Well yesterday was my 21st Anniversary being a Manual Therapist/Massage Therapist.
It’s gone by extremely quick and there are many days I still feel like a new fledgling therapist. But in saying that, those of us who have been “around the block” have figured out a few things along the way.
A very good friend and my mentor told me “there are no secrets” or at least there shouldn’t be in this profession. Here’s a video I made a previously. I discuss my thoughts on the top 6 ways to improve your practice. I hope you enjoy it.
For now, here’s what I’ve learned:
- We’re all still playing in the sandbox with one another. The only difference is, it’s a bigger box and there are more kids in it.
- I’ve learned that I’m a slow learner… and I’m ok with that. Some times it takes a few tries to understand and change how I perceive things and get things done. I’m learning to learn from others rather that reinvent what ever it is. Success Leaves Clues, so follow the clues!
- We are a very passionate group. Sometimes that passion get the best of us and things can turn ugly. All you have to do to see this in effect in watch some of the comments on the various Facebook chat rooms. It’s great to be Passionate about something, but also recognize there is a small chance you are either wrong, your way isn’t the only way, people don’t have to agree with you and you should really be open to others perceptions if you expect them to be open to yours.
- I’ve learned I still like coffee and Chocolate. This relationship all started in school studying for finals. 7 days or all night studying, 5 days of 2 exams each 4hrs long, plus full evening of Clinic treatments. Yes I’ve become the guy who had it worse than everyone else, walking barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways.
- I’ve learned I still do not like writing Medical Legal Reports. I’m writing this now to avoid a MLR!
- I’ve learned that a majority of what I was taught wasn’t necessarily wrong, but maybe just wasn’t the whole picture. Today is no different. We strive to understand and comprehend our physiology, we take courses, read research, listen to scholarly instructors, but at the end of the day we still do the same thing for the most part – we touch someone who is in discomfort and try to help. We try to have them leave our offices better or different than when they came in using whatever skills and knowledge you have learned up to then.
- I’ve learned that I say “I don’t know” more now than ever. And I’m ok with that. In a time when everyone has their own opinion of what title the patients’ complaint should be and then follow some protocol someone thought was the best solution, I prefer to treat densities and restore function. I treat lack of circulation. I treat temperature changes. I treat dysfunction rather than pain.
- I’ve learned to take more time in getting to know the history of my patients. I want to know about their whole story, not just the story from their MVA to today. While interviewing a patient I treated for the first time yesterday, we determined that her shoulder complaint started 30yrs ago! There have been other issues along they way, that everyone had focused on, but no one had thought to look at the initial injury from 30yrs ago. The end result to our first treatment was an improved Quality of life she hadn’t had in that whole time.
- I’ve learned that we all do amazing work within our 4 walls. The problem is that many of us tend to stay there and the only time we come out of our hole, is for a course or an AGM. The Internet and FB have become amazing tools for us to connect with, become more educated and informed. FB chat rooms are kind of like the sandboxes we all grew up playing in. There is always one who ruins it for the others. Just steer clear of those kids. They’re no fun to play with!
- I’ve learned that you can’t just practice without purpose. Sure everyone want to help someone, why else are you here, but you need to have a direct and specific purpose. You have to have your “WHY.”
My good friend Bohdi’s “WHY” is to raise the MT professions understanding of research, to influence the profession to move in a direction where therapists are utilizing research in their understanding of a patients condition and to incorporate that research into practice daily. What a great Purpose!
My very good friend Chris’s “WHY” is to improve the educational standards of the profession. He also strives to improve our understanding of anatomy by dissection. He is so passionate about his “WHY” that he became the first privately funded Cadaver Dissection Lab in all of Canada! WOW!
When you compare those who know what their “WHY” is, and those who do not, Passion is the defining factor between the 2. I truly belief that part of longevity in this profession is knowing what your “WHY” is and having a passion to fulfilling it.
- I’ve learned that I’m very fortunate to have gotten this far. Many have come and gone. Many have had to leave due to illness, injury and many other reasons. For those of us still going strong, I think we’ve all learned that self-humility, respect and patience for others have played a major part of why we are still here and why we are among some of the busiest in the profession. Some think that we are busy because we’ve developed a huge patients following, but this is not the case. I honestly believe you need to utilize these characteristics with every patient to be able to continue to contribute positively not only to your Patients, but to your profession also.
- My hands don’t hurt, I’ve made it past the 7-10yrs burnout point, and I still love my profession. I’m actually supper excited for the next 20+ yrs.
My mentor has been practicing for 36yrs this year. There is still so much to learn and do.
This year will be a year of exciting adventure for me as I move from not just instructing live courses, but instructing online. It’s a huge venture that I’m humbled to have received a huge amount of support from my profession. It will be a continual process that you all will have an opportunity to help in creating.
As you can imagine, these are just a few of the major lessons I’ve learned over my time. I’d love to know yours so feel free to post below and let’s all share our knowledge and help each other.
To those of you celebrating how ever long you have been serving, Happy Graduation Day!
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