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Biography: Meet Amanda Baskwill

Tell us a little about yourself
At the age of 14, I embarked on an adventure that took me from rural Nova Scotia to the bustling town of Litchfield, Connecticut. I moved to pursue my dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. After 15 years of training, performing, and incurring various injuries to my ankles and calves, I decided to shift my career and began looking at the various possibilities. I would later discover that my pursuit of a dance career caused my extended family to consider me the ‘black sheep’ of the family and my decision to enter into massage therapy education would cement that thought


September 28, 2009
By massage Therapy Canada

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Tell us a little about yourself
At the age of 14, I embarked on an adventure that took me from rural Nova Scotia to the bustling town of Litchfield, Connecticut. I moved to pursue my dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. After 15 years of training, performing, and incurring various injuries to my ankles and calves, I decided to shift my career and began looking at the various possibilities. I would later discover that my pursuit of a dance career caused my extended family to consider me the ‘black sheep’ of the family and my decision to enter into massage therapy education would cement that thought. The interest in
and understanding of the human body that I had developed through my dance training prepared me well for a career in massage therapy. I entered the massage therapy program at Centennial College and have not looked back, since.

Professional profile
My professional interests are diverse. I am a practitioner, educator and researcher of massage therapy. I practice out of a multi-disciplinary clinic in Toronto where I currently treat the ‘working well.’ Previously, I had the opportunity to work with dancers at the National Ballet School in Toronto.

I am an active member of the Ontario Massage Therapy Association. ‘Active member’ means that I volunteer wherever I can. I currently sit on the editorial committee of the association’s publication and I am a director on the OMTA board. I am a faculty member at Centennial College in Scarborough, Ontario and teach a variety of courses ranging from research methods to anatomy, physiology, and standards and ethics.

As a researcher, I work with the Centre for Applied Research in Health, Technology and Education at Centennial College. In addition, I am involved with a couple of independent projects. I am currently involved in three research projects concerning massage therapy: the effect of an international massage therapy bridging program on the preparedness of internationally educated massage therapists wanting to take the registration exams to practice
in Ontario; professional self-image of massage therapy students and practitioners; and motivation of students to enter massage therapy education.
I volunteer as one of the co-chairs of the Canadian Massage Therapy Research Network (CMTRN). This Network seeks to connect massage therapists across the country with information that can be used in an evidence-informed practice.  Much of this is done electronically in order to reach massage therapists in all parts of the Canada. (www.cmtrn.ca)

Influential people or experiences
I remember being a first-year student, sitting in my therapeutic relationship course and knowing that I was in the presence of a leader in the profession. By my third year, I knew just how inspiring and motivational this individual could be. Trish Dryden is a household name for massage therapists. Most MTs can name at least one of the many positive effects she has had on the profession. Trish has become my motivator, confidant, collaborator and mentor. I continue to be inspired by Trish’s dedication and perseverance on issues and projects that are important to her. I have worked very hard since entering the profession however without Trish’s support and guidance I would not have known where to begin. 

Most cherished accomplishment
Currently, my most cherished accomplishment is my role in creating a massage therapy bridging program. This program allows individuals who were trained outside of Ontario the opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills to meet the standard expected in Ontario. This program has the potential to affect the lives of many individuals. We often hear about newcomers to Canada experiencing barriers to entering the profession in which they were educated. I believe the bridging program has the potential to be replicated in other provinces to increase access to the profession of massage therapy.

Hope for our profession in the near and distant future.
My hope for our profession is that the understanding of the effect of massage therapy continues to develop. It is my hope that we will continue to develop high quality studies that will look at the mechanisms of massage as well as the impact of massage on various outcomes and conditions. I also hope that individuals who can benefit most from massage can access treatment from massage therapists more readily.

Words of wisdom
All too often we point out all of the problems and frustrations with our profession. If we identified as many possible solutions just think of where our profession would be! Get involved: if you can identify there is something wrong in your profession, find a way to make a change.


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