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Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 91 belt—Hinkle contacted Tengbjerg to inquire about creating an IMA-sanctioned competition based in America. "I know Mike Hinkle and his staff are working hard to create an amazing championship," Tengbjerg says. "As the United States has high standards of education, I expect to see many good, high-quality massages. I look forward to seeing what categories are filled and what the American massage therapists can offer of inspiration to the rest of the world—but also to see what the rest of the world can offer the US." Tengbjerg will attend the WMF and the A MC, and will be the point person for training the judges on the rules and how to judge the event. He is looking forward to witnessing the skills of American MTs. "The ones who have participated at the World Championship in Massage have been very good," he says. "Also, I have heard a lot about the good vibes and atmosphere at the World Massage Festival." Hinkle and Michaels believe the American competition is important because the American Massage Championship will allow attendees to participate in a competition without having to travel great distances. "We are looking for the first 200 registrants to showcase their talents at the A MC," Hinkle says. "Hopefully [the championship] will be more of a learning experience than a competition, and competitors will learn from modalities being showcased from around the world." What to Expect At the American Massage Championship, the focus will be on examination, techniques, ergonomics, and overall performance in six categories and will be evaluated by specialists and highly experienced judges in each category. Participants will be informed that the competition judges are capable of evaluating the individual treatment, and that each treatment may be placed in more than one category. The competition area is divided into six massage areas, and bodyworkers must provide their own equipment (tables, mats, chairs, etc.). Participants will be divided into groups of three. The location of table or mattress for each participant will be chosen at random. The duration of each round is 65 minutes (including examination), where participants have approximately five minutes to examine the receiver before the massage is given. In the first round, the receiver will be asked to rate their treatment from 1 to 15. The judges, who will be members of the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame in this round, may issue 1–3 wild cards for the finale (final competition). Judges will make all decisions collectively to ensure fairness in the competition. They will evaluate the participants in the following areas: • Client contact • Ergonomics • Flow • Innovation and development of new methods • Recipient feedback • Techniques For the finale, spectators, who are trained MTs, will be able to hand out one point each. Massage recipients (professional, highly educated MTs) will hand out up to six points, depending on their massage experience, and the judges will hand out three points each. The winner of the 2020 A MC will be the MT with the most points. Lisa Bakewell is a full-time freelance writer, editor, perpetual learner, and lover of life in Chicagoland. Her areas of writing expertise span a multitude of topics that include health and wellness, travel, parenting, personal/ company profiles, a plethora of "how-to" articles (her favorite!), and technology. She can be reached at Jacques Humpich Poullard (France), 2019 Gold Medal Winner for Eastern Freestyle Massage. Image courtesy of Ryan Hoyme.

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