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At MTAM we love our members and the amazing work they do which has such a positive impact on the health and wellness of Manitobans. That is why in our 50th anniversary year we are using Massage Therapy Awareness Week (MTAW) to celebrate our members throughout Manitoba.
Watch our social media pages for feature posts during the month of October and daily during MTAW (October 22-28).
Learn more about some of the interesting practices our members have by clicking on the features below.
Are you an MTAM member who would like to be featured or nominate someone to be featured in the future? Contact the office for details.
Alain Couture is the Director of Health and Performance and Head Athletic Therapist for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club
He is a Certified Athletic Therapist CAT(C), Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and a Registered Orthopedic Technologist (ROT).
I have always enjoyed manual therapy work, and becoming a Massage Therapist has drastically increased my knowledge and skill set in that area.
I chose MTAM because they do an excellent job at representing and growing the profession in our province, as I believe a provincial voice is crucial for advancement. They also provide countless quality continuing education opportunities.
Pro sports is a unique environment to say the least, with many challenging cases constantly arising. To tackle these cases, our philosophy is heavily favored towards both exercise and manual therapy approaches. Our players spend just as much time in the gym rehabbing a specific injury/training for injury prevention as they do on the treatment table. So, a multi-faceted approach would be the best description.
Winning two Grey Cups (2019 &2021) tops the list!
Some advice for new therapists would be to volunteer and get as much experience as you can, especially if you’ve targeted an area of interest or a specific environment that you would like to be in. Some have no idea where they would like to work, and that’s ok, the same advice applies, get out there and volunteer. Success won’t happen overnight, and you will have to get as much exposure as you can.
Kristine Driedger, RMT, is the owner of “Inner Strength Massage” in Grunthal, MB.
For 27 years, I worked in the financial industry for a large Canadian company. This included being licensed as a securities trader and later running an office in a management position.
I’ve always found volunteering within my community important and fulfilling. I worked with Winnipeg Search and Rescue, Manitoba Ski Patrol, and was part of an annual cycling fundraiser for the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation. My husband and I have delivered Christmas hampers the last couple of years, and last fall I helped start up “Coffee Connections “ which is a senior initiative that provides a place where seniors within the community and surrounding communities can come for coffee and dessert free of charge every week to gather and visit. I’ve always had a soft spot for seniors- when working as a financial person I also worked for “Comforts of Home” giving care to seniors on a weekly basis.
For many years I’ve had interest in the health field, and in 2017 I decided to put away my heels and business suits and signed up for the Massage Therapy Program at Robertson College. Going back to school at that age was a bit intimidating, but I graduated from Robertson College with Honors in 2019. I had a job lined up well before graduating, and 6 months after graduating I was given an opportunity to have my own clinic in my home town of Grunthal. I was a newly registered Massage Therapist signing a 3 year contract for a new clinic- and then we were shut down by Covid. Instead of feeling defeat, I took this opportunity and time to renovate my newly acquired clinic. On May 4th, 2020, I opened my newly renovated clinic and started “ Inner Strength Massage”.
Over the last 3 years, I have expanded my modalities by taking additional courses – Hot Stone Massage, Cupping basics and Advanced, Rapid Neurofascial reset for upper and lower body, and many other courses through MTAM under Robert Libbey and Glen Bergeron. Most recently, I completed my Acupuncture Level 1 course.
I’ve always been interested in the Health Field. When I was thinking of a career change into the health field, my initial interest was to find a health service that I could provide to seniors. Most seniors do not have insurance and massage therapy may be too expensive for them. I thought of providing a discounted mobile service for seniors, and Massage therapy would be an essential health service that I could provide to them. Since opening my clinic, I have dedicated one morning a week to treat seniors at our assisted living facility and our personal care home for a minimal fee. I also continue to do mobile service for selected seniors. I’ve recently opened my clinic doors to a foot care nurse who uses my space to provide foot care to seniors within the community. I allow use of the space at no charge, so the service is cheaper for the seniors.
Why would I choose any other association? MTAM is the most impressive organization in Manitoba – with their resources, staff, course opportunities, etc., I’ve always felt “Secure” knowing I was part of this association. They were essential in helping me start up my own business by providing me with resources, insight, and advice when I wanted to hire new therapists. During Covid, MTAM was very proactive and consistent with their information. I felt well informed and supported within my practice during this uncertain time. MTAM is an industry leading force – a strong professional association acting as the umbrella for all of the practitioners in the industry in Manitoba. MTAM gives the profession itself better credibility.
