As the academic year started I found myself back at school. Since September I have attended several courses to further my skills as a massage therapist at various places of learning. Having been qualified as a holistic massage therapist for over a year now I have begun to understand where I want massage to take me, how I want to progress and develop, and where I need to improve. So I did my research and decided on three major courses: Sports Massage, Myofascial Release, and Postural Assessment.

My schooling started with an intensive week long course focusing on sports massage. This took place at the European School of Osteopathy in Maidstone, with several of its osteopathy students joining us on the course. Our course tutor was Sam Boden who is part of Proactive Training. Whilst I have heard lots of praise for osteopathy I have never received a treatment myself, so it was fantastic being able to talk to the students as it helped me better understand their methodologies and ideas. The course was excellent for providing me with new tools and skills such as trigger pointing, soft tissue release, and deep friction to better help my clients. My criticism of the course was that it was very treatment focused and didn’t look at the client as a whole.

The four day myofascial release course I took shortly after at BCMB, run by Ruth Duncan from Myofascial Release UK was almost the complete opposite of the sports massage week in its essence. The course focused much more on a subtler, slower, and more holistic approach to bodywork. Taking the client as a whole, both body and mind, you asses the root cause of their pain, discomfort, and/or stress. Using a gentle touch and slow movements you sink into the connective web that surrounds all of the body and release points of tightness within it. I found it a much more caring and relaxing form of bodywork with its emphasis on working with the body, rather than forcing the body to work with you, as with sports massage. It also uses techniques that encourage a greater emotional connection with the client, helping them to unwind. I still have much to learn in regards to myofascial release so I’m booked onto a followup course in February, which I am very much looking forward to!

The final course I took was one on postural assessment. This also took place at BCMB and was taken by Anna Orren. This was an excellent consolidation of both my initial training and the further courses I’ve taken this year. It allowed me to take a step back and look at myself and what I’ve learnt and how to put it all into practice. It showed me that even when we think our posture is good, there is likely to be a weak link somewhere.

As we move towards the end of 2017 I think it is good to reflect back on the year to see how we have grown and where we have room to grow. I’ve had a great year; I signed up with Rosie and the other wonderful therapist at Relax Bristol and I look forward to continuing to work with them.

This post was written by our therapist Michael. If you would like to read more about Michael or book a treatment with him then please click here.