Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT)
I have two main passions in life: travel and helping others.
Several years ago, while I was getting a massage, it occurred to me that being a massage therapist would be a skill that I could take anywhere in the world. I had been thinking for over a year about what job I could get that would allow me to live anywhere.
An hour after I left my massage, I was enrolling in school to become a massage therapist. Finally, I had figured out a good portable career. Hey – and as a bonus, I could help people, too.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that being a massage therapist would engage my interests in so many other ways.
My Path as a Massage Therapist
Granted, my initial motivation for getting into this line of work wasn’t entirely altruistic. However, as the months progressed and I began really sinking my teeth into increasingly more complex techniques, I found that there was far more to this profession than I had assumed.
What I discovered was that it challenged me to always learn because every person I met had a different issue – carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder, low back pain, pulled quadricep tendon from cycling, lack of range of motion, and so on.
My studies in massage therapy have been wide and varied. I have studied trigger point and athletic massage as well as East Indian Head Massage, myofascial energetic massage – and everything in between.
I am also a reflexologist, specializing in assisted physical and emotional healing. My reflexology style incorporates aspects of Western Reflexology and Traditional Eastern Meridian Therapy.
My studies and practice initially focused purely on Western anatomy and physiology backed up with oodles of scientific data. While I still rely heavily on these tools, my experience and further education has shown me that other ways that are less well understood in the West also work. I’ve now incorporated numerous schools of thought into my practice.
My theory is that if you find a tool that works, you should keep it in your toolbox. It is this open approach to other schools of thought that makes my work not only unique, but also highly effective.
Another thing about me is that I love to be challenged and puzzle-solving is exciting for me.
People, I learned, are like puzzles. Two people may complain of the same problem like low back pain, but the cause of their pain might be very different.
The more people I had on my table, the better I became at assessment, and this is where knowing more techniques (tools) with which to help reverse what was causing the problem really has paid off.
Knowing Where to Look
Ferreting out the sources of pain on a mid-40’s corporate desk job employee is a difference in night and day when compared to a 67 year old retiree who has just taken up gardening.
Likewise, a 30 year old med student who has been on her feet for 12 hours has completely different issues than a 50 year old truck driver who sits in one position with his arm up on the window for 8 hours a day.
Pain, I learned, could happen in one part of the body, like the neck, but may originate from somewhere completely different – like the hamstring muscles in the back of the leg.
How? Tight hamstrings can cause your pelvis to tilt, which in turn causes your spine to lean to compensate when carrying your weight. Your head is like a bowling ball balanced on top of your spine and your neck muscles now have to hold it upright on an unstable base. The extra strain can cause severe pain in the neck.
A second person could complain of the same neck pain in the same location, but an examination of the body combined with questioning of the client could tell me that this person carries a heavy backpack all day on one shoulder, so I need to work on different areas altogether.
A combination of knowing how the body functions along with asking the right set of questions was something that I gained through education and experience.
A Range of Clients
Initially I thought that I wanted to work with athletes because I am an avid cyclist, and helping to correct sports-related muscle issues appealed to me. To that end, I studied sports therapy massage techniques and over time I’ve helped a number of athletes with everything from muscle soreness to performance enhancement.
During my career I have worked with a wide range of body types and with people from early adulthood up into their 90’s.
From these experiences, I learned that there was so much diversity in the challenges people faced physically, that the more diverse my clientele became, the more interested I got in massage. Also, I started to understand movement patterns and resulting pain issues better by treating people with a wide rage of ages, body types, and professions.
These new challenges eventually led me to medical massage. As a student in massage school you are taught to avoid clients who have challenging medical conditions – and that’s good advice to a new massage therapist.
With specialized training, however, you learn the specific adaptations needed to work safely with any number of medical issues. My training in medical massage has given me a new appreciation for the subtleties of massage, and allows me to serve others who may find it difficult to get massage services for their specific needs.
To this end, I have opened up Assisted Healing Medical Massage & Reflexology.
Continuing Education & the Search for Answers
So, even though my original motivation had quite a different perspective on “why I should be a massage therapist,” I am so glad that I chose this career. I am challenged every day by the puzzles people bring me. Solving those puzzles and seeing the relief people get when I’ve figured out how to help to relieve a problem that has plagued them for years is a tremendous reward.
To this day I still take far more continuing education courses than what is required to maintain my licensure, simply because I want to keep learning and keep getting better at what I do. When I encounter a problem I don’t know the answer to, I go in search of the answer – and I don’t stop until I find it.
Bring me your puzzle and let me help solve it for you.