"Why did you become a massage therapist?"
The answer - to help clients reduce their pain while increasing their quality of life through massage therapy. I would like to share with you how I made the decision to become a massage therapist and the path I was lead on to become one.
November 26, 1996 was a pivotal moment in my life that would change my life. That fateful date changed how I would perceive modern medicine, health care and alternative health therapies. It transformed me into what I am today - a massage therapist.
The auto accident caused sever pain, PTSD and medical dysfunction in my life including living with fibromyaliga since childhood. Typical medications and drugs were not working. We as society are always told our doctors know everything. Take what they give you and you will be all better. In some cases this state is not true. In my situation it was not beneficial for my recovery but destroying my body inside and out.
At the time it was acceptable placing patients on steroids to decrease pain and spasms. The medicines came with the price of weight gain, digestive issues and emotional problems. Doctors and insurance companies did not recognize soft tissue injuries which made it all but difficult to receive reimbursement for chiropractic treatments, medicine or any other therapies. Even though I was receiving "chiropractic" care I only received electro-therapy and a heating pad on my back for my treatment. There was no instruction on how to perform self care for improvement. Neither were there recommendations to go to a massage therapist, or a physical therapist. Nothing was ever discussed about alternative therapies either. The clinic was billing me $250 per session for placing electro-therapy pads on my back and keeping me pain free by prescribing medicine. Eventually the steroids and pain medication stopped working. When your body becomes immune to a certain dosage you just have to keep increasing the dosage of the medicine. I knew I had to take matters in my own health and find better pain management plan. After six months of treatment I opted to remove myself from his services to find another more qualified healthcare provider. From there I went on a ten year path of alternative medicine discovery.
I found there there was more to just traditional medicine. Alternative medicine could compliment traditional instead of canceling either one or the other out. Also I found what may work for some may not work out for most of masses. What I did and like most people do now I was searching for someone that could help me with my pain management instead of profiting from it. I wanted results. If I did not feel if that health care professional whether it be doctor or chiropractor was not placing my health first and foremost ahead of the all mighty dollar, they were removed from my healthcare regiment.
On my path of discovery I went to a acupuncturist, multiple chiropractors, naturopathic doctor, several general practitioners and eventually massage therapists. I research, studied and used herbal supplements and vitamins for health and pain management. I studied energy healing and how it affected not only the body but mental health and spiritual aspect of the whole human system. Yoga and meditation was also incorporated into my pain management, too.
In 2001 through a college teacher my Reiki ability was activated. I feverishly studied Reiki and began applying it to pain management helping others. Reiki is a form of energy healing. Reiki was a lost healing art reintroduced by Japanese Reiki Master Mikao Usui less than 100 years ago yet has it's roots in Tibetan energy healing philosophies. There is no religion or deity associated with this practice. It's amazing energy that constantly flows through me when I am working on clients to this day.
2003 I began working for a alternative health store. I found not only a wealth of information for herbology but for alternative supplement and vitamins as well. I studied under a master herbalist for nearly three years. Reflexology and shiatsu were other healing therapies I learned while I was a teenager. It was reincorporated into my life so I studied both modalities while working at the health store. The store staff and customers were my models. Feed back was given promptly if the sessions were beneficial. Majority of the cases, the first session seemed to alleviate their pain symptoms.
I found another chiropractor that would be a long term health care provider for me. Yet there was a vital piece missing. I needed actual work on muscles, ligaments and tendons. In 2004 contacted a local massage school scheduling an appointment with a certified massage therapist. I knew instantly that this was the missing piece of my health regiment. Since then I see a massage therapist on a regular basis for preventative maintenance.
To incorporate everything that I learned about alternative health therapies, I decided in 2006 to work towards my massage therapy license. I wanted to help those that had been in my situation. I wanted to assist in reducing their pain and to teach them what I learned about pain management. In 2007 I received my certification and opened my massage therapy outcall service part-time. To gain additional and necessary knowledge I worked for other industries that incorporated massage therapy as part of their regimen. I even worked for a massage school as a certified massage therapist. By 2008 I opened up a office working full-time for myself seeing clients on a need to basis for pain management, relaxation and alternative healing therapies.
My path of learning over this past 20 years has lead me to help those that are in need of pain reduction. As that of the path of a shaman, each healer goes through a period of illness, pain or disease. We learn from our personal experience how to treat ourselves but we apply what we learn to assist others. This is an very important process of a any health care professional or body worker by learning to take care of yourself before taking care of another human being.
The philosophy of my business will always be first and foremost pain management. I empathize with being in pain and not receiving adequate care for soft tissue injuries. If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Susan Walker LMT #104431