My treatment philosophy is – “Don’t stop learning. Keep that thirst for knowledge. Embrace other health care practitioners and the service they can provide to your clients.” Your practice will benefit from this philosophy. Don’t be afraid to learn from others in your field. This is not a competition, so utilize each others’ strengths. We joined this career to help others, and working together with other Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, and Physiotherapists etc. will only enhance your service and benefit your clients. Speaking as a massage therapist – alone we may not be able to fully provide the type of treatment the client needs. Working with or referring out to other health professionals will strengthen your practice and instill a sense of confidence in your clients that you are truly concerned for their well-being.
My future goal is to create an environment where different health professionals can work together towards a common goal – a client’s successful treatment.
I’ve only been treating for 4 years but my biggest challenge is “saying no” to taking on too many clients in a week. When I started trying to build my practice, I wanted to fill my schedule – and I did that and more. I did not want to say “no” to clients. Over the last two years, I’ve added therapists and have created a dedicated and effective team which has helped me manage the client load. I am very proud that all of my therapists receive positive feedback and comments from the clients they treat. At Inner Strength Massage, we all share the philosophy that positive client outcomes and experience is top priority. What’s more is that we work as a team, we support each other in different ways and everyone enjoys working together. Having a positive and supportive work environment is very important to me.
My personal challenge is that I want “results”. I want to make a difference in every client that walks through my clinic door. Sometimes, that just isn’t possible using only Massage Therapy. My inner personal challenge is to figure things out. Sometimes clients present with symptoms that require more testing and assessment. Being able to develop relationships with other health care professionals, to be able to collaborate and ultimately treat a client collectively seems to be a big challenge.
A big highlight has been how quickly my career and business has evolved. I had a job secured six months before I graduated with a clinic in a nearby community. Six months after I graduated, I was offered a place of my own to open a clinic in my hometown. Only a year after this opportunity, I was encouraged to expand my clinic space from one room to the whole building- which now has an additional entrance, four treatment rooms, onsite washer and dryer room. My beautiful reception area also provides local vendors with a venue to sell their handmade products, which are “wellness” themed.
Always keep that desire and passion to learn more- for you and especially for your clients. Follow your vision. You had a reason you chose to become a Massage Therapist. Keep working towards that vision and make it happen!
I chose the name “Inner Strength Massage” because of the affect Massage has on our mental and physical wellbeing. While we effectively work on the physical aspect of a client, we are not only affecting their physical wellbeing but their mental wellbeing as well. I liked the multiple meaning in this name.
As for me, this entire process of re-inventing myself as a Massage Therapist, going through the schooling and developing my own business practice has required a great deal of my own “Inner Strength”… and because of that I feel the name is so fitting.
Laurielle Reimer is the owner of Ignite Massage Therapy in Winnipeg.
She trained at Wellington College of Remedial Massage Therapies with additional training in hot stone, cupping, myofascial integration, rib mobilization and reflexology.
Clinic Video: https://youtu.be/DHFdZqCodto
I knew I wanted to become a massage therapist since I was 14. I have always loved human anatomy and wanted to pursue a career in health care. Massage therapy was the perfect fit in combining my desire to help people and study the human body. As I studied, my eagerness to learn and master my craft continued to grow and hasn’t stopped.
MTAM has been a great support in providing a library of resources for me to grow my skills and further my knowledge. They are great advocates for their members and the massage therapy field.
I believe that our bodies are incredibly designed and through holistic practices when can help the body heal. Massage Therapy is a powerful tool that aids the body by creating an environment for it to heal. I believe in working with my client’s in a partnership to help them improve their function and mobility by providing stretches and strengthening exercises.
My biggest challenge in my career has been client education. I have been shocked at how many people don’t know that massage can treat things like TMJD, carpel tunnel syndrome, sciatic pain, etc. As well, helping client’s understand the source of their issues and improving how they move through their daily activities to prevent dysfunctions from reoccurring.
Working as an RMT has been such an honour, I am humbled every day that my client’s trust me with their health and every win story reminds me of why I love what we do. But even bigger than that, my biggest highlight has been opening Ignite Massage Therapy with the desire to create a team of world class massage therapist’s. Seeing the impact in how many more people we can help together is so special.
Shaun Castor is the owner and principle therapist at Wellness on Wheels (WOW). WOW is a mobile massage therapy clinic that brings massage therapy wellness to your door.
“I completed my massage training back in 2014 at the Massage Therapy College of Manitoba (now Evolve College), and upon moving to Ontario in 2016, I continued my studies at the Ontario College of Health and Technology in order to certify in the regulated province. I’ve taken a variety of continuing education courses over the years. Recently, I completed all levels of training in RAPID NFR, and now I am in the midst of acupuncture training.
