This September 2017, Toronto will host the Invictus Games – a celebration of the strength of injured service members and veterans from over 17 allied nations.The event was established by Prince Harry in 2014 and is the only international adaptive sport event for injured active duty and veteran service members. In honour of the Invictus Games, CCMH/WCCMT will share interviews and stories of veterans who have graduated from our College and students with military backgrounds.
Today we spoke with Allan Kobayashi, a future student of WCCMT Victoria. He decided to pursue a second career as a RMT after serving nearly 21 years in the Army. We spoke with Allan about his service, the injuries he incurred during his service, his personal experience with Massage Therapy, and why he wants to become a Registered Massage Therapist.
Allan joined the Canadian forces (1 Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry) two weeks after graduating high school – at just 17 years old. After operational tours in Kosovo and Afghanistan, multiple natural disasters, and other deployments, Allan transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 2004. Next year in March 2018, Allan will be released from the armed forces for medical reasons.
During his service, Allan endured multiple injuries including broken bones, knee surgeries, and multiple concussions. He suffered additional injuries while competing in high level sports, also during his service. As a result of those injuries, Allan discovered the benefits of Massage Therapy firsthand as a patient.
“I had been diagnosed with syndromes, chronic this and or that, and it was suggested that I try a session with an RMT. Historically, relief of pain after rehabilitation had eluded me; with great trepidation I agreed to try Massage Therapy. I received an extensive 90-minute treatment and was astonished with the intensity, thoroughness, and the explicit knowledge demonstrated. I recognized the benefits immediately, both physically and mentally, adding monthly treatments to my training regime. Stridently, I have credited Massage Therapy for my many quick recoveries and multiple successes in endurance events.”
Allan greatly benefitted from Massage Therapy and grew more and more fascinated by it, since it helped him to recover from injury and finally find relief from pain. Ultimately, his experience as a patient inspired him to become a Massage Therapist.
“After years of receiving treatments from various therapists across Canada, I became adamant of the importance of Massage Therapy in maintaining good health. Becoming increasingly passionate, my own interest in becoming a Massage Therapist grew. I collected anatomy apps for my smart phone, bought anatomy and physiology colouring books, and even completed a three-day Introduction to Massage Therapy course. Having discovered my newfound interest, I felt a certain pride in knowing what I wanted to pursue as a second career.”
Allan’s decision to pursue a career in Massage Therapy was easy for him to make – all it took was 90 minutes of hands-on experience to inspire him:
“From receiving my first 90-minute treatment, to completing the Introductory to Massage Therapy course, my decision to pursue a future career in Massage Therapy was cemented. Followed by years of being a patient, I have a good understanding of the profession. When I was presented with an opportunity to begin school, fully supported, I did not hesitate and began the enrolment process.”
Allan will begin his studies in 2018 and he couldn’t be more excited to get started. He finds the stories of the RMTs he’s encountered uplifting:
“I am inspired by stories of Therapists helping bridge the mental-physical gap and the benefits to patients recovery. I believe this is where I will expand into. ”
Allan cannot wait to complete his studies and begin his career as a Registered Massage Therapist. He is most excited about the prospect of improving his future clients’ lives through massage:
“The thought of being able to directly help someone, to improve their quality of life invokes incredible feelings of happiness.”
Allan’s story is unique, but many of WCCMT/CCMH’s students enrol for the same basic reason – to help others. If helping your community inspires you, a career in Massage Therapy might be the right path.