The Most Amazing Massage Clinic In The World – or Why I Became a Travelling Massage Therapist

tablebrookI first chose to become a travelling RMT because of two words – clinic rent. But the job quickly became more than just a way to save money. It became the most amazing and fascinating and challenging career I could have dreamed of. That’s why I ran Vancouver’s Mobile Massage Therapy for 12 years.

Travelling massage therapy is working on the cheap. Sort of. Maybe. True, you don’t have to pay clinic rent to somebody else. Instead you get to deduct your car, your gas, and your home office at income tax time. Of course, you also have to pay for your car and your gas. You get to be the receptionist, and the laundry lady, and the bookkeeper. You have to spend unpaid time travelling, and some of your patient time is spent messing with your table. You end up paying in time instead of money. So I answered my own phone, and learned the fastest ways around Vancouver, and got my table setup down to a reflex. I could live with that.

A travelling massage therapist is a minimalist. You don’t get to have heating pads, charts on the wall, incense and subdued lighting and soft music. You get your table, your oil bottle, and your hands. You work in your patient’s living room or bedroom or kitchen or back yard, to the soothing sounds of silence or screaming kids or Led Zeppelin or Oprah. You get supper smells or cigarettes or a lilac forest or eau de hospital. You get an infinite variety of circumstances to work with; and within it all, you and your hands get to do somebody some good.

I loved it all. Aside from my constantly changing office view, I had the opportunity to see inside my patients’ lives. I got to see where their stress, and sometimes their disease, came from. Sometimes it helped me inform my treatment plans. Always it broadened my own personal experience, and widened my worldview.

And then there were the clients themselves. Mobile massage therapy introduces you to a variety of patients you’d never see in a clinic setting. I was called to the homes of the elderly, the disabled, the comatose, and the dying. I worked with MS and Lupus and arthritis and strokes and spinal cord injury and every other condition that pins people to their beds. The conditions and situations I encountered in my practice shocked, scared, humbled, challenged and fascinated me. They sent me back to the books. Time and time again I was pushed to see what I could do. I rose to the challenges, and often I was able to do some good.

Travelling massage introduced me to so many unique and amazing people and situations. The young man in the throes of his very first MS attack, his entire family in turmoil after their doctor had told him to go home and live with it. The single mother of newborn twins who was so grateful because she had no time for a clinic visit for her aching back. The more than a handful of famous people who didn’t want to be seen. The man with the back spasm on his living room floor, only able to reach his phone. The homes where I was kept busy for a day massaging the entire family.

I’ve given sessions on a boat, in a park, in back yards and on balconies. I’ve worked on canopy beds and hospital beds. I’ve seen the inside of every health care facility and major hotel in Vancouver. I’ve been in mansions and hovels, from the British Properties to the Downtown East Side. I have helped all manner of people, and the experiences have made me rich. That is why I worked as a travelling massage therapist for as long as I did. That is why, for the right therapist – young, strong, independent, eager to be pushed – I highly recommend it.

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