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I am guessing that everyone has their story about how they entered into this profession and became a massage therapist.

January 21, 2011  By Mike Dixon

I am guessing that everyone has their story about how they entered into this profession and became a massage therapist. Well, when I was young and foolish (19 years of age), I was up in a tree fort in a friend’s backyard and we were jumping off of the roof onto a rope swing. When it was my turn, I jumped and the rope broke; I don’t even think it slowed me down. I ended up with an anterior compression fracture of T12 and fractured the bodies of all the lumbar vertebrae. It was three days before high school graduation. Needless to say I spent graduation in the hospital. This was in 1980; at that time there were not too many massage therapists in Victoria, but I found a good one. The massage treatments were terrific and really helped with my recovery.

Three years later I decided to become a massage therapist. I have now been a massage therapist for 24 years (since 1986). I have been known to wear several hats: father, therapist, college instructor and author, and am constantly struggling to find the right balance between my family, my work and me.

I enjoy being out on my boat with friends and family in the summer, and look forward, every year, to the family camp-out somewhere in British Columbia, where the lakes are pristine.

Every year for the past 25 years, our extended family have gathered for this annual get-together.
But enough about my personal life.


I am a 1986 graduate of the West Coast College of Massage Therapy (WCCMT) in New Westminster, B.C. It was the second graduating class from this college and young in its development as a college – but I enjoyed the training and the people immensely.

I really enjoy my massage therapy practice in downtown Vancouver, “The Electra Health Floor.” I am there two days a week – Monday and Saturday. Tuesday through Friday, I teach at WCCMT , where my main subjects are orthopedic treatment, regional and spinal orthopaedics and consolidated practice. Consolidated practice is a course that prepares the students for their licensing board exams, and I will say that the students have always kept me on my learning curve.

I think it is really important to recognize the people who provided the experience and the foundation to help you arrive at where you are today. You have to say thank you to people for their strengths and their weaknesses, for without both to learn from, you would not be the person you are today. Some of the people I would like to thank are John Ranney, RMT (founder of WCCMT), John Yates, PhD, Claudia Scrivener, PT, Doug Fairweather, RMT, and all my instructors in the past, as well as those from whom I am still learning today.

I have authored two books on joint and soft tissue manipulation and muscle energy. One is called Joint Play the Right Way for the Peripheral Skeleton and the other is titled Joint Play the Right Way for the Axial Skeleton.

The genesis to produce this resource was a need, within the profession, for a book tailored to the massage therapist; it could be successfully used in the classroom and, ultimately, as a valuable resource in the clinic setting. Today, both books are widely used across Canada.

This year, I was very honoured to receive the Legacy Award from the Massage Therapy Association of British Columbia for outstanding contributions to the profession. It definitely made me feel proud, and that I have made a difference in this profession.

I have seen this profession grow tremendously over the past 25 years; we are definitely more organized, more knowledgeable and much more highly educated. We certainly are more accepted within the medical community and more respected in the public eye. If we can continue on this path, I look forward to what the next decade or two will bring.

Become an expert at something, and that “something” should be your passion. This coupling of the two will surely bring you success, however you define success.

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