Fun fact about Me: I briefly studied Massage Therapy in 2010. I was enrolled in the Associate’s Degree program with plans to obtain a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology.
In short, Kinesiology is the study of movement. As a massage therapist, I hoped to learn what I could about how to help treat or alleviate symptoms of injuries after they took place. Studying Kinesiology also taught me how those kinds of injuries might be prevented. Though I had no way of knowing at the time, what I would learn would end up helping me two years later when I needed to have back surgery.
For example, did you know that the way you get out of a car can cause serious lower back injury? When most of us exit a vehicle, we step out with one leg first and then use that leg to push ourselves up and out of the car before balancing on both legs.
That’s incorrect and can be dangerous. When exiting a car this way, our spines are in an unnatural and even slightly twisted or twerked position. When you get out of a car and your spine is in that position, the weight and stress placed on it can cause a lot of damage. If you’re someone who drives often and are often getting in and out of a car…ouch!
So, how should you do it? Swing both legs outside of the car while still seated and then stand up as normal. Your spine will thank you.
I loved massage therapy. I had an already natural knack for it, and taking classes honed my skills. It was difficult at times, though. I worked nights in a Cardiac Unit of a hospital, from 7p-7a, and then would leave work three mornings a week and go straight to school from 8a-12p. It was at the hospital that I began to grow my customer base. I practiced on my coworkers: Patient Care Techs, Nurses, Charge Nurses, and Nurse Practitioners from my department and a couple of others would take turns coming to the nurse’s station to sit in my chair for an upper body massage.
I also practiced at school. We had massage lab every day and gave each other massages. Between the practice at school and work, I was confident in my skills and I loved making people feel better. I planned to study Hot Stones Therapy along with regular massage, take classes in Aromatherapy as part of the Associate’s Degree, and work for myself as I completed the Kinesiology Bachelor’s.
So, what happened? During this time, I began experiencing issues with shortness of breath. A series of tests revealed that my thyroid had grown to a size that had become harmful to me, as it was leaning against my trachea. Surgery needed to be performed as soon as possible, and because the recovery process would be relatively short, I took a three week leave of absence from school after completing the most recent session. This meant I’d be one session behind my classmates, but with hard work I could easily make up the difference.
Unfortunately, while recovering from thyroid surgery I injured my right wrist. I’m right-handed, so now I was unable to use my dominant hand in any strenuous activity. Returning to massage therapy classes after healing from thyroid surgery was very painful. The frequency of massage lab activities made it impossible for my wrist to fully heal and the injury got worse.
A consultation with my doctor resulted in having to wear a brace on the wrist to keep it as immobile as possible. I’d have to wear the brace for a minimum of six weeks, and would likely need physical therapy. The problem was that the school curriculum only allowed a maximum of 30 days for a leave of absence. Otherwise, I’d have to withdraw entirely and re-enroll at another time. I had already used three weeks of that to recover after the thyroid surgery.
Even more upsetting was the doctor’s assumption that the issue could be ongoing. Even with the brace and physical therapy, I’d always have to be careful with my right wrist. This put my hopes of a career in Massage Therapy/Kinesiology in serious jeopardy, as it was suggested that I do my best to not strain or otherwise overexert the wrist at any point moving forward.
I guess that you could say I’ve become a more casual Kinesiology enthusiast since then. I still enjoy reading and learning about it. I still think about how much fun I had and how immersed I was in massage therapy. I still give my friends and loved ones an occasional massage, and I miss it quite a bit. I do still sometimes have problems with my right wrist, though, so despite how upset I was to withdraw from school, I know it was the best decision.
I have also never lost that entrepreneurial spirit – the same one that was kindled in me as a sixteen-year-old. Working for someone else is my current situation, but is by no means my endgame. Just this evening, I started a new project that I hope – in addition to writing – will bring me closer to the goals I’ve set for myself for 2019 and beyond.