Continuing Education: My trip to Albany, NY

It's important for any professional to further their knowledge to give the best care for their clients or patients.  In that regard, I make an effort to take as many classes as possible to give the best care for my clients.  As a massage therapist, I am required to have 38 credit hours of continuing education every three years when I renew my registration to practice massage.  Of course, I like to go above and beyond the requirement and take 20-40 hours of continuing education per year so that I can serve my clients better.

So my latest continuing education took me to Albany, the capitol of New York for the American Massage Therapist Association conference.  Beautiful city, but it felt super empty even on a nice Saturday afternoon.  I think the only people I saw out there were the tourists taking pictures.  Anyway, I wasn't there to traverse the city, it was time to learn!

All of my classes consisted of learning orthopedic massage techniques from James Waslaski.  For most of you who do not know who James is, he has been a massage therapist almost 40 years and specializes in sports therapies and bringing balance to the body through orthopedic assessment.  What's so important about the assessment?  It's a huge part of how we treat dysfunction in the body, and whether we as massage therapists can help or need to refer out to a doctor for a more serious issue.  In learning more specific assessment in how we treat the body, It gave me a better idea on how to treat specific pain in the body.

The most amazing techniques he showed us is working at the joints of the shoulder and the hip.  He literally showed us how to free up a frozen shoulder in five minutes!  Of course, I'll need some practice at performing some of these techniques in my practice, but it'll definitely change how I work.  I've already started working joint mobilization techniques on some of my clients with some pretty good results!  Over the course of the next few months, I'll be integrating what I learned slowly into my practice.  

In addition to some of the new massage techniques I've learned, we also learned corrective exercises to show our clients.  These will be important to teach, so that the work I do on clients can last longer (which means less visits at the office for chronic pain).  I purchased Mr. Waslaski's corrective exercises workbook, which I can make copy's of stretches/exercises for clients to take home with them to perform.  I also plan on adding a self-care page to my website for anyone to refer to for their own self-care.

Overall, I spent about 20 hours over three days learning orthopedic techniques for the lower extremities (hips, knees, feet), elite sports massage techniques, and corrective stretching to teach my clients.  I was so impressed, that I'll be taking 40 more hours of continuing education with James Waslaski when he comes back to New York in September.  After I become more confident in these new techniques, I will be in a much better position to create lasting change with my clients suffering from chronic pain.