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Amid the opioid crisis in British Columbia, there is an organization looking out for those helping the most vulnerable members of society.
The Provincial Overdose Mobile Response Team (MRT) provides psychosocial support and training to organizations and agencies working within the opioid crisis. For a year and a half, MRT has been promoting self-care to first responders and frontline workers.
“It’s trauma-filled work that they do,” Crisis Intervention Specialist, Donna Huywan said. “There is stigma due to their line of work, but it’s been an honour to provide support for them.”
In May 2018, WCCMT partnered with MRT to establish a special Inreach as part of the school’s clinic practicum. Every Monday afternoon, frontline workers and first responders receive complimentary massage therapy treatments (funded by MRT) from WCCMT students.
Huywan, who is a big believer in the benefits of massage therapy, reached out to WCCMT because she thought massage therapy would be a great service to add to MRT since, “it is an amazing asset to self-care.”
The response from those taking advantage of the service has been that of excitement and gratitude. Huywan has received a lot of positive feedback, especially from those who are causal or volunteer workers who normally would not have been able to afford massage therapy.
“When they walk out with a smile and they say that they’ve traveled from all over the Lower Mainland to come, you know it’s worth it.”
Other MRT services include Frontline Fitness in Aldergrove, Frontline Yoga in Delta and Ladner, and Frontline Fight Club, a group boxing class in Vancouver.
Tell me a bit of the history of WCCMT. How did the college get its start 35 years ago?
The West Coast College of Massage Therapy (WCCMT) is the birthplace of massage therapy education and the profession of registered massage therapy in British Columbia. It started with a dream by an RMT named John Ranney who was a graduate from The Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy (CCMH) in Ontario who wanted to create a school, like no other, for massage therapists in British Columbia. His dream came true when WCCMT first opened its doors in 1983. John’s dream became my dream when I joined the College in 1994. [Read more…]
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.