At the age of 16 I was diagnosed with Scoliosis along with a message from the Chiropractor that I would not be able to walk by the age of 30. This scared my parents and myself so we attended this provider for 3 years, twice per week where he manipulated my spine. I was not given any self-care advice or lifestyle advice to improve my health outside of his treatment. I realised that the treatment wasn’t helping and when I looked back I wasn’t in pain as a result of the scoliosis. In fact, it was the x-rays that looked terrifying and I was filled with fear.
The experience with my own body got me interested in learning and understanding more about the human body. I tried many years ago to learn massage at a private college. The course was part time and only ran for a few months. It didn’t seem right and seemed unprofessional. I wasn’t learning the information I had hoped to, so I gave up.
I decided to focus on starting a family and keeping a stable job in an office for 15 years. I have two children, a son aged 10 and 8-year-old daughter. At age 7 my son suffered a fracture to his right ankle. He was just being a kid, jumping over a rock and rolled his ankle. Over the next 2 years, he managed to fracture the same ankle twice more and spraining the ankle another 5 times. The fractures occurred from gymnastics and at a trampolining centre. Rolling and spraining his ankle happened from walking. The laxity in his ankle ligaments had reached a point where such simple movements were causing injury, including a ligament tear.
He was a frequent flyer at the Campbelltown Hospital Emergency Department and often recognised by his favourite male nurse. He was also a regular at Physiotherapy. It was here the Physio recommended we find him a good massage therapist to help with the pain he was developing in his muscles and the hip pain from constantly being on crutches.
Around the same time I was managing my son’s injuries, I was suffering from some intense burning pain down my right leg coupled with lower back pain. After a visit to the doctor he gave me a referral for a scan. I was feeling desperate as I was due to fly interstate with two small children the very next day. I Dr Googled ‘Sciatica’ & read that massage can assist, so I made a desperate phone call to my local massage therapist who managed to squeeze me in that day. It wasn’t until I drove away that I realised I had struggled to walk in to the appointment, but one hour later, with zero pain, I ran to my car! I couldn’t believe how much of a difference just one massage treatment had made!
During the massage, we often talked about how I wanted to be a massage therapist. We would joke about my germaphobia. I have funny habits due to worry about germs in public. I hate my children touching the bottoms of their shoes and handrails in public spaces. I clean the clean cutlery handed to me in restaurants and I sanitised the kid’s hands whenever they got home from pre-school. I was worried how I would feel when being in other people’s personal space and whether it would prevent me from touching other people. My Massage Therapist told me that she only saw the muscles and tissue underneath that was being worked. It got me thinking about how I could overcome my worries and go back to my passion to learn more about the human body.
3 years ago, I suffered a health scare where I was getting random nerve pain, brain fog and numbness throughout my body. At first, the doctors weren’t sure what was going on. I was being investigated for Multiple Sclerosis and autoimmune conditions. During their investigations they accidently did a different scan than requested by my neurologist. Incidentally they found I had an aneurysm behind my left eye. This required surgical repair and that lucky find has now been resolved. The reason for my other symptoms is yet to be discovered but they have all settled. I realised life was too short and it was time to take a leap.
After receiving regular massages & feeling like a new person after every treatment, I realised this is something I would love to be able to do for other people. After much deliberation, I finally bit the bullet, enrolled into TAFE & haven’t looked back since. It seemed the stars have been aligning over the years and the signs have been there for me to care for my own health, my family’s health and how I can use these skills to help others.
I have loved learning about anatomy, how the body works and how massage helps in so many ways. It has brought out a passion for helping others, instead of instilling fear about health. I want to be able to guide my clients with self care between visits and see those improvements in their health extend to their family life.
With my germaphobia tackled, I am now confident with massage and realised that the focus is on the tissues underneath the skin. I really want my clients to know that I am in no way grossed out by touching them, but I will always have extra clean hands and workspace for every treatment so not to pass on my own germs.
The nicest part of this story, is that the massage therapist who helped me out that day, was Melissa Woodward! Not only has she inspired me to start studying massage again but has given me the opportunity to start my career here at Evolution Health Services. I look forward to helping many families like my own to improve their health.