Biography: Summer 2006
By massage Therapy Canada
Tell Us A Bit About Yourself
I am a creative and enthusiastic health care professional! I have experience working with and presenting to a full range of strategic partners, boards, health care professionals and member-based organizations to advance and support the needs of clients, partners, the profession and the public.
By massage Therapy Canada
Tell Us A Bit About Yourself
I am a creative and enthusiastic health care professional! I have experience working with and presenting to a full range of strategic partners, boards, health care professionals and member-based organizations to advance and support the needs of clients, partners, the profession and the public. I operate a clinic, Foster Massage Works in Saskatoon, that provides massage therapy services to clients with a variety of needs, ranging from stress management/relaxation to palliative, medical, athletic and other acute trauma management therapies. Employed are two full-time MTs and one part-time MT, as well as a part-time receptionist. This store front location opened three years ago after many years of sub-leasing from other organizations. My involvement with the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance, as past Chair and current Director, has allowed me to develop what I like to call a mini MBA. My participation has included activities involving public speaking, Roberts rules of order or Parliamentary procedure, Public Relations campaigns, negotiating contracts and group dynamics. I am highly committed to the industry and have been practicing for 19 years. I believe firmly in the professional associations and have volunteered my time to their development. One of my fellow board members coined a phrase for those of us that seem to thrive in the board environment and it certainly applies to me – Board Nerd!
In 1987, I graduated from a basic massage and completed an advanced remedial massage course in 1989. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education (now called Kinesiology) with a major in exercise and sport studies in 1995. I have participated on the Board of the Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan since 1989 and with the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance since 1997. I have served as President for both organizations and worked on various committees. I have taken many courses in massage therapy and am now focusing on business courses.
Influential People Or Experiences
What led me into massage therapy is a failed Pony Clubber’s dream of becoming a Veterinarian. Because of my passion for riding, I wanted to be a large animal Vet, but I was shocked to find out how one tests large animals for pregnancy (it involves rubber gloves that go up to your shoulder and avoiding a dirty tail). So, in my search for a new career, my mother suggested that I look into massage therapy as a stop gap until I move on to Physio Therapy. However, I did not leave massage therapy because of the number of conditions that responded only to massage therapy and I stay with it today for the same reason. We truly are the leaders in soft tissue health care.
When you have worked a long time, it is hard to pick just one cherished experience. There are so many people that have influenced me and luckily many are now good friends. I would like to change the question to “What have I learned while working with people over the years?” My answer would be that simply acknowledging an individual and their symptoms, (especially when other health care professionals are no longer offering support to them), can be the most powerful first step in helping an individual along the pathway towards better health. MTs have the wonderful opportunity to take the time to listen and use our skill set working with a person to tailor a treatment plan for them. Sometimes the greatest successes have occurred when referring clients to other therapies. For instance, a woman who suffered a sever break to her leg caused by trauma sought massage therapy to help with the rehabilitation of the leg. Results were being achieved but it soon became apparent that post-traumatic stress counseling would be the more appropriate treatment at the time. Once completed, she returned to massage therapy. These people often become loyal clients who have confidence in referring their family and friends knowing that you will either provide or suggest the best possible care.
Hope for the Profession
There are critical phases during the development of a profession when the professionals themselves have to pay attention to the direction that their profession is taking. I feel that now is one of those times. I have watched massage therapy grow from a folk industry to a trade and it is now moving towards a profession. We need to ensure that the right people with the right abilities are in place to continue leading us forward. It is very important that we, the massage therapists, define our own profession and do not hand over our future or allow it to be shaped by outside pressure. We continually need to ask, “Is this where massage therapy should be?” “Can we be involved and if so how?”
There is an increase in discussions about interdisciplinary care for patients. Massage Therapy needs to be present and advocated for during these discussions. We can also play a leadership role.
Words Of Wisdom
Get involved in your associations. It cannot be the same people involved all the time. New massage therapy professionals bring fresh perspectives and that’s the way to move a profession forward.