Growing up, I was really involved in music and gymnastics, which led me to explore music, theatre, and dance as a teenager. I started off studying classical vocal performance at the University of Manitoba, but I craved a more immersive music theatre experience. That’s when I studied at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria. After graduating, I dove into the Canadian music theatre scene, where I became known for my ensemble work and acrobatic skills.
When I’m not massaging or working on my business, I can be found going for walks with my partner, Joseph and our dog Ernie. I tend to dive into anything I find interesting so I have a variety of hobbies. I frequently explore my creativity at my sewing machine or pottery wheel. ”
After about a decade of performing, I decided to switch gears and pursue a career in massage therapy to add some stability to my professional life.
MTAM is most similar to working with a provincial governing body like the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. Regulation is the future of massage in Manitoba and I want to make sure I’m prepared for change.
Wellness on Wheels is a mobile massage therapy practice that offers a comprehensive, customizable mobile massage experience at the client’s location. We’re all about client convenience and care, especially during our Winnipeg winters!
In my massage sessions, I love blending deep tissue techniques like trigger point therapy and myofascial release, with relaxing Swedish massage techniques. I’m always learning and growing, so I integrate new techniques into treatments all the time.
When considering my treatment philosophy, I try to always lead with kindness and authenticity; striving to understand where clients are coming from and meet them where they are. I like to use easy to understand terminology to focus on empowering clients as the expert of their own body.
In the long-term, I want clients to be able to order mobile massages on-demand, which means employing a large and diverse team of therapists all over the city and into rural communities.
Moving to Ontario was a major challenge for me. Moving from an unregulated province to a regulated one meant I had to recertify as an RMT. I was rigorously tested on material I had learned years prior.
Working on film and TV sets, and in offices of the well-known brands Slack and Shopify; not to mention getting to massage clients in luxury hotels and residences in Toronto.
Keep learning and developing your skills for both in and outside of the treatment room. If you’re not satisfied with where you are, make your own future. You have more options than you think. And remember to be kind to yourself.
Brittney attended Evolve College of massage therapy (formerly MTCM) and graduated in June 2018. She chose massage therapy because after basketball and soccer caused her so many muscle injuries and having her massage therapist help her recover she wanted to give back to help others in need of treatment and relief. Brittney’s intent is to improve quality of life and treat affected tissue. She is passionate about deep fascial work and the benefits it can provide the body. Outside of work Brittney enjoys walking her dogs, socializing with family & friends, curling in the winter time, fishing and being on the water.
Kaitlyn has been a member of the Steelcity team since the clinic opened in 2011 starting as a physiotherapy aide. In 2016, Kaitlyn graduated from the University of Winnipeg with her Bachelor in Kinesiology. She continued her knowledge, graduating from Evolve College of Massage Therapy in 2019. Kaitlyn chose a career in Massage Therapy because she has always had a fascination for the human body and loves helping others. Kaitlyn is trained in myofasical release, sports massage, soft tissue mobilization, muscle energy techniques and cupping to name a few. She has a strong passion in treating injuries and helping her clients return to a better functioning life.
Ainsley went to- Evolve College of Massage Therapy, she also has additional training in Klose Training Certified Lymphedema Therapist. Outside of work Ainsley enjoys Running, drawing, Dressage (riding horses. She choose to become a massage therapist because of how dynamic the career is. She has always enjoyed working with people but massage therapy was more than just working with people; it was an opportunity to improve peoples lives in the short term and long term in a way that leads to a tangible impact.
Ila graduated from Wellington College of Remedial Massage Therapy in 2022, Ila joined the team at Steelcity. She is passionate about both the mental health benefits massage therapy can offer as well as the physical effects it can have with pain relief and healing. Her focus is on combining the relaxation of a Swedish massage with the remedial benefits of a more therapeutic treatment in order to provide an effective and beneficial experience. Ila has a strong interest in holistic and natural health care and looks forward to continuing to learn and enhance her massage therapy practice. Outside of work, Ila enjoys hanging out with her 3 dogs, weekends at the lake, and gardening.
Brittney choose to join MTAM because of the accountability they have to members to make sure they are up to industry standards. MTAM also made me feel like home and the fact the home base is here in Manitoba and easy to reach. Brittney has been with MTAM since she was in school and she also sits on the professional development committee. MTAM provides so many con Ed courses and over all helps members achieve the most in their careers.
Ainsley choose to become apart of MTAM because of the inspirational people that are apart of the association. When evaluating her options she felt that the MTAM presented as a community that supports a future of Massage Therapy that she also wanted to present.
