Many of our RMTs from CCMH first began as clients of Massage Therapy. As a client, you get to experience the benefits of Massage Therapy as it helps your body recuperate. Massage Therapy is incredibly useful in sports, keeping a lot of athletes in their best condition. Natiely Lai, an alum from CCMH Cambridge, spoke to us about her experience at CCMH, and how her journey has led her to Sports Massage.
Fitness has always been important to Natiely, mentally and physically. Over the years, she’s actively participated in track and field, field hockey, and more recently, developed a passion for boxing. This interest in sports is the reason why Natiely was first introduced to Massage Therapy, as she would continuously receive Massage Therapy treatments to help alleviate muscle tension and soreness.
“After years of playing field hockey competitively, I realized what that the pain in my lower back and hips were from the biomechanics of the sport. Until this day, the same issues with my biomechanics still need to be addressed, but with Massage Therapy, personal training, and proper self-care, I have learned to relieve the pain from day-to-day.”
The idea of being more than a client in the world of Sports Massage Therapy occurred to Natiely when she was in high school, and she got an opportunity to do a co-op position at a Physiotherapy clinic. At the clinic, she saw the profession first hand.
“I was shadowing Physiotherapists and a RMT, but mostly ended up shadowing the RMT. I saw that their profession played a big role in relief, and it clicked immediately that I wanted to pursue Massage Therapy, and get involved in the community.”
That experience brought Natiely to CCMH Cambridge. During a class, guest speaker Remo Bucci came into talk; it became evident to Natiely that both of her interests – sports and Massage Therapy – could go hand-in-hand.
“Remo Bucci, RMT, SMT(C) came to CCMH to introduce the class to the Canadian Sport Massage Therapists Association (CSMTA). After graduating, I became a member, so I could begin volunteering towards my Sports Massage Therapy hours. I volunteered as an RMT at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games working with martial arts athletes for two weeks.”
Working with Martial Arts athletes made Natiely realize that she wanted to try a more combative sport such as boxing. While training SydFIT, Natiely was offered a job as an RMT where she treated the members and Amateur/Professional Boxers. This is where she encountered Mandy Bujold, a 2016 Rio Olympian and two-time Pan Am Gold Medalist in Boxing.
“This year, I got to be Mandy’s RMT during her recovery stages of training every week as she was preparing for the Canadian Championship in Quebec City. I got to fly out as her personal RMT for the week. As a result, she won her 11th Canadian title, and also received Female Boxer of the Year to top it all off.”
Natiely noted that as a high-performance athlete, Mandy finds it crucial to have alternative health care so she can recharge, recover, and stay fight-ready during big competitions. Pre-Sports Massage with quick tapotement techniques were a routine she would perform minutes before a fight. This made sure that Mandy’s nerves were decreased, keeping her mentally and physically prepared before she stepped into the ring. Natiely believes that there are tons of learning and employment opportunities within Sports Massage for not only clients, but for future RMTs!
“Sports Massage is a unique kind of massage compared to other techniques because it is timeline based and sectioned into different types such as pre/post-event, rehabilitation or restorative,” Natiely said. “There are many Sports Massage techniques, stretches and strengthening exercises that you can incorporate into your own treatments. As for employment, there are many volunteer and paid events that the CSMTA provides if you decide to become a Sports Massage therapist. You get to meet lots of new people during events, which is perfect for networking and building your own referral network with other healthcare professionals!”
As for our current students, Natiely had some advice: “Hard work and goal-setting during your time here at CCMH will definitely pay off in the end. The amount of information that is provided at this college keeps you fully prepared for Provincial exams, and the instructors give you all the information you need to know.”
If you have any questions about Sports Massage, or would like to get in contact with Natiely, you can contact her on Facebook.
Are you interested in a career as a Massage Therapist? Learn more about other students who found their path at CCMH by checking out our blog and following us on Facebook and Twitter. Want to share your story? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.