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Pulse Newsletter | July 2020

Wednesday, July 1, 2020   (0 Comments)
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And The Stars Shine On

Clearly, the experience is different for each of us, depending on what’s happening with the pandemic and the call for racial justice this week, in whichever part of the world we are. Yet, there’s something incredibly powerful about the very fact that these momentous happenings are global, not regional. We are all impacted and alerted and invested in the outcome. In the midst of the grief, heartbreak, fear and outrage I have been heartened by the creativity, compassion and inventive connections generated from this world-wide confrontation with a teeny tiny physical challenger and a gigantic spiritual one. I watch TV and often find myself in tears. I’m grieving for the lives and livings lost in both these catastrophes, I’m profoundly touched by the courage and kindness that have risen to meet them, and I am very often surprised and cheered by the innovations people are bringing to the challenge.

Virtual Get-Togethers. Recently I read “troubles and tyrants come and go, but the stars shine on.” In company with countless other pathways to healing and compassion, our work has “shone on.” It has helped humanity endure, if not transcend the catastrophes. Our ABT community is inspirational in the ways we have responded, innovated and reached out.

  • Let’s get together on the July 16 Member Meeting to give and get the support and stimulation we need to keep shining. We’re planning to include break-out groups in part of the meeting so we can share in smaller groups. “See” you there! Here’s the link to the calendar listing where you can register: Member Meeting.
  • Schools and Programs will be getting together at the COSP Meeting on July 9 - Here's the link to the calendar listing where you can register: COSP Meeting.

ABT and COVID. For more inspiration, take a look at Cindy Banker’s final article in her series on ABT and coronavirus in this Pulse. Did you know she is a Chinese language scholar? She has discovered some eye-opening information from her translation of an old medical text that points to manual therapy (that’s us!) as the best way to address certain stages of invasions like coronavirus. The article includes some additional info on how to apply ABT. You can also find her treatment protocol in the first installment of the series here.

Forums. Remember that member forums are available to discuss topics of interest with other colleagues. Cindy’s article would be a great topic. Contact me (, or our managing director, Wayne Mylin ( for help setting that up.Visit the AOBTA Forum

Lunch & Learn. And speaking of inspiration, did you hear about the Lunch & Learn with Grandmother Winter Jade Forest in June? We had the highest enrollment ever and came away wanting more! Michael DeAgro will be presenting in July. And you can watch any of the past presentations in The Lunch & Learn Webinar Collection.

Wellness Resources Page. The page continues to grow with inspiring contributions from members on resources relating to racial justice and the pandemic. Look for sections on self-care, practitioners and educators - AOBTA Wellness Community.

All my best to you.

Deborah Valentine Smith, AOBTA President

When to Reopen?
Editorial note - the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and not necessarily of the AOBTA®, its Board of Directors, Staff, or the Editorial Board of Pulse.
With states across our country in various stages of reopening, decision time is nigh. “When should we reopen our hands-on ABT practices?” is a paramount question for us all, however, an equally important one is “How can we support our fellow ABTs, EVEN IF we disagree with one another about when to reopen?” What follows below is one approach to consider both questions. Our dialogue as I see it has coalesced into three distinct viewpoints...
Read the full article
Final Installation of Articles on Treating Coronavirus Symptoms with Chinese Medicine


Without Western medicine having very effective drugs or a vaccine, Chinese herbal medicine has seemed to be at the forefront of being able to track and respond to detailed stages of coronavirus symptoms. This has been fascinating to me as an herbalist, but I find my primary interest in writing remains in how we may treat the disease with manual therapy. My first article described a specific protocol for treating the very serious symptoms people experience when their lungs go into a hyperactive state. Tightness in the chest and labored breathing are the primary symptoms. Coronavirus can move very quickly in some people, making it extremely dangerous to delay seeking advice from a physician. However, many people have suffered with mild enough symptoms to remain at home. For those people, help from their ABT or Chinese Medical doctor can be very significant in helping them deal with symptoms. Based on the information I’ve gathered from current English textbooks on TCM and my own translation work (primarily the Lei Jing from the Ming Dynasty), there is compelling evidence that, in some stages, manual therapy may be more effective than herbs or acupuncture. There are sound reasons why the ABT protocol that I outlined works. This protocol can be used...