Ila joined MTAM because they are here based in Manitoba. Easy to reach and they provide lots of con Ed courses.
Joining MTAM was an easy decision for Kaitlyn. MTAM is informative, helpful and ensures their members are kept up to date with all things Massage Therapy. MTAM was especially helpful navigating therapists through the many challenges faced during Covid times.
We all work at Steelcity physiotherapy. Our treatment styles range from deep tissue to lymphatic drainage and relaxation massage to provide clients with a wide range of treatments.
Brittney and Kaitlyn are Deep tissue and fascia focused therapists. Ainsley Butler is our lymphatic drainage therapist and Ila Reichert is exploring what her calling will be but currently enjoys providing a relaxing environment.
While working in a physio clinic we have a wide range of clientele with sports injuries, post surgical patients, general public, and children. We see it all. We focus on developing individualized treatment plans for everyone. We believe using a combination of techniques is key and we believe in working also with breathing exercise and postural education to impact change and give people power over their healing.
Brittney’s future goals are to continue her education with structural myofascial therapy look into more courses within that area of focus.
Ainsley’s upcoming goals for are to focus around furthering her education in the lymphatic system and improving my skills specifically treating the Lymphatic system as a whole and Lymphedema more specifically as a disease.
Kaitlyn’s future goals include taking cranial-sacral and visceral therapy training.
Ila’s upcoming goals are to focus on particular interest area of prenatal, relaxation, and neck/jaw treatments.
Brittney’s biggest challenge she faces is self doubt, the feeling of not being good enough. In any career you are going to have clients or people that aren’t the right fit and it’s okay it’s knowing that it wasn’t your treatment or yourself someone people just don’t mesh well.
Ainsley believes the largest challenge she has had that may people face in their career is the feeling of not belonging from time to time. The feeling described as imposter syndrome. Although this creates a challenge to overcome, she believes it can be redirected into motivation to better one’s self. Using that feeling too continuing learning is a powerful tool to become the best therapist you can be.
Ila’s biggest challenge is Confidence! Learning to trust her abilities and know that she is doing all she can within her treatments.
Overall highlight for everyone is the professional relationship development with clients, having people that trust you and experience benefits from your work is so rewarding! Also finding a great team to work with!
Take it one day at a time don’t over work yourself because you want the biggest pay check listen to your body. Far too often we see new therapists burn out. Set goals for yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone and find opportunities that help you become the best therapist you can be. Trust in yourself, the confidence will come with seeing results over time. You know what you need to know, and the rest comes with time. Find a style of massage that works for you and your body and be confident in what you do. Don’t be afraid to refer out to others if you think someone else can help your client more.
Clinic website http://steelcityphysio.ca/
Desmond Travers – First Nation Massage Therapy
I am from Ochekwi-Sipi, Treaty No.5, Fisher River Cree Nation, Manitoba, Canada. I also have family members in Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation, Manitoba, Canada. I was born the year 1990 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
I graduated from Roberston College with a Massage Therapy Diploma in April 2020 and officially opened First Nation Massage Therapy October 2020. My other titles include Health and Fitness Coordinator at Fisher River Fitness Centre since 2020, and Founder/Operator of Travers Studios since 2021.
I have two children, Oakson Traverse and Neela Traverse, and three Beagle dogs, Cutie, Sugar, and Bryan. I enjoy spending my free time with my children, cooking, playing musical instruments, practicing traditional ceremony, harvesting animals, creating beadwork, training my dogs, thrifting, going to the movie theatre and playing video games.
I was always good with my hands. Whether it be creating artwork with a pencil, molding clay into sculptures, steady hands for precision beadwork, strong wrists for animal hide work and an extra sense of touch awareness that only I could describe as old blood memory.
This gift ultimately led down the path of a massage therapist. I was 16 years old when I first decided I wanted to be a massage therapist; I was watching a TV show that showed a young massage therapist and his lifestyle.
Many years later, I was introduced to my spiritual teacher who also used his hands in a healing manner through traditional ceremonies. With his teachings, I was able to understand how to use physical healing touch with a holistic approach to help improve overall health.
While working as a Health and Fitness coordinator at the Fisher River Fitness Centre in early 2018, I started to visualize what could be and verbally expressed to the universe that I wanted to be a massage therapist. During a conversation with a member at the fitness centre, I expressed this interest to become a massage therapist. It just happens to turn out, that gym member worked for an organization that was looking for an indigenous health care provider. Within two weeks, this gym member had the paperwork sorted out, the right people to connect with and a 2-week deadline.
