My clients often ask me how I became interested in becoming a Medical Massage Therapist. I have a condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). What that means is that I have hypermobile joints and ligaments. That can be a good thing in that it is easy for me to stretch but it also means that I am extremely prone to injury. There is no cure for this syndrome, the only treatment is strength training. Therefore, I have had a lot of physical therapy.
Luckily for me, when I was a kid I didn't have any issues and if I hurt myself I'd heal up within a couple days like other normal kids. I had no idea I had this condition. I didn't know what chronic pain was until I injured my knee in my early 20's. Going through that first long term injury led me to alternative medicine. I wound up going to an acupuncture school for treatment and when I complained to my doctor that my back was also starting to hurt, she showed me how to use a tennis ball against a wall to work out the muscle spasm. That was my first experience with Trigger Point Therapy.
A few years later there were more injuries, first tendonitis in my arm, after that I had mystery shoulder pain. It was my shoulder injury that ultimately led me to the healing arts. While I was in treatment for it in physical therapy, I learned how to manage the pain and I also learned about referred pain. The homework they gave me helped immensely and as I healed up from that injury I decided it was time for a career change.
I chose medical massage because I felt like it was a good fit for many reasons. Firstly, I noticed that the physical therapists never had enough time to give me a decent massage. Five minutes was barely enough time to work on my issues and sometimes to make up for it they would dig in and it was painful.
I wanted to fill that gap as a medical massage therapist and spend the time necessary to help my clients without pounding on them and bruising their muscles in the process. Another reason that lead me to this field was that I know how it feels to suffer from injuries and chronic pain. I not only understand the physical aspects, but I know what it's like to be sidelined from activity, sports or work. I can relate to my clients in a way that other massage therapists can't and that is what sets me apart from others in my industry.
Even after becoming a Medical Massage Therapist, I still get injuries. Each time I go through one I am reminded why I got into this work in the first place. I also continue to learn and grow as a practitioner as I gain a new understanding of what these different types of injuries feel like and what it takes to fully recover.
Shortly after I became a massage therapist I got back to the sport I love the most, horseback riding. Unfortunately, riding brought on some new injuries. The first injury was from a fall where I hurt my low back. That created a host of problems mostly effecting my hip stability. The next injury I had was from a poorly fitting saddle and I tore the cartilage in my left hip joint, called a labral tear. The tear required surgery and 5 months of physical therapy. It felt like it took a year to feel 'normal' again. It also contributed to the hip instability from my previous fall. Having EDS has made recovery that much more challenging, but has also made me stronger both mentally and physically. Even though I have had my struggles with pain, I try to pass hope along to my clients that they too can overcome their injuries.
Education & Volunteer Work
I have a BA in Psychology from UC Irvine, attended art school at UCLA and went to California Healing Arts College for my massage therapy certification. I have been a volunteer at an animal shelter and with the Griffith Park Rangers mounted unit. My horse Tyler and I volunteered at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. I also compete in jumping and dressage. I'm a Sports & Medical Massage Therapist located Burbank near Glendale, North Hollywood.