in our decisions about decreasing risk of transmission, screening clients before treatment and modifying our techniques during treatment.

“Early on in my massage training, I became fascinated by pathologies. I love to dive into a deeper understanding of how the body works and what is happening when we face illness. For me, this knowledge allows me to better meet my clients’ needs, to amplify their health and complement other care they receive." - Lauren



Schmidt, Dawn - LMT

dawn-schmidt.gifDawn is an LMT, educator, consultant and artist. She has been practicing massage in Washington State for over 29 years, serving the health and wellbeing interests of her clients’ body, mind and spirit. Her practice spans diverse focus from wellness and somato-emotional to structural and clinical work.

An experienced and credentialed educator, Dawn has served in a wide variety of education roles as Director of Education, teacher, continuing education provider, program/curriculum consultant, and mentor. She holds a K-Adult Teaching Credential and has taught in public high school, private massage school, private university, and private continuing education settings. She identifies as a lifelong learner.

Dawn delights in shepherding clients, students, educators and professionals through high stress and trauma-related situations, challenging life transitions and professional development endeavors. Dawn is a proponent of interpersonal listening and communication skills, setting and respecting boundaries, thoughtful ethical decision- making, and self-care as foundations to professional success and advancement.

Dawn has been influential in our profession at local, state and national levels. She has volunteered for interdisciplinary and insurance workgroups, consulted and contributed to research activities, and served on educational commissions, a professional body-of- knowledge task force, and various professional association committees.

Dawn will discuss the impact and trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic on our basic human needs--we each experience it differently based on where we were before it started. Exploring the concept of progressive care--tending to self first, then family, then others and then community. Managing the physical, mental, emotional and financial toll. Contextualizing considerations including surviving vs. thriving, health threats and risk management, listening and witnessing, boundaries, responsibility, self-care, and ethics.

Dawn is passionate about massage and exalts the value of massage. She believes in the profound healing power of touch as a mechanism for integrating body, mind and spirit.



Blake, Robbin - LMT, Certified Aston-Patterner®

Ever since Robbin graduated from the Brian Utting School of Massage 1000-hour professional licensing program in 2004, the focus of her practice has been helping people to recover from injuries or chronic pain by using orthopedic massage and structural bodywork. She has completed an advanced certification program in Orthopedic Massage and a 750-hour training program to become a certified Aston-Patterner (structural bodywork with movement and ergonomics coaching). In total, Robbin has taken over 1,500 hours of continuing education.

Robbin has been the owner and operator of the Therapeutic Training Center, Inc. (TTCI) for the past 11 years. TTCI provides continuing education classes in massage therapy in Washington and Idaho. Robbin has also been a volunteer for the Washington State Massage Therapy Association for the past 5 years and its Government Relations Program Director since January 2019.

As the coronavirus hit the United States, Robbin delved into the science and pathology of COVID-19, the recommendations and regulations of the CDC, WHO, WA State DOH, OSHA, WA State L&I and the recommendations and practice guidelines recommended by the American Dental Association, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Medical Association and other organizations. With the help of other WSMTA volunteers, she co-created the Interim Guidance documents on PPE, Sanitation and Practice Guidelines.

Before practicing massage, Robbin had been the Director of Operations for several manufacturing companies and was responsible, among her many duties, for the creation and implementation of employee safety programs, which helped her through the WSMTA process. Over the past several months, Robbin and Marybeth Berney have been providing “Back to Practice Q&A” live webinars focusing on PPE, sanitation and safe practice guidelines for our profession.

Robbin will talk about how COVID-19 affects the body in many different ways – affecting some people severely with lengthy recovery periods, killing some, while leaving others with almost no effects. She will review the various issues that survivors are recovering from and how these impact massage therapists in their treatment of patients/clients.