After a drastic decision, the right combination of people, and a tearful goodbye, I was able to begin my path in 2018 to become massage therapist at the age of 28 and a single father of two.
I graduated in April 2020 as Class Representative for MT13, regained employment as the Health and Fitness Coordinator in May 2020, and founded First Nation Massage Therapy in October 2020.
There was a significant group of people who helped build the path my educational journey, and I could not have done it alone.
I chose MTAM because they did a really good job at presenting themselves at the college. It was clear that MTAM was professional and great at connecting with their members in a professional community.
The clientele for First Nation Massage Therapy consists of youth, adults, and elderly. A holistic approach is used to solve the client’s issue. A holistic healing approach can consist of looking at all areas of the client’s life including physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. This can be done by providing knowledge of their body, acknowledging their needs & wants, understanding what their body needs and introducing a healthy lifestyle.
First Nation Massage Therapy uses a clinical approach with a pain assessment, observational assessments, movement assessments, goal management and homecare management. First Nation Massage Therapy can also provide a mobile massage therapy clinic.
Being a First Nations business on First Nations land, many of the clients of First Nation Massage Therapy are indigenous. Various issues such as pain, restrictions of movement, loss of sensation, obesity, posture management, sleep posture, pregnancy discomfort, stress, palliative care, and muscle imbalances are commonly seen at First Nation Massage Therapy.
Currently, First Nation Massage Therapy is working within three First Nation Communities: Fisher River Cree Nation, Peguis First Nation, and Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation. The main goal is to expand First Nation Massage Therapy and re-introduce a physical touch, healing touch, and safe touch to the Indigenous peoples in various First Nation Communities across Canada.
There are multiple challenges being an Indigenous health care provider in a First Nation Community. A present challenge would be that there is only one of me. I work within many communities, and I am the sole provider of this certain type of health care. There needs to be more Indigenous health care providers working within First Nation Communities.
Another challenge would be the identifying and providing knowledge of the intergenerational habits and lifestyles that were created through the colonization of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Such things as eating habits, communication skills, body to mind connections, emotional reassurance, and mental health awareness play a massive part in holistic healing. The understanding of these issues is not always the easiest as they connect to dark history of Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples.
Strangely, it’s a challenge being a health care provider within a small community. Instantly everything changes. Your empathy is stronger. Your social appearance, social media presence, and professionalism matters more than ever. I am a massage therapist 24/7 within a small community. I am consistently answering messages, phone calls and working afterhours to ensure my community receives the best healthcare.
One of the first highlights of my career was being a class representative in college. I am an Indigenous male from a small First Nation community, and I was very proud to be there and represent the First Nations peoples. So, it was honor to be nominated by my peers to represent the class.
Another highlight would be being the primary healthcare provider for my grandfather while he was in palliative care during hospice. My grandfather would become my number one client with most overall hours spent on my table. We talked about the past, present, and future. He talked about his memories, dreams, and regrets. It was a true blessing to connect with my grandfather with the skills of massage therapy.
In August 2022, I participated at my first Powwow, the Ada Wilson “Grey Cloud Woman” Powwow. This was my first time setting up a full mobile clinic which focused on attendees of the powwow, and dancers. It was a great experience and success.
Throughout 2022, First Nation Massage Therapy has gained popularity and started to work with other First Nation communities and entities such Fisher River Healing Centre, Peguis Child and Family Services and Kinonjeoshtegon Health Centre.
Testimonies from clients, claiming that their pain is gone, is one of the best feelings and will always be a highlight of my career.
In August 2023, First Nation Massage Therapy returned to the Ada Wilson “Grey Cloud Woman” Powwow. During this time, a safe space was created for the audience, dancers, and the leaders. During this time, First Nation Massage Therapy was acknowledged and praised by Grand Chief of Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Cathy Merrick.
A monkey can massage, but what makes you a good massage therapist is care. Your care for clients, care for their overall well-being, care for their homecare, care for their pain, and taking care of yourself. Making sure you’re taking care of yourself, so you can be the best version of yourself for your clients. Never lose your care in your career.
Julie Ringuette graduated from Evolve College of Massage Therapy in 2021. Soon after
entering clinical practice she began learning about the lymphatic system and its role in
foundational health and wellness. As of today she has completed both Level 1 – Manual
Lymphatic Drainage , and Level 3 – Combined Decongestive Therapy for Lymphedema with Dr.
