Introducing Ginnie, a friend that will be writing some great articles for us here about massage therapy. You may also see her at our booth at the AMTA conferences, if you attend, stop by and say “Hi”.
Hi, I’m Ginnie. I’m an RN with a bachelor’s degree from Boston University. Several years ago I decided it was time to consider a second career (more on that in a future blog). Suffice it to say, for now, that sometimes you just know when it’s time to move on. I was fortunate to be able to attend Down East School of Massage . It was crazy… rediscovering all that anatomy and physiology and pathology. It’s all stuff that I learned so long ago (a great deal of which had been forgotten or rather, secured deeply in a hidden part of my brain). Amidst all of that re-learning, I remembered how much I really like this stuff! I chose massage therapy as my second career because it employs so many elements of my nursing career that I dearly love, you know, all of those bits that drew me to nursing in the first place. Things like nurturing, caring, listening, teaching, helping to decrease pain, being organized, using my own grey matter, and just plain hands-on helping people feel better. What I love about massage therapy is that it involves all of these aspects of care and at the end of the day I feel I’ve really done something worthwhile. I also love that I have not caused any pain via needles, catheters, or other scary medical apparatus. I feel I’ve helped someone with something as simple as an hour of uninterrupted relaxation (actually NOT that simple), or relief from physical pain, or by taking an emotional vacation, or maybe even by providing a little bit of the healing intention and love that the client can feel through my hands. How cool is that?! I am grateful for the opportunity massage therapy has given me to do what I really love. I never knew how much I would really love it.
Well then, after finding such a fulfilling new career and working at a private massage and bodywork studio, two pivotal events occurred. #1 – I began to wonder if there was a way that I could incorporate my medical background into my massage practice, and #2 – My husband was diagnosed with cancer. It was during his stem cell transplant that I met his first nurse who proclaimed that she was a massage therapist that became a nurse. When I told her I had just completed the opposite transformation, she exclaimed how lucky my husband was to have brought his own private massage therapist with him to the hospital and how I could make his transplant more comfortable with massage. Now honestly, I was stunned at this revelation because I was taught in school that cancer patients were not eligible to receive massage. Sadly I was too afraid to disclose my ignorance to this nurse or I would have asked her what it was that I could do for my husband.
Fast forward three months… my husband was home from the hospital and I was back to work where I asked my boss about massage for people with cancer. She recommended an amazing course offered by a woman teaching oncology massage. I went home that evening, found there was a course beginning in 3 weeks, only 4 hours away! The next day I asked my boss for the time off, it was granted and the next thing I knew I was immersed in the world of oncology massage with Tracy Walton. I could literally write an entire blog about what an amazing pioneer Tracy Walton is, how much I admire her and have learned from her. Tracy is a true mentor, humble to the core, unpretentious, and her integrity impeccable. In my book, they haven’t invented enough good words to describe this remarkable woman and the work she does. I ended up taking two of her courses and embarked on a new path incorporating OMT (oncology massage therapy) into my practice. I LOVE being able to offer knowledge, comfort and hope to those suffering from a new cancer diagnosis, going through the oftentimes horrendous rigors of treatment, post-treatment/cancer-free status, and beyond. Also, it’s lovely to be able to offer support to caregivers!! They also have such stress, sadness, and anxiety. What an honor it has been so far. I have spent a lot of energy educating… trying to get the word out that OMT is available and very worthwhile in so many respects.
So, that’s a bit about me. What about you? What drew you to massage therapy, and is it what you thought it would be? Let me know some of your deep massage thoughts!