When Karen Craig graduated from the University of Central Florida (Orlando) in 1970 with a B.A. in Education, doing massage was not even a consideration. After teaching English in grades 7-12, Karen decided it was time for a change. In 1976 she attended The American College of Natural Healing Sciences in Mesa, AZ. After graduating, she practiced massage in California and Alaska then in 1985 moved to Memphis. She maintained a private massage practice in a medical doctor’s office for 9 years while conducting community workshops on massage and appearing on various local television shows, demonstrating to the public the health enhancing benefits of legitimate massage.
Karen helped found the TN Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association in 1986 and served as their education director for 6 years. For her consistent effort to bring professionalism to massage in TN, she has received 3 awards for meritorious service from AMTA. She also worked diligently for the passage of TN’s 1995 massage law, helping to keep the law brief and simple. The law has remained brief though the rules may seem overwhelming. In 1987 Karen founded The Massage Institute of Memphis, the first authorized massage school in Tennessee. Karen has been a consultant for several massage research studies at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In 1998 she received the Crystal Iris Award for being a woman entrepreneur “in business more than 5 years who has overcome significant obstacles to remain in business.” (National Association of Women Business Owners – Metropolitan Memphis Chapter) The main obstacle was Memphis’ attitude about massage, which fortunately for this profession has been improving greatly as massage therapists educate the public about the benefits and legitimacy of massage. Karen also received an award in 2006 as one of the “50 Women Who Make a Difference in Memphis.” Karen has presented the benefits of massage to medical and pharmacy students at the University of TN, Memphis.
Since 1986 Karen has attended many AMTA conventions, conferences, Council of Schools meetings and Teachers’ Conferences. Recently she has benefitted from various Instructor Workshops provided by ABMP (Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals). Karen continues to teach at The Massage Institute of Memphis after having sold it to a couple of her instructors. She attends most TN Massage Licensure Board meetings in Nashville to stay current on board opinions and policies which she presents in her C.E. law classes. She requests board interpretations of TN massage laws and rules and offers suggestions for improvements, continually working toward enhancing the massage profession. Other C.E. courses taught by Karen include body mechanics, ethics and various technique classes to keep massage therapists healthy, working comfortably and enhancing the lives of those they touch.