Vodder School International. She has also taken further education in Pre and Post natal
Currently,youcanfindJulieworkingoutofMintMassageTherapy,1476portageavenue. Or on instagram @TheLymphRMT
Julie’s practice focuses on patients with chronic pain, autoimmune conditions, swelling and
pre/post natal massage therapy. It is her belief that each of us already have what we need to
find healing, and often we just need guidance and support. (Excluding medical emergencies of
“Showing folks that small changes in their lifestyle lead to huge improvements in function has
been a real challenge in my practice. However, I understand where it comes from. We live in a
society that teaches us our bodies are fragile and we need someone else to fix us. When
someone comes into my office with this belief, It’s difficult for them to understand why I’m asking
them to start walking 20 minutes a day. It’s a foreign concept that external intervention isn’t the
only way forward when we feel pain.”
Lymphatics are the reason I get up every day and do what I do. For some patients it’s the only
thing that gives them relief. I have a patient who was struggling to get a diagnosis of what she
assumed to be auto-immune, post covid. And for her, lymphatic drainage was the reason why she could walk down the stairs in the morning instead of scooting. With swelling, it’s very
rewarding to have tangible, observable differences pre and post treatment. Patients are always
surprised how powerful lymphatic drainage is, as its very light touch.
I have big dreams for the future of my lymphatic practice, and I look forward to opening a center
where folks can have all their lymphatic needs met under one roof.
For new RMT’s my advice would be to stay curious. If something you learned feels “off”, that’s a
sign to dig in and learn more. This field is so diverse and if traditional massage therapy isn’t
fueling your fire, that doesn’t mean it’s not for you, you just haven’t found your niche yet. Take
risks, be bold, and don’t let what anyone else thinks stop you.
The reason I joined MTAM over other associations is simple; they were the only ones that
seemed truly invested in not only their members, but the massage therapy profession as a
whole. I think it’s vital that someone keeps track of continuing education hours in order to
maintain a professional standard.
Tanya started her studies at the University of Winnipeg and then at the Health Sciences Centre in Respiratory Therapy. At that time, jobs were scarce and health cutbacks making it impossible for rural careers. She worked in a few physio clinics and alternative health offices before deciding to study massage therapy. She has lived in Southern Manitoba for 20 years, practicing massage and enjoying a balance of work, family and her dog.
You can find Tanya at T Therapies Massage Clinic.
Initially, I was interested in physio and manual therapy. The study of anatomy and movement were my main interests. Massage therapy as a career offered self-reliance and flexibility.
I joined MTAM upon graduation from Wellington College because MTAM was gaining traction to represent the interests of massage therapy as a proven health profession striving for a standard of practice that was intent on standing alongside other recognized healthcare modalities.
I have a small home-based practice. Half of my garage has been converted into a comfortable, private, clinic space. My approach to massage is that my patient and I are a team working together to improve their mobility and daily functions. To achieve this takes a lot of encouragement, putting forth challenges and always teaching. I teach patients about body mechanics, posture and definitely about mindset and attitude. My clientele ranges in age and professions but they share a genuine interest with me in having their treatment plan include a balance of resolving a body issue with self-care.
Anytime a client has that smile, that “thank you” is an absolute highlight and why I keep loving my job. One specific thing that I’ve been part of was with my colleague, Linda Menzies, and how we began to organize and connect local therapists in our area. This led to MTAM creating the regional initiatives committee and having a regional voice on the MTAM Board.
My advice for new therapists is to acknowledge your strengths and focus quickly. No one can be the therapist for everything and everybody. Be comfortable communicating that philosophy to people. You will have more success with the patients that choose to stay with you and those who you refer to other health providers will respect you for your professionalism.
I honestly got into massage therapy because I wanted a way to make some money for my household and have the freedom to schedule myself around my children’s activities. Originally, I was only going to take the first year of the Distance Education program at Western College (which became Wellington College). After the first year, I would set up a clinic out of my home and go from there. However, things changed once I started learning about massage therapy. I couldn’t stop! I completed the full 3 year Distance Education program, went on to take many additional courses, became an instructor, and built up my first clinic in Ile des Chenes.
A move was required north of the city, so sadly I had to close my clinic in IDC. As life would have it though – I was able to begin a wonderful journey of working with the elderly when I got the position as the RMT for Middlechurch Home of Winnipeg!
That worked well with my instructing schedule and I continued my journey. But, most of all – with all that I have done – I was still able to (mostly) book myself around my sons’ busy lives – and be there for them. That is something I have been most grateful for in my career. The bonus is that it continues to this day with my grandchildren.
Originally when I finished my first year of education, I wanted to practice right away. There was an opportunity through an association from England which had a branch in Canada to join and begin! So, I did. By 2000 MTAM had a big drive to bring us all together, which I agreed would be better for the profession so at that time I joined MTAM. As seen in my bio – I went on to sit on the board and the education committee, and I am now presenting webinars and workshops for MTAM – so obviously it’s gone well!
