The transition from Massage Student to Massage Therapist

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Craig you recently completed your  NZ Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage at Wellpark College. How ready were you for the transition from student to practitioner. Did you feel that the programme had prepared you well enough to start practicing as a Massage Therapist?

Yes, the 6 months spent in the Prema Clinic (Wellpark College’s Student Training Clinic) dealing with clients was great in preparing you to work in an actual working clinic. That combined with other papers gave you a great grounding to go into the industry. The skills taught in meeting clients and giving professional massage appropriately were invaluable to working as a therapist.

You recently moved to Tauranga and are working 4 days a week for Hands to Heal, can you tell us about the practice you are working for now?

Hands to Heal has been going 12 years with a large and loyal customer base, currently it has 4 therapists ( including myself )and they are adding another part time therapist shortly. Normally we have 3 therapists working each day, seven days a week. The clinic does Sports, Pregnancy, Oncology, Relaxation and Therapeutic and Remedial massage.

Before leaving for Tauranga, you had the opportunity to assist the massage therapists that work with the Tuatara Auckland Basketball Team pre and post games. Did you start the Diploma in Relaxation and Wellness Massage wanting to work with sports professionals? Is Sports Massage an area that you can see yourself getting more involved with in the future.

I started the Diploma focused on Relaxation massage but was open to learning all massage forms to become a better therapist, although I had no aspirations to become a sports massage therapist. As part of the course, I had the opportunity to work with the Tuatara basketball team (as well as other placements for Charity events, NZ Commonwealth Basketball teams)  and really enjoyed the buzz of working with dedicated sports professionals in a high-pressure environment of game day and pre and post-game massage . I ended up doing the whole season with the team all the way through to the Finals of the NZ National championship. Some of the senior players in the team took advantage of the Prema Clinic at Wellpark and came in for maintenance massage weekly when they could also. The massage therapy team became part of the Tuatara team and attended post game function during the finals series and enjoyed the highs and lows of winning and losing as a team. I will look for the right team with the right culture here in Tauranga once settled in the practice a bit more.  I really did enjoy the high-performance sports environment and would like to develop that side of my massage practice more , so you never know where the massage Diploma will take you !!

What’s next for Craig, The Massage Therapist?

One thing I have learned is that it pays to have as many massage skills in your skill set as possible, as the clients coming to see you can vary hugely in a day. In clinic yesterday I was massaging a highly stressed executive, a 76 year old with tension in the lower back , a young tennis player who practiced 6 days a week looking to become a professional tennis player , to a lady wanting a 90 minute relaxation massage to escape from a very busy life. You are constantly adjusting your approach with every client.

There is a strong demand for Oncology massage here,  I will look to take the next Oncology course available to add that to my skill set to help with this customer base. I would like to take a Cupping course and look to also do Fascial release courses in the future . It is a matter of learning something and gaining many hours of experience of delivering the skill set once learnt. I was lucky that Wellpark trained us well with a variety of massage skills to enter the industry.

In time I would like to set up my own small practice, but at this point I am enjoying the challenging and rewarding experience of a busy successful clinic with a wide variety of client needs. I would also like to stick with sports and have the experience of being part of a major sporting occasion like a World Championship, Commonwealth or Olympic games if I could.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about studying for their NZ Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage, what would it be?

I think you have to want to do massage for the reason of helping people in their journey to having good health and wellness first and then realise the massage Diploma can take you in many , many different directions. Nothing makes my day more than to see a returning client telling you the benefits they gained from the last massage treatment that you gave them, that they could work pain free or train that little bit more . So, in summary, have an open mind and look to experience every part of the course. The Diploma gives you the opportunity to explore many massage disciplines. Do them all to the maximum.  You never know where it will take you.

Craig Bennett – Wellpark College Graduate and Massage Therapist

Click to find out more about studying for a NZ Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage

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