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Experience is the best teacher. That’s why WCCMT reaches out for stories from alumni who have graduated to become successful RMT’s. Learning about their Massage Therapy practice is an inspiration, and their advice is priceless. Linda “Koby” Blanchfield, who graduated from WCCMT in 1990, is an example of what dedication and a thirst for knowledge can accomplish.
When she attended school, the campus was located in East Vancouver, the heart of Chinatown at the time. Using public transit, it took her over an hour and 15 minutes one way to commute to school each day. Depending on the weather, it could have taken longer.
The long days were necessary for Koby, since WCCMT was the only Massage school in British Columbia at the time. Due to her growing family, she was unable to make the move to Ontario, and had to make due with the long hours of commute.
But, the hours spent transporting via bus were for a good cause. Koby originally pursued Massage Therapy for a very personal reason.
“I had a motor vehicle accident and physiotherapy, using electricity, was not helping,” Koby told us. “ A friend recommended Massage Therapy, which was then covered by the BC Medical Service Plan. It resolved my musculoskeletal issues. I was impressed, and thought that I would like to be able to help people, like my RMT helped me.”
Her experience left a lasting impression that seeped into her desire to help others through Massage. “It is a wonderful feeling to help folks on the path to wellness with hands on work and education,” she said. “It is gratifying to see the change in physical well being and this often leads to happier patients.”
Koby told us that the initial contact she makes with patients is usually by phone, a necessary step before they can book a treatment. Clients are sent information about some of the conditions they treat at the clinic, so they can work together to develop the treatment plan.
“None of the clients can book online, as the type of work we do must often be planned in advance. This involves collaboration, a great way to encourage adherence to treatment plans.”
When asked about advice for current and new students, Koby suggested to focus on the small things, like punctuality, giving 100% attention to the matter at hand and following through on any commitment made. These simple actions leave a lasting impact on patients and make them feel respected. She said the same applies for school and work, as it will have the same effect on colleagues and teachers.
Her final piece of advice is something that resonates deeply with the WCCMT spirit. Never stop learning – continued education builds a successful practice.
“Passing the Boards is only the start of entry to practice,” said Koby. “Continuing education should not be motivated by a point system, but rather by pursuit of the excellence we can bring to our practice. It never ends.”
Wise words from a valued WCCMT alumnus. Thank you Koby, for sharing your story with us!
Are you interested in a career as a Massage Therapist? Learn more about other students who found their path at WCCMT by checking out our blog and following us on Facebook and Twitter. Want to share your story? Contact Susy at [email protected]
Kevin Breiter believes in the value of ongoing and thorough education. We spoke to him about his time at WCCMT and what he believes should be the future for the Massage industry.
Which campus did you study at?
Which courses did you enjoy most? The least?
My favourite courses were neuro-science and OPs. My least favourite courses were… neuro-science and OPs!
How did your journey lead you to WCCMT?
I was doing several things before i became an RMT; most striking was that I wanted to be an ER nurse. UBC and Douglas College of BC had accepted my initial application. I was assigned a waiting list number in 2001 it was a two year waiting period.
After various construction and trades positions, I had achieved both the required grades and finances to attend. Both UBC and Douglas College lost my applications after the two year waiting period. Soon after, I very literally ran into the New Westminster WCCMT sandwich board sign (BHAM!) on East Columbia (have to keep that head up!).
I was enrolled within the week. It took me two years and one week to start my journey at WCCMT.
What do you love about being an RMT?
Being an RMT is awesome due to our advanced manual skills and medical training. This unique blend of education allows the practitioner to help nearly every stage of humanity (and even animals!). How cool is that!
I can say the manual therapies have always been a loved past time. I was the kid who would treat his family and friends via Massage and TRP release even at a very young age. I just had a knack for it.
My talent turned into a professional career before I knew it; I can say work has never felt like work to me – just awesome feeling!
What advice can you offer to new Massage students and future RMTs?