I have evolved since I started practicing. In IDC, I would say I had a “traditional” practice. As the years went by, I was working at MCH with the elderly and that evolved into working with end-of-life care. Once I left MCH, I focused solely on instructing at WCRMT and set my active massage therapy career on the back shelf for a few years. However, I am now practicing out of my home – I have been since 2019 and I am loving this latest phase of my career!
I only take clients by personal referral – and my practice is slowing growing. However, as you all know – I started back in 2019 – then guess what hit!? So, it’s been slower than I envisioned – but slowly and surely it is becoming what I want it to be.
I have never wanted to be the “busiest” therapist – I’ve always wanted to be able to support myself in a variety of ways and do massage as a rewarding career – not a “job”. And I do believe I’ve achieved that. I’m very grateful for the career I have. My philosophy has always been that I have 2 hands, my heart, and my head to provide massage therapy treatment for my clients. I’m never going to have all the “latest” gimmicks, tricks, tools that come and go in our profession. I stick to what I’m good at – massage therapy. It really is an art and a science. I BELIEVE in the benefits of massage therapy with all my heart, and I always apply that treatment with my head in my hands.
I also provide workshops and webinars for RMT’s. My focus is pathophysiology – always focusing on how the body works, and how it works when it isn’t working well. How we as RMTs can help – but mostly not do any harm as we’re providing treatment. I know my clients appreciate the knowledge I have of their conditions – and how to help them live their healthiest life!
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The biggest challenge I’ve had in my career – and there have been many over 30 years – is achieving peace with death.
When I first started at MCH, and the first resident that I was providing massage treatment passed away – I was so sad, grieving, re-thinking doing this for a living. The chaplain who worked at the home at the time, took me under her wing. I ended up taking a course from Hospice & Palliative Care Manitoba (now called Palliative Manitoba). It was called “A Friend in Hand” at the time and is now called Compassionate Care. It changed my whole life, as well as the way I worked with clients, whether they were palliative, end-of-life, or healthy.
It was the best decision I could have made, and again, I am so grateful for the guiding hands of so many who have provided that personal journey of learning to LIVE well, because we will all die.
They are listed in my bio really. But if I was to pick one thing, just the journey of doing things I was afraid of – which was ALL OF THEM. (Including agreeing to do this feature!)
Going to my interview to get into college, accepting the position as an instructor, stopping at MCH to interview for the RMT position, going to Toronto to join a group of professionals from across the country to develop standards for massage therapy education, every single time I have ever had to stand in front of a group of people and speak – took overcoming my fears and stepping up.
I am very proud of that and that would be the highlight of my life – not just my career. JUST DO IT. Fear should never stop you.
See the last sentence above!
I guess the advice I would like to give new RMT’s would be that this isn’t just a career, it’s definitely not a job, massage therapy is a LIFESTYLE. You may never get “rich”, but you will have a life of riches!
I always had other sources of income while doing massage, and that is true to this day. It can be hard on the body, especially those that are trying to do too much (which would be different for every single RMT). So, if you want to be able to continue to follow your passion as a massage therapist – make sure you have other things that you can do to boost your income that aren’t so physically demanding (or at least physically demanding in a different way).
I graduated from the Massage Therapy College of Manitoba in January 2008 and went on to the University of Winnipeg to complete my Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology and Applied Health. I graduated with that degree in the Spring of 2012.
I am a queer, disabled person who cares deeply about her community. Outside my role as an RMT, I am the executive director for Accessible Sport Connection Manitoba (@ascmanitoba) where I fulfill my passion for creating accessible and inclusive sport and recreation spaces. I love riding my bike and all things art. You can find me traveling off the beaten paths in life.
Follow Kirby on Instagram @kc_rmt
Contact info – email@example.com or 204-997-1036
Booking website – https://pcs-scp.ca/community-safety-hosts-program/
In my past life, as an elite-level athlete, I used massage therapy regularly as a recovery tool. My
aha moment and origin story towards becoming a remedial massage therapist came through the
yoga community! I took an Intro to Thai Massage weekend course and met a few RMTs who
encouraged me to check out the massage therapy schools in Winnipeg. As a person with a
disability, I always dreamed of a career where I could work independently, a space that matched
my values about community and connectedness. Fifteen years later, I still feel this way, and I love
my job 🙂
I value community, and I believe that together, we are stronger. MTAM provides leadership,
increased safety, and resources that support the massage therapy community in Manitoba.
