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All You Need to Know ~ Massage Therapy Program Instructor Interviews

By March 31, 2023No Comments
Massage Therapy Program

For those passionate about wellness, inspired by empowering others to experience vibrant living, and who have a keen desire to be a part of an 800-million-dollar alternative health industry, becoming a massage therapist (MT) could be your calling.

But before investing time, energy and dollars into a training program, there’s terrific benefit in knowing precisely what you’re signing up for. We had the opportunity to connect with two of our MT program instructors.

In this interview they lay out the details on:

  • their industry experience,
  • the theoretical and practical training aspects of the program,
  • what students are curious about and what they face,
  • all you need to know about becoming a registered massage therapist (RMT), and
  • their top advice for future students.

There can be no doubt that people of today recognize the value of, and take an active role in preventing health issues and are focused on proactive self-care – this fuels the success of the massage therapy industry. After learning from these instructor interviews, you’ll have a solid idea about whether this profession and program are the ideal fit for you and precisely what steps to take next.

Let us introduce Amy and Holly …

Amy Jowahir Interview

Can you please introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Amy Jowahir. I’ve been a massage therapist since 2014 and have been teaching in Anderson College’s Massage Therapy program for about three years now. I’ve lived in Calgary, Toronto and in London and have practiced in all three of these cities. I’m fortunate to work in massage therapy and to have a career that could move with me across Canada.

What are you most passionate about in your career?

I’m most passionate about proactive care. Most of my clients come to me because they have some pain, or specific issues they want to address. But after we meet those goals, I’m often able to help build a plan for them long term, to keep those symptoms from coming back or to prevent future problems from arising. That’s really the side that I like, proactively helping people live better, healthier lives.

What inspired you to become an instructor?

Two things have inspired me. One, I really enjoyed my program. During my MT training, my teachers inspired me, especially my anatomy and physiology teachers. Two, the clients I’ve worked with have inspired me. There’s a very high demand out there for massage therapists and it always breaks my heart when clients are not able to book with me or are not able to get an appointment with an RMT. For these reasons, I was eager to train and encourage another set of students out there to meet this demand.

What is the massage therapy program about?

There’s the theoretical and academic side where we discuss anatomy, the structure of the body and how it works. We review diseases and conditions and how people can manifest these, and how we can safely treat those who come to us for help. And then there’s the practical side that involves a lot of hands-on training, where the students come in and they work on each other to build new skills.

Specifically, students learn about the anatomy of the body, the muscles, the skeleton, the bones of the body and the joints, in a lot of detail because this is where MTs really focus their skills. But they also learn about everything from the basic cell to how the cell works and discuss how tissue healing occurs. This is all in order to make sure that each MT is able to deliver safe and effective care.

On the practical side, the skill side, they learn how to deliver techniques to clients in a safe and comfortable way. Such as, how do we apply the pressure? How do we improve conditions and facilitate healing? How do we improve range of motion, or help them deal with pain long term? And so on.

What questions do new students ask?

They want to know what we like about massage as professionals, what we’ve focused on in our careers, what populations we have worked with, because you can really specialize in massage. You can work with sports populations, athletes, or you can work with chronic pain conditions. Students are often curious about the different settings they can work in as well, like private practice, clinics, hospitals. And of course, students are curious about how much money we make. The nice thing about massage is all the different variety and all the flexibility.

Can you tell us more about the practical training?

As I mentioned before, we have to discuss how to apply pressure in a safe way to our clients and how to improve tissue health, whether they’re dealing with muscle issues or joint tissues or ligaments or other soft tissue problems. We really want to make sure that we teach good biomechanics as well.

Massage therapy can be really hard on the massage therapist. It can be a lot of wear and tear on our own body. So, we want to make sure that our students are using good biomechanics, good techniques, to ensure they’re not overusing their own joints. So we’ll teach them to use different contact like their thumbs versus using their hands versus using their elbows, you know, depending on the area of the body that we’re addressing.

Can you tell us more about the CMTO and how to become a RMT?

The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) is our governing body. Just like doctors, nurses, and chiropractors, we are a regulated healthcare profession, which means that the province oversees our practice. The CMTO is that body that oversees all registered massage therapists (RMT)s. For any person to become an RMT they need to first graduate from a program that the CMTO recognizes, pass the courses, and receive a diploma. Then you can take that diploma to the CMTO, enroll in their certification examinations. And essentially, they’ll use that diploma and your results of your certification examinations to determine if you can safely treat the public. We cover all the information you need in our MT program; you’ll be fully prepared to challenge the CMTO certification exams once you’ve completed your courses.

