It all started here:
One question I am always asked is, “Why did you want to become a Massage Therapist?”. To tell you the truth I was unsure of what I wanted to do. It had been 10 years since I had graduated high school, and the one thing I knew was I passionate about being healthy. A friend of mine introduced the idea of Registered Massage Therapy (RMT). I had the opportunity to do a 4 day mentorship at a clinic. I remember that one of the therapists said it was the hardest schooling she had ever completed Most would have looked for other options. I decided after that experience to register for the three year RMT program.
I did not come from a wealthy background nor did I have the funds to go to school. Fortunately, the Royal Bank had a student loan system. Although I didn’t want to go into debt, I knew this was probably the best investment I could make in myself.
After completing my first year of studies, I started working at a spa at Sunpeaks Resort over the summer. I also opened my own relaxation massage business working out of my home in Kamloops. It was not until my second year of training when Sport Therapy was introduced. That is when I grew excited about the opportunities this profession could offer me.
Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy
I graduated from Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy (OVCMT) in July of 2008. In October, I was officially a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT)! Prior to receiving my registration I created my own brand, website and I had my own clinic ready to go.
I was the owner/operator of Kamloops Optimal Health Clinic from October 2008 – December of 2012. My goal was to work with athletes and individuals that wanted to be active and healthy. My next goal was to work towards excellence in the realm of Sports Massage Therapy. In order to reach that goal, I had to become a member of the Canadian Sport Massage Therapy Association (CSMTA) and begin their National Certification Program.
Certified Sport Massage Therapist
My journey to become a Nationally Certified Sport Massage Therapist, SMT (C)started in November of 2008. Here is a brief description of what the program requires:
– Work with multiple teams and at sporting events to attain 500 hours of hands on experience.
– Complete the following courses: Advanced Sport Massage, Sport Orthopedic Testing and Assessment, Sport Anatomy and Physiology, Sport Massage and Psychology
– Become a Sport First Responder (SFR).
– There are 10-15 text books and taping courses that are recommended.
– Once you attain 500 hoursand complete all the courses, you take your written and practical exam.
As of March, 2013,I was officially a Nationally Certified Sport Massage Therapist. Isabelle Hamptonstone once said “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals”.
Teams – Sport Therapy Co-Chair – CSMTA Executive
The Cliffside Climbing Team was the first team I worked with in 2008-2009. At the same time, I started to work with the Kamloops Junior B Storm mens hockey team. In 2011-2012 I worked with the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Mens WolfPack Hockey team as well as the mens and women’s soccer teams.
This was such a great experience that enabled so much growth from working with the staff and players.
In 2010, I was asked to be the Medical Director for the Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Kamloops, BC. After this event I had a new appreciation for gymnasts and what they put their bodies through.The best part of working with a variety of sports at multiple venues is the wealth of experience you gain in such a short period of time.
In 2010 and 2011, I was the Sport Therapy Co-Chair for the Western Canadian Summer Games held in Kamloops. My role was to organize and provide medical services at the poly clinic and at all sporting venues. During my time in Kamloops my colleagues and I organized massage, taping and first aid at many venues in Kamloops. I loved getting out of the clinic and into the community.
From November 2008 until now, I have been a part of the Executive for the BC Chapter of the Canadian Sport Massage Therapy Association. The positions I have held include:
– The Thompson Nicola Events Coordinator
– BC Chapter Secretary
– BC Chapter Representative
– BC Chapter President (2012-2014, current 2016-2018).
Being involved with the Association allows me to directly impact the growth of Sport Massage in BC. It has also helped me link arms with likeminded therapists across Canada. To me, that is the ultimate benefit!
A Fresh Start
In 2012, I sold my practice in Kamloops and moved to Kelowna, BC. I joked that I was semi-retired as I was no longer running a clinic or working full time with my teams. Living and working in Kelowna has been a refreshing change of pace and I love it here!
I started practicing from Lifemark Health Center and from my home based clinic in the Lower Mission area of Kelowna. In 2014, Lifemark BC offered me the position of RMT Best Practice Leader. I was hired for an initiative to create the RMT gold medal standard for all clinics in BC. The best part was inspiring other RMT’s and supporting our profession.
