People come into sports massage from many different backgrounds, mine was computer networking and cryptography … worlds away from sports massage you might think, but read on.
I had taken voluntary redundancy from my job and was looking for a new direction. Having always been “sporty” I thought that I could maybe do something nutrition/fitness/rehab related. One of the options I investigated was Sports Massage. I was really unsure, surely just moving skin and muscles around and giving people an occasional stretch would be boring. Yes I like helping people but I needed more. I was always the “go-to” person at work for research and problem solving so I needed something for my brain to work on as well as my hands.
I decided to do the Introductory Weekend at NLSSM, the school taught to the highest qualification available and had an excellent reputation – I could immediately see why, the tutors were really friendly, knowledgeable and nurturing, it just felt like the right place to learn. It was the second day of the weekend when one of the tutors talked about WHY muscles/tissues might not be in their optimum condition, WHY some may be short/tight or long/weak … here was a puzzle, a problem to solve, my “need” could be met, the course was sold to me. I needed to study in a way that would fit around my fairly young family. The NLSSM contact days were weekends, excellent. The course was a year, it wasn’t easy, lots of learning, and I had to be organised about planning time to do practice treatments and complete the assignments but wow was it worth it!
After passing I took on a temporary position at a small multidisciplinary clinic covering someone’s maternity leave. The voluntary work that I’d done whilst a student stood me in good stead for this position and actually the NLSSM tutors get to know you pretty well so asking for a reference was not a problem. A confidence boost came when clients were sorry to hear my time was up so I negotiated some permanent hours at the clinic. Meanwhile I was starting to see more people at my home. This worked well, I had my own (fairly small) room, and could be really flexible with times. I didn’t, and still don’t advertise. Initially I treated people from sports groups that I had dealings with, either from my own sport or my children’s. Word of mouth grew my client-base and for the past 5 years I’ve worked solely from home – the flexibility had been the main driver for this but now I am considering doing a couple of days a week away from home again.
I am fortunate to treat a wide range of people – some really serious runners, some just starting out to do their first 5k, triathletes, swimmers, hockey and tennis players, some that don’t do sport at all, who just want an improvement in their pain or quality of life. There are some I see fortnightly, regular as clockwork, others I may not see for months. The highs in this job aren’t always as you’d expect them … yes its lovely to be part of someone’s PB or gold medal, but actually the smile on an old man’s face when he walked in (after a couple of months of treatments) and told me that, after many years of struggling to walk, he’d taken his wife for a spin around the dance floor and had compliments galore, that was a magic moment.
So, every day I learn something new. People come in with similar issues, but they have different backgrounds and will respond to different techniques and home plans … that keeps my brain alive, that is my new “problem solving and research”.
– Sally Vine