Massage Therapy Canada

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Contibutor to Our Profession: Summer 2005

I live in the most beautiful small city in Canada – Fredericton, New Brunswick. I grew up in the village of Charlo in northern New Brunswick and had the honour of representing my province at five Canada Games, in speed-skating and cycling.

September 29, 2009  By Massage Therapy Magazine

Tell us a little about yourself:
I live in the most beautiful small city in Canada – Fredericton, New Brunswick. I grew up in the village of Charlo in northern New Brunswick and had the honour of representing my province at five Canada Games, in speed-skating and cycling.

Now, with my dog “Mr. Bojangles” at my side (and my husband Rob, too), life couldn’t be better. All three of us remain physically active, running and walking the trails throughout Fredericton, and competing in running events across the province.

My volunteer work includes the Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Brunswick, the University of New Brunswick Kinesiology Faculty curriculum review committee, Board of Run New Brunswick and the Association of New Brunswick Massage Therapists.

Professional Profile:
After completing my degree in Physical Education at the University of New Brunswick in 1994, I attended the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy in Sutton, Ontario, graduating in 1996. Eager to get back to New Brunswick, I immediately opened a practice in a busy medical clinic in Fredericton, not realizing the impact, good and bad, this would have on the local medical community.


My love of the profession soon led to an overwhelming client base, and my hiring of four additional massage therapists to work with me.

By 2000 I was determined to find ways to build credibility within the profession. After much research, work and preparation, on January 1, 2001 I founded and opened the doors for the first students to attend the Atlantic College of Therapeutic Massage.

ACTM is nearing the completion of five years of operation, with a staff of six full-time and eleven part-time employees. The greatest gift to me from ACTM is in having so many skilled and enthusiastic people surrounding me daily, all in pursuit of excellence in massage therapy. The faculty and staff make it all possible, and the students simultaneously absorb and exude the enthusiasm that comes from learning this wonderful profession.

In 2003 ACTM formed a strategic alliance with the University of New Brunswick, signing a credit transfer agreement whereby graduates from ACTM receive credit for nearly two years of a Bachelor of Science degree in the Faculty of Kinesiology.

We continue to work toward more alliances in a hospital placement program and in the expansion of professional development programs in Sport Massage, Perinatal Massage and Canine Massage

Influential people or experiences:
Teachers, family, massage therapists, students, colleagues and the people
I work with have all had an impact on my life. I have been very lucky and honored to know so many
wonderful people in the profession.

I would say my mother and father have been the most influential. Growing up, our family was very active in the sporting community. I learned at a young age that being healthy was important. So naturally I was interested in physical education.

After completing my university degree, I taught in the public school system. I had always been interested in massage therapy. My father used to massage race horses and when I was an athlete he used his massage therapy techniques on me.

I knew the benefits of massage, but I did not know that you could make a living at it. So, in my first year after graduating from UNB, I did a bit of research, took a leap of faith and went back to school.

I sold everything. I couldn’t get a provincial student loan from the New Brunswick Government because massage therapy schools were not on the approved list in 1994. So I was taking a real risk but I just had to go with my intuition and I have been trusting my instincts ever since.

My husband, Rob, and brother, Patrick, are also two important people in my life that I have been lucky enough to work with at the school.

Most cherished experience or accomplishment:
Most cherished experience – When I am in class and I see a student having that lightbulb moment – it gives me goosebumps. I love to cherish those little moments in life.

Most cherished accomplishment – I have served on the executive of the Association of New Brunswick Massage Therapists since 1996. I have served every role on the executive and am presently past president.

In a few short years, our association has grown from two members to just over 200 members.

I worked with many people who shared my determination and vision, to not let the standards of our
profession decline. We developed a strong voice in New Brunswick.

Last year I was privileged to be a part of history, with the signing of an agreement in principle between the two professional associations to work together toward the development of massage therapy legislation.
Hope for our profession:
My hope is that we will be able to focus on the good of the massage therapy profession without having to constantly defend it. I see so much potential for our profession.

I also hope that more massage therapists will become active in their provincial associations. I hear so many wonderful ideas from massage therapists who are passionate about the profession and who unfortunately don’t volunteer any time toward making a difference.

The old saying goes “Strength in Numbers.” I learned this from growing up in a small community where people would help their neighbors in the blink of an eye.
Words of wisdom:
We all should have a vision of what business people call a “mission statement.” With this, we see things much more clearly and our accomplishments will have more meaning.

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