As this initiative came to fruition, I started instructing RMT Students at the Vancouver Career College here in Kelowna. Some of the courses I instruct are Sport Therapy, Business Practice and Therapeutic Exercise. It has been a learning experience finding different ways to help each individual learn and understand the concepts. I realized through this experience that I love teaching as I feel I learn as much from the students as they do from me.
Building DoorsIn 2013, I was able to create the opportunity to work with Hockey Canada’s National Women’s Hockey Program. Milton Berle once said “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door,” I had to build the door.
My first opportunity was in Penticton, BC when I worked with the Senior Women’s Hockey Program (2014). I was involved at their bootcamp in the year prior to the Sochi Olympics (in which they won gold!).
The next job opportunity I had was also in the late summer of 2014. I worked as the RMT for the U18 Selections Camp in Rockland, Ontario.
My first Head Massage Therapist role was with our Development Team in 2014 (this is where you are apart of the selection camp, development camp and competition). I traveled with this team to the 2015 Nations Cup in Austria and Germany (where we won).The following year I was asked again to work with the U18 Team as their head Sport Massage Therapist. We started with the Selections Camp in Calgary then we traveled to Lake Placid, New York for a 3 game series against the USA team. We finished up at the World’s Championship in St.Catherines, Niagara Falls.
Last year I was asked to work with our Senior Women’s Team during their Fall Festival. What a journey with Hockey Canada! Mel Davidson (GM of Hockey Canada) said once… “Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”. This is what I strive to do personally and professionally every year.
Getting Comfortable Being Unconfortable
The last experience I would like to share is when I was hired as the Lead Medical Practitioner for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, Ontario. I It was one of those positions you apply for but do not think you will get.I accepted this position in February of 2015.
I was excited and scared at the same time. Toronto is a big city I had never visited before. I was going to be performing a new role as Lead Medical Practitioner at a sport venue with staff I have never worked with before.It turned out to be an opportunity that provided the most professional and personal growth. On my flight home I felt a new sense of confidence with traveling, managing and problem solving.
I have experienced and gained so much knowledge during my 8 years of practice as a RMT. I have completed over 20 courses, attended 11 sport medicine conferences, worked with 12 teams, treated at 8 sporting events and even worked with athletes/artists with the Cirque du Soleil show!
I have co-chaired the Sport Therapy for 4 events, held 5 executive positions and practiced at 3 different clinics. I organized one National CSMTA Conference in Kelowna and 6 BC CSMTA AGM’s. I worked as an RMT Best Practice Leader for Lifemark BC, and have instructed 6 courses.
I pride myself with being one of the first to learn new techniques while trying to gain as many professional experiences as possible. I am passionate about what I do and I genuinely try to do the best for my patients. This past year I reflected on the process I was taking with my patients. I have refined my approach and the direction my practice is going. I believe every professional needs to put careful thought into their practice and beliefs and to move towards some new ways of thinking.
New Ways of Thinking:
In 2016, I took one course that really stretched my mind and it was a gift from Hockey Canada. The course was Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). This course differs from any courses I have taken as it is an assessment based system. This system assesses 7 fundamental movement patterns. All of these movement patterns provide our foundation for success with movement. I believe we all share common goals. To gain or retain our mobility and functional capacity over the years. This assessment system provides an efficient method to systematically find the CAUSE of symptoms. It also creates a baseline of where we are at and where we could be. This system also allows me to clearly match my treatment plan and exercises to the main problem.
For an hour long video from the one of the founders Grey Cook. “Movement Search: Connecting You to Your Movement Path” | Talks at Google: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_Xcs9ri_co
To streamline my booking, assessment and home care. I have added in some new software systems. There is an online health history that I will be asking you to fill out, you will be able to pay with visa, master card, cash, transfer or cheque. You will have your own online account to check when your appointments are and have access to your history of treatments. You can also customize notifications through email or text reminders for your appointments.
I also have a new software system called Physitrack. This is a corrective exercises software that provides you with a free app for you phone and allows you to keep track of your exercises. It can provide you with alerts to remind you to complete them and you can share your results with me throughout your exercises!
My sessions will involve more assessment as we work towards functional mobility. As usual we will begin with creating clear goals. The treatments will use all of the modalities/tools that I have gained throughout the years. The home care exercises will be specifically geared towards your goals. With the new Physitrack software system, you will not only have access to it on your phone, it has videos, pictures and provides clear descriptions. This will be your start to a successful year of implementing change in how you move.