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Contibutor to Our Profession: Fall 2009

I live in the Niagara region beside a beautiful wooded area along the famous Welland Canal, with easy access to bicycle/walking trails, farmers markets and open spaces. My wife Cheryl has tolerated marriage to me these last 17 years (I don’t know how she does it) and we have two children – Gabriel, 15 years, and Noah, 13 years. I love the outdoors and spend much of my time there, when I’m not working.


October 23, 2009
By Massage Therapy Magazine

Topics

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I live in the Niagara region beside a beautiful wooded area along the famous Welland Canal, with easy access to bicycle/walking trails, farmers markets and open spaces. My wife Cheryl has tolerated marriage to me these last 17 years (I don’t know how she does it) and we have two children – Gabriel, 15 years, and Noah, 13 years. I love the outdoors and spend much of my time there, when I’m not working.

Don.jpg
Don Dillon


PROFESSIONAL PROFILE
Bored of working in the fitness industry (and really bored of data processing, which I went to college for initially), I was on my way to another workshop when I passed the Sutherland-Chan School and Teaching Clinic. After taking the introductory class, I was hooked and made preparations to attend in 1989. My initial workplace was in chiropractic offices, and I did supplemental work in spas until I made a fitness centre in St. Catharines my home base.

It was in the formative years I experienced the trials and tribulations of practice management, working with other practitioners, not having the answers to questions like “how can I resolve this pain?” However, these experiences – along with the pressing financial need to provide for my family – pushed me to learn how business worked; why existing massage business models didn’t work; and how to effectively address chronic, painful, difficult biomechanical dysfunction. I’ve invested heavily in learning and I still have much to learn about the latter.

INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE AND EXPERIENCES
Jill Rogers, Massage Therapy Canada publisher, was my first massage therapist. She, along with chiropractor Mike Hockridge, epitomized intentioned, compassionate care – strongly influencing my philosophy of care early on. Jill also prodded me, many years later, to dust off my musings and contribute to every issue of the magazine. This nudge, along with helpful nudges by others, inspired my other projects and the formation of MTCoach.com .

Grace Chan, Christine Sutherland, Debra Curties and Trish Dryden have shown great leadership in our profession, as have many past and present OMTA (Ontario Massage Therapist Association) board members. I’m also mentored by my “crew” at Massage Therapy Radio, www.massagetherapyradio.com , and many of the massage therapy educators across Canada. I love discussing the profession with them at such a sophisticated level!

Working in the Pygmalion Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake exposed me to a less clinical, more humane, way of plying bodywork. On one occasion there, I worked on a 73-year-old woman six days in a row . . . an intensity of care I never experienced in the school setting. Her healing results were dramatic, and I saw what the intensity of bodywork could do. I’ve been influenced directly by Paul St. John, LMT, Michael Leahy, DC, and Tom Myers, LMT, along with Deanne Juhan, Leon Chaitow, ND, DO, Jean Pierre Barral, DO, and John Upledger, DO, indirectly. They are masters in the craft and I stand in awe of their work.

MOST CHERISHED EXPERIENCE OR ACCOMPLISHMENT
Whenever I speak, in whatever province I’m in, I’ve discovered the problems of massage therapists are very similar. I’ve had intimate conversations with hundreds of practitioners directly, and thousands through my articles, webcasts and web posts, and I feel immensely privileged to have this quality of communication with my colleagues. I have an insider’s view, of not just my daily practice life, but the professional lives of my colleagues. I see their anguish, their struggles, their confusion, and this drives me all the more to speak up and offer insights to the collective into how we can evolve as a profession. How indeed we can offer humanity real solace in a culture so brutalized with violence, disembodiment and exhausted apathy. So my greatest accomplishment is still to come . . . the positioning of bodywork as a social ethos.

HOPE FOR OUR PROFESSION

Our profession struggles with its identity – spa personal care, rehabilitative medical therapy, a medium for human potential actualization … I think we try to wear too many hats under one title and it confuses the public and funders of care. We also suffer from isolation and fear, resulting in lost opportunities to shape and evolve the profession. We need to powwow a whole lot more!

My hope is that we can collaborate and position bodywork as a social ethos, as an everyday universal remedy for distress and somatic dysfunction. Further, by our interventions, I hope we can make the world a kinder, gentler place to live.

WORDS OF WISDOM
My great religion is a belief in the blood, the flesh, as being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds. But what our blood feels and believes and says is always true.

– D.H. Lawrence


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