Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2008

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reader forum WHAT YOU ARE SAYING Remembering MT School I just fi nished reading Robert Chute's article, "What I've Forgotten Since Massage School," in the October/ November 2007 issue of Massage & Bodywork (p. 56). While I was reading the piece, I was laughing to myself about my own forgotten knowledge since I left massage school about six years ago. I'm a full-time bodyworker and I have about fi fteen hundred hours of schooling. I always felt that my experience was my best teacher and had gotten to the point where I felt I was a very good therapist, but have to admit that I felt I was lacking in my work somehow for not being able to diagnose and utilize anatomy and my biological science studies in my work. As one of the people written about in the article said, "There is more art than science to the way most therapists practice." I believe this is true for most therapists. Last year I undertook teaching a comprehensive massage therapy class. It was at one of those career schools you see on TV that offers varied degreed classes in things like medical assistant, medical billing, massage therapist, and computer systems technician. So you know a school like this is really invested in creating a quality massage program (*note sarcasm). It was a diffi cult year teaching for the fi rst time and being responsible for teaching students anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology, massage business, and ethics and all the massage modalities including circulatory, deep tissue, tui na, passive joint movement, pregnancy, refl exology, chair massage, and spa services. I felt guilty for my students having paid close to $13,000 to learn all of this information from me since my knowledge base was limited to a few of these subjects—and not very thorough at that. I worked extremely hard to learn as much as I could so I was able to teach them as best as I could. In many ways I'm very grateful for this experience, as stressful as it was. The outcome for me was I became, what felt like, ten times the therapist I was a year before. Being forced to learn and then teach the science material, the anatomy, and physiology ingrained itself in my bodywork and I noticed I was able to look at my clients' bodies in a new way. Putting this knowledge to use I noticed my intuitive bodywork improved immensely. It created a new confi dence. All the learning I did during my time as a massage student came back to me and more during my teaching. It felt like I was a student myself. JASON LEWIS SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA 10 massage & bodywork january/february 2008 I just wanted to let you know that I read Robert Chute's article, and I am proud to say that I am a Canadian-trained massage therapist. I have been practicing and teaching in the United States for the past fi ve years. When I fi rst started teaching here, the students were amazed that I knew so much from all my hours. I explained that if we were to be respected we needed to know certain amounts of information. I live and practice in a state that has just received licensure. It will not be effective till 2009. I taught students about pathology, treatments, hydrotherapy, orthopedic tests, remedial exercise, and all the things that were stressed by our school to become a knowledgeable therapist. I get calls and e-mails regularly from students who said they couldn't have done it without the information that they had received. LISA BALL GRANGER, INDIANA I really enjoyed Robert Chute's article and received great comfort in knowing I am not the only therapist out there that can't recall exactly what a potassium pump does. I too enjoyed the clinical aspect of massage school at fi rst. It helped me feel more legit as a healthcare professional to spout off the odd anatomical factoid here and there. However, on the whole, I did poorly in the anatomy and physiology parts of school, while excelling at the practical aspects of massage. With a lot of help and some dumb luck, I managed to pass my national certifi cation. That was six years ago. I looked at my study guide recently and could not believe I ever knew any of the answers to those questions. I have been a manager for three years and a spa owner for two. A large part of what I do involves interviewing therapists, most of who are recent graduates. It saddens me to no end that these people are more than

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