I did my initial Massage Therapy Training in Atlanta. It was a 1250 hour course, taught apprenticeship style. I spent my first five years in practice working with an honest-to-god adjusting osteopath and an orthopedic surgeon inside an orthopedic surgery group. It was an incredible experience and really expanded my education in both knowledge and application. I treated a lot of people with unexplained chronic pain. People who hurt, all the time, often without any apparent physical cause. No apparent pathology, nothing I (or the doctors) could trace. Traditional medical tests often came up negative or inconclusive, and thus I began a long journey of discovery.
Many types of pain, including chronic pain, are in fact muscular in origin, or are triggered by commonly overlooked, and easily treatable influences.
Orthopedic and range of motion muscle testing is both muscle specific and scientific, allowing one to quickly see what muscles are impairing movement and causing pain. From there, observing and palpating movement patterns reveals adhesions that reduce joint movement and flexibility. Once you understand how it all interacts, it’s much easier to treat. We see remarkable results in our chronic pain patients, many of whom are able to reduce or eliminate their use of prescription painkillers (under medical approval and supervision) as they progress in their treatment. As Trigger Points and adhesions are released, so is the muscle tension and dysfunctional holding patterns. Adding Neuro-muscular re-education techniques helps break the cycle of holding patterns and the pain they create, letting the body move naturally, often restoring normal function. We expect our clients to feel relief in their first session. Sometimes there is some soreness, but they should feel a noticeable improvement in the ease and quality of their movement. If we can’t get consistent and significant improvement in three sessions, we’ll do our best to send the client to someone who can. We just don’t see the point in living with pain if it can be avoided.
Painkillers may make you feel better, but they won’t make you healthy
Sometimes a client comes along who shows no improvement at all, even with advanced testing and therapy techniques. This prompted me to look into a number of alternative healing ideas and techniques. I have come to believe that some people who don’t heal well have an unresolved or unreleased emotional issue related to the injury or surgery. The problem is, the physical symptoms are very real, so you can’t just tell someone “it’s all in your head,” because it isn’t. Besides, it’s a VERY insulting thing to say. My research led me to hypnosis as a way to help clients release unresolved emotions. After a few years of trying different hypnotherapists and analyzing their methods, I decided to become certified. That led me to Katherine Zimmerman, a Hypnotherapist and Teacher, who conducted much of my training, and taught me EFT. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques, and it is the fastest way to remove fear and trauma I have ever seen. I’ve used this amazing technique on everything from accident victims who now hate to drive, to people who just hate heights, spiders, rats, closed spaces etc. Nothing removes fear and trauma this quickly, or this easily.
In 1991, I moved west, (AZ) and began teaching Massage Therapy in ’92 as a guest instructor for Pima Medical Institute. I became involved with the Law & Legislation Committee when the laws for Massage Therapists in Phoenix were re-written. Much of this time was spent in private practice, and teaching the public about what is involved in different types of massage. Nine years later came a move to California where I ran a therapeutic clinic In Sacramento, and continued working for common sense legislation. I was never going to be able to afford a house of my own in CA, so I moved to a more affordable part of the country, and settled on NC. I applied for my license, which took 6 long months. A few years later, I became a Nationally Certified Approved Provider of Continuing Education through NCBTMB (#411), and I continue to teach seminars and workshops, mostly in the Raleigh and Charlotte areas.
About Continuing Education
There is a lot of debate and controversy over “distance education” in massage. I love this field, and there is a lot I still want to learn. I continue to study orthopedic and medical massage, both in and out of classrooms. There are enough techniques I’m interested in to keep me in classes for years to come. I do a LOT of reading, but reading a book will not make one proficient in any technique that requires palpation to assess and deliver. Until the COVID pandemic, every technique class I’ve ever taken was an “in person” class. I firmly believe that techniques that rely on palpation skills to deliver the best results should not be taught any other way. This profession is not well served by distance education alone.
Kay received her National Certification in Medical Massage Therapy in 2005.