2013 – In touch with …Sarah Gqola

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I practise at New Life MediClinic, a multidisciplinary facility, in Savanna Park, KwaZulu Natal on a part-time basis and at St. Mary’s Hospital full time. There, I have the opportunity to practise as a physiotherapist while implementing my therapeutic massage skills, which the institution has recognized. I have been practising therapeutic massage for 5 years and I have been a physiotherapist for 16 years. After receiving my therapeutic massage qualifications, I continued to practise physiotherapy to maintain these additional skills and enhance my therapeutic massage practice. My areas of interest are sports injury, post-operative rehabilitation palliative care, and care of the disabled. Since obtaining certification in early childhood intervention, I have committed myself primarily to people with chronic pair and children with cerebral palsy. I chose to become a therapeutic massage therapist because it encompasses both manual massage skills and aspects of physiotherapy. While physiotherapy alone primarily utilises electrical modalities, a therapeutic massage treatment focuses on manually removing the cause of pain. My background in health care started in 1988, when I became a nurse. After working as a nurse for two years, I became a trainee physiotherapist and worked in this capacity for eight years. In 1999 I qualified as a physiotherapy auxiliary after several years of studies. A fiend encouraged me to pursue further education and introduced me to therapeutic massage training. At that time, therapeutic massage therapy was not fully recognized by the physiotherapy profession, but knowing the advantages of improved manual skills, I made up my mind to pursue this field. I started my therapeutic massage training in 1998 on a part time basis by attending classes three times per week from 6pm-l0pm and on Saturdays. In 1999, l added physiotherapy studies to this already full schedule by attending classes for two weeks each month from eight to four. What fascinates me is that during massage, a therapist touches not only the body but also the mind and soul of a person. Emotions are released and many patients require not only bodywork but to have the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems restored. In order to fully reach a state of relaxation, many patients also require that their hormone imbalances be addressed. My history of lobbying with community groups has allowed me to also do community service on a regular basis. On my leave days, I visit a school for children with disabilities, where I help with rehabilitative and cognitive activities. I also make house calls in different areas and implement my therapeutic massage techniques to address a variety of health problems. I am inspired by God my Saviour, who has given me this gift that allows me to help each and every patient who has been touched by my...

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2013 – In touch with … Madzia Liberda

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I practice from a therapy room at my house  in Randpark Ridge, Randburg and I also work with a chiropractor at her rooms in Helderkruin, Roodepoort.  I treat patients who have been involved in accidents, people with stress, pregnant women, sports men and women of all sorts and people complaining of headaches and cluster migraines as well as depression. I have been practising since 1997 after completing my studies at the Institute of Natural Health in Johannesburg . I chose to become a therapeutic massage therapist as I think that being a therapist is one of the most rewarding jobs. I used to work in the corporate offices and the pressure and gossip was not very good (to say the least) for ones soul. My fields of interest are besides working with pregnant women and sports participants, stress-related conditions, depression, migraines and headaches. I am also interested in how a massage can “fix” a person in one hour as those ailments usually have a base in their own psychological background. Often just by talking, the patients realise what their problems are and from that they know how to solve it. I have almost finished studying for a doctorate in metaphysics. What fascinates me about therapeutic massage is that when patients come to me full of pain, depressed, and worn down by daily problems, I can help them and the change is visible immediately.  Also the fact that most of the people share their inner problems while I’m working on them, thoughts that they have difficulty sharing even with their closest friends and family, due to the fear of being criticised. By opening up to themselves -the massage is so much more beneficial.  I think that the mere sharing of the problems with a stranger has a lot of healing powers in it as their energies and bodies are willing for the change and thus the massage is so much more beneficial. I joined MTA because a couple of years ago when I was telling people what I do for a living, there was also a different connotation to the word massage.  I am from (I have been here for the last 25 years) and there massage is absolutely normal and never confused with other ‘professions’.  So to be safe and not taken for different kind of massage offered, I feel that MTA as a body can change the misunderstanding of the beautiful profession for the majority in SA. I am inspired by being alive and by waking up every day and anxiously awaiting what good it will bring and knowing that God in within me and everywhere around.  By the smiling faces of people around, by nature, sun, my teenager son (who has beautiful soul but...

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2013 – In touch with … Cheryl Lowings