In my experience, budding RMTs need to know firstly the education. You can’t fake knowledge in your practice. Everyday you have to keep the pedal down on studying and embrace life-long learning. Otherwise it’s all a “poke and hope” event and no one within the Canadian health profession will respect that therapeutic intent.
How do you envision the future of our industry?
Within the therapeutic sports manual medicine profession, I see the future as an advancement in both education and demand. The profession needs to be a five year majors program, that way we RMTs are level with most other professions in the healthcare system.
Demand will increase as science and research continues to demonstrate effects of manual therapeutic medicine. As public opinion drives our profession even high among extended benefit insurance, our future is looking very bright indeed.
What do you think needs improvement in our industry?
The common misconception of alternative healthcare is still that we are uneducated body workers. (I mean no slander to body workers with this example). Without advanced educational programs, other healthcare professionals continue to look down at Massage.
Thanks to Kevin for sharing his insights on the future of massage! Want to share your story? Contact [email protected] to be featured in our blog. As always, WCCMT would love to see you on LinkedIn, our New Westminster Facebook Page or our WCCMT/CCMH Facebook Page so you can stay connected with our community.
There are many reasons to become a Massage Therapist and different things can draw a person to that calling – the flexibility of the schedule, the ability to follow your passion or the sheer satisfaction of helping others. At the College of Massage we’ve taught thousands of students, each on their own, unique path to RMT, and physical therapists. While we work hard to instill a sense of pride, education and ambition in our students, it always makes us happy to see how they fare once they walk across our graduation stage and into the world of Massage Therapy. We’ve learned a lot from our alumni – not just how to be better RMT’s, or how to advance in their fields, but at the core, what makes them like being a Massage Therapist.
For some, it’s the flexibility. According to Stephanie McDowell, “I am fortunate enough to be able to pick and choose the days and times I work and I have a broad spectrum of patients with varying and complex issues.”
Many describe their dream job as having the ability to select their own working hours, and with Massage Therapy, you are awarded that luxury. There’s also the advantage of choosing from multiple fields. With such a broad practice, there are many career opportunities to choose from and CCMH alumni have been able to follow their individual passions while still helping others.
According to alum Adryon Hutton, “Massage Therapy is one of the most evolving and diverse medical professions that exist today. You can focus your practice on so many different types of therapy – pregnancy and maternity, sports, geriatric, neuro, rehabilitation, pediatrics, chronic illness, first nations or maybe a little bit of everything.
For others, it’s the discipline they’ve learned while in Massage school. “I gained an understanding of the fortitude and commitment required from both the client and therapist to achieve their desired goal,” states Gleb Savchenko, and alumnus of CCMH. They appreciate not just holding themselves accountable, but seeing the progress of their truly dedicated patients. They are working as a team to achieve a common goal, which is to help a patient reach success or to fully heal with Massage.
The most common benefit of being a Massage Therapist, recognized from so many of our students and faculty in our community, is the reward of helping others reach their full potential, whether it’s healing, achieving a new a goal or simply being able to perform small, everyday tasks.
Stephanie expands on this by stating, “It’s hard to put into words, but the faith my clients put in me is a very wonderful and humbling experience… It’s especially the little things (which are actually often the enormous things) that really make the days special. I will never get tired of hearing someone say ‘I was just able to put on my own shoes and socks for the first time in months!’”
People choose to become Massage Therapists for many reasons. It can be because of money, time flexibility, passion – but at the end of the day, every Massage Therapists experiences the same thing – healing.
“I haven’t had a specific “AHA” moment where I knew I made the right decision in choosing a career, but it happens daily,” said Andrew, a Waterloo-based RMT. “The gratitude I feel after asking people how they feel after a treatment, or the satisfaction I feel when I complete a Treatment Plan and get to discharge someone who is no longer suffering with an issue they came to me with, really makes it all worthwhile.”
There couldn’t be any better reason than that.
Are you interested in becoming a Massage Therapist? Would you like to share your experience as a WCCMT Alumnus? Message us at [email protected]. To hear more great stories about Massage, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.