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Massage CEC’s, Manual, PD Or Conferences?

Massage CEC’s, Manual, PD Or Conferences?

Every year it’s the same dilemma. Which CEC to take?

How many hours do I need?

How many PD, and how many practical?

Where are courses being offered? Are they any good? Do they actually interest me?

And let’s be honest, we’re usually scrambling around at the last minute trying to find one. Then we end up just finding one that’s close to home in order to fill hours and be in compliance.

Why does this have to be such a pain in the butt EVERY year? And why do I have to sometimes apply for the course I want to be accepted. Then it’s accepted one year, but not the next.

Why can’t it just be easier?

Manual Vs. Professional Development

I spent the early part of my career avoiding any PD courses, they just didn’t make sense to me.

I’ve always been a practical learner. All through college I did better in the practical courses and practical exams than I did on any theory or science exams.

When it came to deciding what courses to take, I always assumed I’d get the most bang for my buck out of a practical course. I had to learn a new technique or some sort of assessment to make it worthwhile. Maybe one of these practical courses would change the way I treat? Maybe it would open new ideas and completely change my approach?

While the majority have been great courses and have changed my approach on certain things, taught me some cool new moves and even some things I didn’t know I was allowed to do (joint mobs of ribs and spine) they didn’t really change my understanding.

A while ago I started to see things in my facebook feed about the San Diego Pain Summit. The idea of it was intimidating. I wasn’t good at the sciences in college and the whole thing was centered around “Pain Science”. Most of the facebook groups that I was involved in that talked about this stuff always seemed like more of an argument than an explanation to me. So the thought of a full conference on this sounded like something I just wanted to avoid.

Then a couple of courses came my way that changed that opinion.

I registered for Greg Lehman’s course on “Reconciling Biomechanics With Pain Science”. It took a lot of the intimidation away (and it doesn’t hurt that Greg and I have the same type sense of humor so he was easy to relate to). Then about a month ago I took another “Pain Science” course with Eric Purves.

In both instances these “PD” courses changed the way I communicate and treat my patients. And I mean changed things significantly! They also managed to simplify a lot of the things I was reading in those facebook groups that I found so intimidating.

Now when I look at a course and think where am I going to get the most bang for my buck, I’ve come to realize I can get just as much out of a PD course as I can out of a manual course.

It just took actually trying them out to realize it.

Networking At Massage Therapy Courses

They say you’re only as strong as your network.

No matter what course you take, there is an opportunity for you to network. With each course I have taken, I walked away with a new friend, business contact or someone who asked me about First Aid courses.

While it’s not easy being an introvert (and I probably look like a snob sitting by myself, reality is, it scares me to death walking up and introducing myself to people) trying to network at courses, the benefits are huge.

In a conversation with a physio last week, she told me that some opportunities she has gotten in sport have come from contacts made at the annual general meetings for the CSMTA. Then advised me that being in attendance would help build that contact list to start opening up more opportunities.

I’m going to have to attend their next AGM because she is pretty much working my dream job with Hockey Canada and if that opportunity came around I’d fall off my chair.

While it’s not easy, networking can make a major difference in your practice. Knowing various therapists in your area and building a referral network with those who are focusing their practice in certain areas is beyond valuable.

Imagine becoming the therapist who has a network of people not only to refer to and from, but also to ask advice from on topics you’re not as comfortable with. The stronger the connections you have in your network, the more successful you will be.

As important as work ethic is in expanding and growing your practice, making connections and networking is just as important. In fact it’s more important than qualifications. You can have several letters after your name and be a great therapist but if no one knows about you it’s pointless.

I’m sure we all have different practitioners who refer patients to us. The only way this happens is by building a trusting relationship with that practitioner. It’s because at some point you both took the opportunity to get to know each other and build that trust.

Take the time to network and build connections at any course you take.

Photo by: Pal-Kristian Hamre

Photo by: Pal-Kristian Hamre

Massage Therapy Conferences

More and more I’m seeing new Massage Therapy or Manual Therapy conferences starting up.

I’ve never been one that does well with sitting through massive lectures (and trust me I’ve done my fair share).

However when the San Diego Pain Summit was happening this year, I was getting messages from friends telling me I had to go with them next year. Getting those messages started to get me thinking that maybe it’s time to try a conference out. I mean if I can go get my CEC’s and hang out with some friends while I’m at it, it should add to the experience right?

So when I look at the Manual Therapy Conference that the RMTBC is putting on this year, I have to say I’m pretty intrigued. The title alone is enough to pique my interest.

“Manual Therapy Conference – An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Science and Practice”

Yes! An interdisciplinary approach! I’m not all on my own.

Then when I look at some of the topics being covered as well as the presenters it’s looking like a who’s who of the Manual Therapy world. Ravensara Travillian, Walt Fritz, Christopher Moyer, Sandy Hilton and Eyal Lederman just to name a few are all leaders and educators in their respective fields.

Looking at the topics that will be presented, I think I can apply most of them immediately not only in my practice, but also in different aspects of my personal life as well (except the complex pelvic pain disorders in women, I’m referring out for that).

One of the better things about the conference is that it’s not just PD courses, there is a full day of manual courses as well. So when I sit down and think “where can I get the most bang for my buck” it’s looking more and more like it will be the “Manual Therapy Conference”.

While it will always be important to take the smaller manual and PD courses practitioners put on, the development of these conferences is giving us a great option to save time and money (depending on the travel expenses of course). They are giving therapists the opportunity to get the majority of the CEC hours they need all in one spot, they’re also giving us the opportunity to network with other therapists we may have not had the chance to meet otherwise. Each conference is not only giving us a chance to learn new things, it’s also a way to use them to our benefit and grow our practice by increasing our network and building connections. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to meet you at one of them. If I’m sitting by myself, I’m not being a snob, I’m just working up the courage to start networking. Damn introversion!

As the creator of the site, I hope you like what you’re reading. I’m a Registered Massage Therapist in Victoria BC, former Massage college clinical supervisor, First Responder instructor, hockey fan and volunteer firefighter. Come hang out on the facebook page, where we can share some ideas about how to improve the perception of the Massage Therapy industry.

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Jamie Johnston

Founder at The MTDC
As the creator of the site, I hope you like what you’re reading. I’m a Registered Massage Therapist in Victoria BC, former Massage college clinical supervisor, First Responder instructor, hockey fan and volunteer firefighter. Come hang out on the facebook page, where we can share some ideas about how to improve the perception of the Massage Therapy industry.
Jamie Johnston
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  1. Melissa May 22, 2016

    Oh don’t be shy Jamie! Just walk up to people and introduce yourself! I’m a Canadian living in the US. I love it here! I have worked on Professional athletes and Yes even NHL hockey players! They find me on the internet. Funny thing is that most hockey players come from Canada eh? Lol! Its like when I tell them Im a Canadian its makes us bond closer. In the US the American players are different then us Canadians. Im always proud to be a Canadian and get to massage my fellow Canadians! 🙂 Im happy I found your blogs! Please keep writing! 🙂


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