Read the full article
Rediscovering Jing, Qi, and Shen
In my Daoist studies of Jindan (Golden Elixir practice), I learned to frame Jing-Qi-Shen as the material body (Jing), the animating force of motion (Qi), and the spatial imagination (Shen). An aspect of Jindan practice involves keeping the body still, emptied of all intent, while extending the spatial feeling mind infinitely in all directions. The fruition of this practice is the distillation of Jing and Qi and the revelation that action can be initiated with the spatial mind outside of the body. Through my practice of Jindan, it became easier for me to observe how touch as an act of attention constructs these basic perceptions. For example....
Read the full article
Rediscovering Jing, Qi and Shen as a Foundation for Bodywork

Lunch & Learn Webinar  |  Wednesday, July 15th, 2020  |  12P - 1P EST

Register for this webinar
Watch June L&L
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Become a presenter
AOBTA® Member Zoom Check-In
The AOBTA Monthly Member Check-In meeting will occur on Thursday, July 16th, 2020 at 12 PM to 1:30 PM (EST). We'll discuss any current issues our members are facing, and may use breakout rooms to discuss some in-depth! We look forward to seeing you.
Register for the meeting
View the 2020/2021 Board Directory


2020 Election Results

The 2020 Board of Directors election process has closed, and the board slate has been decided for the 2020-2021 term.

Victor Manuel, AOBTA-CP was the single candidate for the open position of Legislative Director and as the only candidate, has been appointed to fill the position of Legislative Director on the AOBTA National Board of Directors.

The following members have been appointed to serve another term in their current positions on the board: Andrea Sullivan, Vice President; Gail Kellstrom, Director of Membership; and Cari Johnson Pelava, Director of COSP.

The Board of Directors is the dedicated group of members that provides the governance, guidance, and oversight necessary for the existence of your professional association and the health of your profession.

Please visit the Board Directory to see (and thank) the member volunteers serving on your behalf.

Meet Victor Manuel, the newest member of the AOBTA Board of Directors.

You can contact Victor at:

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve as your Legislative Director for the next term. The world is in flux right now, and there is no better time to embrace the winds of change than now!

I am Victor Manuel, a Tuina specialist out of Dallas, Texas. I learned at AOMA Austin from the legendary Dr. Yongxin Fan. My practice is at, with Tuina, Cupping, and other modalities. I have been involved in politics since 2008, working to pass laws at the county and state level in Texas. I bring this experience to the AOBTA® to serve our membership and help each of you practice safely, and to the fullest extent in every state of the Union. 

As I begin my term, the current items on my plate are the bills in Illinois, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. Please let me know if you have issues in your own state around licensing, renewal, or scope of practice. I’ll do what I can to move the ball forward!

Ever Onward,

Victor Manuel, AOBTA® Legislative Director

Racial Justice



In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AOBTA created a Wellness Community of resources for self-care, practitioners and educators. Since launch, this set of resources has expanded greatly.

Now we've added an important page for Racial Justice, a collection of resources for listening, learning and supporting.

Visit the AOBTA Wellness Community Racial Justice Resources Page

The AOBTA® has worked with the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFTME) for many years to ensure that bodywork, and, more specifically, Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT), is recognized, and continues to be recognized, in their various projects and activities.

Recently the AFTME announced a change to the name of the educator certification credential, so that It will now be known simply as Certified Massage and Bodywork Educator (CMBE). From Stan Dawson, AFMTE President:

“The name of the CMBE credential reflects a fundamental value stemming from the ELAP’s Core: that the defining feature of massage and bodywork is therapeutic, structured touch, regardless of the system through which it is applied. It also honors a commitment to diversity and exploration in education while aligning with the AFMTE’s vision to advance the therapeutic massage and bodywork professions by strengthening and elevating educational practices and standards through supporting, credentialing, and engaging educators.”

The continued inclusion of "Bodywork" is a "win" for us, and allows ABT educators to apply for the CMBE ( If you decide to apply, please let us know! If you would like more information, please contact Cindy Banker, AOBTA®-CI and AOBTA® Director of Education,

We've been doing some testing and gathering feedback on web site issues. While Safari is a very fine browser, we've determined that it glitches with the AOBTA web site once signed into the site. So, Safari users, we recommend that you use Firefox for best use of our web site capabilities.

If you are an instructor, we want to promote you!

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Planning for the 2021 Convention is in full swing and you are invited to join the fun!

There are many ways to participate in the upcoming party - join the committee and find out how.

Join the next meeting 7/17/20

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