What career opportunities await graduates?

Once you’ve received your diploma, passed your certification exam and have become an RMT you can go into many different types of practices. There’s a personal service industry side of massage therapy where you can work in hotels and spas. You can take cruise ships and travel or there’s the healthcare side, where you can work in clinics with other healthcare professionals like the physios, chiropractors or in hospital settings with the doctors and nurses, in places like the rehabilitation units. You can also start your own massage therapy business. You can work as a mobile practitioner where you go out to clients that are looking for services or you can work from your own home or from an office space that you rent.

What is your advice to future students?

My biggest advice is, if you’re curious about this career give us a call. There are lots of opportunities. Being an RMT is a very fulfilling career. At least, I find it to be. It’s great to work with people. It’s amazing that people leave your office feeling better than when they came in. And like I said, there are lots of different settings that you can apply your skills within, so it tends to be really flexible and gives you a good work/life balance as well. So, if you’re curious about becoming an RMT, or what it might take, please let us know. We’re here to help.

Watch Amy’s full interview here:

Holly Theobald Interview:

Massage Therapy Program

Can you introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Holly Theobald. I am an RMT in the community of London. I have been an RMT for seven years; I worked with a chiropractor for six years and now I run a home-based business, which is probably one of the best benefits of being an RMT. You have a very flexible schedule. You get to make your own hours and be your own boss.

What are you most passionate about in this career?

I’m most passionate about helping my clients. Most people come to me with an injury or chronic conditions, something that needs assistance, and I’m more than happy to help and apply my skills and make them feel like their best self.

What inspired you to become an instructor?

The most inspirational thing is sharing the knowledge I have and the love that I have for this profession. And I consider myself to be overflowing with knowledge and compassion and I want to give that to students who also share that love for this profession.

What is the massage therapy program about?

Our massage therapy program involves roughly two years of curriculum. We get into anatomy, physiology, hands-on techniques, learning all sorts of conditions of the body and how to treat them so we can serve diverse groups of people and are able to provide safe and effective treatment for all.

Students will learn hands-on techniques, how to treat a wide array of conditions. They will learn the human systems of the body as well as anatomy of the body. Students are on campus five days a week. We spend a lot of time hands-on, that involves exchanging massages, learning new techniques, trying them out on each other. We work on some remedial exercises as well, to incorporate that into a full treatment. I think this is the best way to learn – to feel a treatment, receive a treatment and give a treatment as well, so that you can understand both sides of being a therapist and a student.

In your last semester of the program, you actually get to work in a public clinic. What that means is that two days a week we have people from the community come in and receive a student massage. It’s really great for the students to actually treat people that are not their classmates, so they actually see people in the community and get a feel for what real life practice is going to be like.

What do students like the most about the program?

Students tend to enjoy the hands-on aspect the most. That’s the best part, where they get to apply their skills and get feedback from their classmates and see how they’re progressing. I think any candidate who’s looking to take this program should have a strong desire to help others. That’s the most rewarding part of this job is that someone comes in not feeling their best and your goal is to have them feel their best when they leave.

What career opportunities await graduates?

Right now, it’s an interesting time for massage therapists. There’s such a high demand in our community, there are actually more jobs available than there are therapists to provide them. So this is a really great opportunity and time to become an RMT and really kickstart your career and be able to help as many people as possible.

Can you tell us more about the CMTO and how to become a RMT?

Our minimum requirement is a 70% average across the board to earn your diploma. Once you graduate from our MT program, you are then required to register with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO), and their job is to ensure that you are safe to treat and protect the public. So, what that means is that you’ve demonstrated to us at Anderson College that you’re ready to go to the CMTO and perform the required tasks and required testing and then CMTO are the ones who certify you as a registered massage therapist (RMT) and then you’re able to start working in the field.

What is your advice to future students?

My advice for students is simple – be prepared to come to school and be ready to learn. You come with a passion to help people and we’ll give you the skills to do just that.

Watch Holly’s full interview here:

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Still determining whether this career fits your interests? Take the “Anderson College Career Training Readiness Quiz” to learn more. Or you can review our popular blog post, Top 5 Reasons to Become a Massage Therapist.

But if after reading this you’re feeling fired up to take your career and life to new levels and start your Massage Therapy career or even explore one of our other 30+ program, book a virtual appointment to speak with an Admissions Advisor today. We’re here to help you navigate every step along the way.

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