Amy Grifal just recently walked across the stage and is on her way to the Board Exams. She balanced school life with family life (husband and child) across her 5 terms at WCCMT New West and is here to reflect on what got her through the last 20 months, including how taking the free Bio Prep course before the program helped her! [Read more…]
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…]
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]
As an RMT you know better than anyone that every patient is different. In fact, every injury and condition is different and can affect patients in different ways. Because of this you may encounter patients who come back to you following an initial treatment with concerns of pain or sometimes even worse pain than when they arrived. Understanding the difference between aggravation, pain and contraindications is key to making the right decision at their next appointment.
Reaction: No Pain, No Gain
Massage therapy can be one of the most challenging to perform for patients with complaints of pain. Pain management infers that the pain will be alleviated which in some cases is not the first or expected result. Many patients do not realize that when undergoing any form of pain management in certain scenarios the no pain no gain phenomenon actually applies. For example a patient who has complaints of pain and stiffness may feel relief at their first appointment but within a few hours following their appointment begin to feel discomfort again. Although this is a normal “reaction” it can make a negative impression on the patient. In some cases, because their first feeling was relief, when the pain returns they may interpret it to have worsened when in fact it is either the same or slightly lessened. The cause of this reaction is the increase in blood circulation returning to the area. You might liken it to the case of a foot falling asleep that when returned to action tingles and hurts until the circulation is completely returned. Although the pain is unpleasant, once circulation returns the pain is relieved. As with returning mobility and decreasing pain the return of blood circulation is temporarily unpleasant but a necessary reaction to improve the overall condition. Knowing this will make patients less nervous about continuing treatment.
Aggravation: Pain, No Gain
In the case where a massage causes aggravation this is a pain, no gain scenario. Aggravation can be caused with massage improperly applied. Too much aggression, pressure or too vigorous a massage can work to make the area undergo further trauma and result in unwanted aggravation such as developing trigger points and facet joint subluxation. It is not an intentional occurrence but it shows how important choosing the right technique for each patient is vital to the success of their therapy. Sometimes a patient themselves requests a more aggressive massage which can be misleading to you as an RMT. It might seem they require a deeper massage because the patient is associating the pressure as effective. It is important to consider the patient’s condition and if it is wise to apply further pressure. If it does not make sense it is important to explain to the patient that further pressure or aggression could actually cause damage. Ignoring the basic rules of contraindication will cause aggravation and worse, serious damage to patients.
A common mistake for many massage patients is to feel sudden relief and want to test out their new flexibility. They may reinjure the area without even realizing it and associate the new pain with something that occurred during the massage. It is important to review with each patient how best to treat their improving range of motion and that they must avoid any undue or excessive strain even if they feel better. If they understand that it is possible to strain or sprain the area as a result of their new flexibility they are more likely to continue with their more cautious movements until treatment is completed and they have the thumbs up to return to exercise and activity.