After graduation, I thought my focus might have been elite-level athletes, but I was open to
wherever the journey took me! My client base is, in many ways, a mix of people from the
active aging community and the disability community. People who encounter heaps of
ableism as they use and care for their bodies.
My lived experience as a person with a disability has allowed me to care for and support my clients in a uniquely meaningful ways. I am honored to be a part of their care web (a term coined Peipzna Samarasinha).
While my techniques are orthopedic, my treatment intent is inspired by disability justice, harm
reduction, and trauma-informed care. You are allowed non-judgemental moments of
weakness while in my massage room and space to be sad, frustrated, or tired. We also laugh
a lot and share stories.
There are often the soothing sounds of my blind boston terrier Wilma snoring in the corner and the CBC playing in the background. My home is your home.
The biggest challenge in my career was working through the shame of not centering a medical
model of therapy. The medical model of disability is rampant in healthcare, and massage therapy
is no exception. I struggled with my worth as a therapist when comparing myself to peers.
I shied away from many courses because of the built-in ableism associated with physical therapy and healing. These days I feel confident in my ability to balance orthopedic treatment without
centering the default ways of looking at an injured person.
I really grew as a massage therapist when I started working with spinal cord injuries at the Health
Science Center. Transitioning to a home-based practice in the middle of a pandemic has been
I would encourage them to bring their whole human to their treatment and clinic space. You will
create a client base that matches you and your strengths.
I am a mixed Cree woman, humbled to call Treaty 1 my home. I graduated from Wellington College of Remedial Massage Therapies (WCRMT) this past July, and was honoured to be this year’s recipient of MTAM’s Scholarship Award. Since then, I’ve joined WCRMT in providing more resources to students as an Indigenous representative/advisor.
I’m an avid reader, I love music, and am an appreciator of art. I like to create art on occasion, myself.
Facebook: M< on Facebook
Clinic Website: https://mltmassageandlasertherapy.clinicsense.com/
The environment and stress level of my previous work were big drivers for change
for me. Prior to college, I worked in transportation of goods, and was coordinating
container loads to ship on the railway. While in this role, I was diagnosed with ADHD.
I enjoyed the challenges of my work, but it wasn’t filling my cup. I became
overwhelmed the longer I continued – I hated sitting at a desk for hours on end, and
the stress from the pandemic was my tipping point.
I decided to study massage therapy because I want to help others. I’m not
well-equipped to be a nurse or doctor – I struggle with invasive treatment. I know that
I’m an independent worker, and I like the clinic environment, because I’m able to
control sensory inputs that I’m sensitive to – such as lighting, sounds and scents.
Everything I’ve learned is also practical knowledge for my own health.
Now, I’m happy to say that I enjoy going to work, because I am able to take better care of
myself overall, on my own set schedule, while doing something I love.
I resonate strongly with MTAM’s Code of Ethics. I chose to join MTAM because it is
one of the more prominent and well-recognized associations in the province. I
appreciate that MTAM has a staff who are able to help when needed, and who made
the transition from school to work seamless. Their website makes information and
resources readily available, and the Professional Development program encourages
me to keep my competencies up-to-date with the latest evidence-informed practices.
My philosophy is to provide the best possible treatment to each client, by acknowledging the unique conditions and stressors to them as an individual. My professional focus is musculoskeletal assessment and treatment based on osteopathic principles. My treatment room is a scent-free space for those with sensory sensitivities like myself. I welcome those who are neurodivergent and gender diverse. Additionally, my treatment room is a safe space for Indigenous youth and women. I want to make sure that my client feels comfortable during their
The type of clientele who see me now are of various demographics and age groups,
typically with chronic pain seeking improvement to their average daily life.
In my future, I hope to be able to make an impact in integrating indigenous learning
practices to schools like Wellington. I hope to continue working as an RMT for at
least the next 20 years to come, with ideas of working on some First Nations during
I also plan to open a scholarship fund dedicated to Neurodiversity in
Since I’m still quite fresh into my career, beginning my practice this summer, I
haven’t had to face many challenges as of yet. I suppose my biggest challenge is
that I struggle not to treat everything at once. It isn’t hard to run out of treatment time.
As a student, I was fortunate to work as a Hamam Attendant at Ten Spa, on the tenth
floor of the Fort Garry Hotel. Learning about the foundations of the Turkish bath ritual
and practicing it with guests was an enchanting experience.
Being asked to join WCRMT as a staff member was certainly a highlight for me. I look forward to doing important work with the students and the school.
Take exceptionally good care of yourself. If you do not make time for your wellness,
you will be forced to make time for your illness.