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I have been practicing therapeutic massage, with a keen interest in sports-related problems, from a home-base massage practice in Kirstenhof, Cape Town, since 1998. I became a massage therapist primarily because of my interest in sport but also as a result of a personal need for massage therapy. I have never regarded myself as an athlete but I just love the great outdoors and anything that goes with it. Whatever activity I get involved in, whether cycling or running, I do with gusto, and often like a bull in a china shop. Hence I am always falling or spraining ankles or injuring my knees (I have fallen over the handlebars on my mountain bike twice this year already). Besides these self-induced injuries, I also have an unstable, skew spine (spondilolythesis). Consequently I suffer from stiffness and feel sore all over. Initially, I was constantly in need of some form of body therapy myself. I found physiotherapy, therapeutic massage therapy and shiatsu (finger pressure massage) to be of great benefit in helping me to recover. It released my stiff, sore muscles and enabled me to carry on enjoying sport. Increasingly my interest in these therapies began to develop and after a while I decided to learn these techniques to help myself and others. My first foray into body therapy was a shiatsu course, thereafter followed a therapeutic and sports massage course augmented by plenty of other workshops in lots of different areas to improve my knowledge, understanding and tools to work with. I started practising part-time and got progressively busier each year. Eventually I was practising fulltime and then a couple of years later I needed to take on more therapists in my practice to cope with the workload. What fascinates me about therapeutic massage is the ability to help other people and myself to maintain a happy healthy lifestyle. And that we as therapeutic massage therapists can help others to reach their goals, rehabilitate themselves, to assist with pain management or just send them away happy and in a better frame of mind.  To be able to make a difference in someone’s life is a fantastic reward. Currently sports massage in South Africa is seen as a luxury or only for the professional athletes. However, I see the role of therapeutic massage therapy for sports participants as not only for the elite athletes, but for people like myself who enjoy the good, healthy outdoor life. They should be able to make therapeutic massage part of their training programme and use it to help themselves achieve their goals and enjoy their sport more. I am currently involved with sports massage at the local running and cycling events and expos and some triathlons and off-road events in...

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2013 – In touch with … Carolyn Hoffman

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I have been practicing therapeutic massage since 1991.  Initially I had a home-based practice where my main focus was on pregnancy and post-natal massage.  However, since 2003 I have been working at the Vincent Pallotti hospital in Pinelands, Cape Town .  I manage the Therapeutic Massage Therapy Unit, which supplies a supportive function to the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Unit as well as other health professionals in the hospital and elsewhere.  I do a variety of techniques – scar-tissue massage, general therapeutic massage, pregnancy- and post-natal massage and MLD (manual lymphatic drainage). I became a massage therapist after having slowly moved away from the pure sciences where I had graduated with a degree in botany and the history and philosophy of science  to teaching and managing staff and finding that none of these careers allowed me to interact with people in the way that I wanted to.  I enjoyed the sciences but wanted to work with people more than in a lab.  I enjoyed the people contact whilst managing them but didn’t want to manage them.  I enjoyed the teaching but not in a formal way, as one does in a school. And so becoming a massage therapist has allowed me to take all the things I enjoy and use them all every day. I use my scientific mind to analyse and think about my patient’s problems, I interact with people all day and I involve myself with patient education as well, either one-to -one, or by having open days, etc. One could say that these things could be found in many careers, so why massage? My path to training in this field was a long one, starting with receiving massages from the age of 16 for sore shoulders brought on by the stress of exams, then becoming interested in complementary health in general, later receiving massages throughout my pregnancy and finally coming across a course in New Mexico where I happened to be for the year in1990.  This was a six-evening course called Massage for Relaxation.Once I had completed it I knew I wanted to learn more and so I registered for a certification programme in Swedish Massage which took eight months. From the first day I knew I had found the perfect career!  Everything was interesting – the anatomy, physiology, massage skills, ethics, practice management. Everything I learnt fitted into a broader philosophy of treating clients or patients in an integrated and all-encompassing way. I knew that one also had to have the right feeling for giving massages and I still believe this to be true. You can learn as many techniques as you like but you either are instinctively good at working on people’s bodies, or not – that feeling...

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In touch with … Julia Griss

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In touch with Julia Griss of Pringle Bay, Western Cape I have been practicing massage since 2002. Before I changed my profession I used to work in the public relations, marketing and fundraising industry. I worked in a number of varied jobs over the last 25 years. I started off, straight out of university, working for Penguin Books where I was appointed their public relations officer. From there I progressed to working for PR agencies. Some of the clients I worked with were Nashua , Edgars, Alpha Cement and Vynide (part of AECI). As varied as this profession was, I wanted to make a difference in the world. I joined the Baxter Theatre as their fundraising manager. This was my work over three years before deciding on a different profession altogether. I chose to become a therapeutic massage therapist because I wanted a profession that would enable me to assist others on a physical level. It’s a profession that allows me flexibility and also a great deal of enjoyment. I love what I do. I practice on an eclectic mix of people from sportsmen, to people with chronic back and shoulder injuries, to people who are terminally ill. My field of interest is the mind/body connection as it relates to massage therapy. In terms of my practice I am particularly interested in helping women who are peri-menopausal and anyone who is going through any major life transition. Most of the women I see are going through enormous emotional and physical changes. Some of them are disconnected from their physical bodies and only when menopausal symptoms show, do they become aware of the need for self-care. Massage helps enormously because it encourages homeostasis in the body and alleviates the stress accompanying such life changes. With my coaching skills I am able to deepen their awareness of their emotional state and encourage them to think deeply about their journey into dealing with the ageing process. My patients are varied, depending on whether I work in Pringle Bay or Cape Town . In Pringle Bay I see a lot of tourists from surrounding guest houses and residents who come over weekends and holidays. In Cape Town I see mostly sports people and professional businessmen and -women. My greatest strengths are my hands and my ability to use them to help others. I also have tremendous patience and empathy. People find it easy to relate to me. My personal philosophy is to be curious and never be afraid to learn something you love. When you come from that place in your work, people recognize it and respond positively. I define business success as the ability to feel satisfied with the work you do and still earn a reasonable living out...

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