My name is Jane and I am a Certified Massage Therapist from
Richmond, Va. Here in VA we are Certified as opposed to Licensed (but
were are working to improve that legislatively). You can perhaps
better acquaint yourself with my practice by visiting our website at
www.GetRichmondMassage.com. Let me attempt to answer your questions
getting to the heart of what I am thinking you really want to know.
First, what lead me to pursue continuing education in what I’ll call
lymphatic studies is that I was continuing to see clients come into my
practice with swelling conditions and disorders of various origin and
I felt ill prepared to help them. I did not know if what I was seeing
was a contraindication for massage and bodywork or if there was
something I could do to help them if I were but better educated in
these areas. I felt woefully under prepared by my massage school
education and I was determined to learn more.
I have been in practice for 8 years now and my choices for continuing
education have usually been based on the types of conditions I have
seen coming through my practice with significant enough frequency to
compel me to learn more in these areas. During the past 6 years I
noticed that I was seeing more clients with various types of cancer,
including post treatment breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung and
pancreatic cancer and the skin cancers. This lead me obtain additional
training specific to massage therapy for oncology and palliative care.
This training raised my awareness of clients who were presenting with
various swelling conditions, some having to do with cancer and cancer
treatment (as with secondary lymphedema resulting from cancer
treatment) and some having to do with non-cancer related surgery,
trauma, primary or idiopathic lymphedema and other causes. My cancer
training taught me that I needed highly specialized training (roughly
140 hours to become a Certified Lymphedema Therapist(CLT)) in order to
legally work with people who had a variety of serious swelling
disorders including lymphedema. It seemed logical to me that becoming
a CLT would better equip me to provide more complete care to my
oncology clients and also equip me to meet the needs of a whole host
of other clients who have other types of swelling conditions.
Additionally, I would be better prepared to discern when I encountered
a client with a serious contraindication that I should not touch at at
– very important indeed.
After researching various Lymphedema certification programs and course
offerings I realized this training would greatly enhance my ability to
effectively recognize and help many of the people already coming
through my practice. In particular I was interested in receiving
training from a program accredited/approved by one or both of the two
most widely respected National Lymphedema organizations in the country
(LANA or NLN). Additionally, I hoped to find a program that was
affiliated with a clinic or hospital so that I could see and work with
real patients who had some of the conditions we learned about and
might expect to see in real practice (as opposed to just working on
one another – healthy, lympedema free people). Coincident to this
ongoing stream on consciousness, I received a mailer from Cross
Country Learning announcing the offering of an introductory class in
Effective Manual Lymphatic Drainage techniques. After reading the
instructor’s ( Carmen Thompson) bio and the course overview I decided
to take the one day course with the hopes of moving a few steps closer
toward my new goal of becoming a CLT. In a nutshell, the course was
outstanding! Carmen delivered over and above my expectations which are
high. She is very knowledgable and has an abundance of hands on
experience on the subject matter. She has studied a variety of
approaches to Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and Complete
Decongestive Therapy (CDT) and this knowledge informs her teaching. As
an instructor Carmen has a very approachable demeanor, is willing to
answer your questions until you understand the concept and
demonstrates all manual techniques ensuring that the student has time
to absorb them.
During the one day class we learned far too much to convey in this
letter but suffice it to say that we learned the major components of
the lymphatic system and how they work together to form and move lymph
throughout our body, why this is important to our health, and how to
manually facilitate this process. There were perhaps 40 students in my
class, PTs, PTAs, OTs, RNs and Mts and they all seemed fully engaged
in the class and the labs. During the end of class Carmen announced
that she offered a full certification course thus propelling an
excellent class into an incredible one. To me this was an amazingly
fortuitous series of events. After I had time to further investigate
the details of Carmen’s four part certification course, I signed up
for and completed it.
But I ramble. Now let me attempt to answer your questions.
1.What was the best thing you learned from taking this class?
In a nutshell, among the best things I learned was a variety of MLD
techniques and protocols that I could use immediately to help folks
suffering from a variety of swelling conditions. I also learned when
to use them, equally as important. I have been using many of them
since completing the class. I also learned how to do CDT another very
useful set of techniques.
2. What was/are the thing or things you would change about this class
if you could?
I have to say I was pretty satisfied with the course content. There is
a lot of information to grasp. I might perhaps suggest improvements in
some of the course handouts. There is such a volume of information
provided, included orally during lectures that I found it hard to keep
it all straight at first.
3. Did taking this class effect your practice? please explain.
Absolutely. First, the knowledge, hands on skills and clinical
practice prepared me to return to my practice and begin to immediately
work with and help people with a variety of swelling conditions.
Carmen made herself available to answer questions wherever I might
have felt uncertain. Second, I began to market myself as a CLT and
began to see new clients specifically for this reason. I would say,
perhaps 6 or so per month just though the information from my website
– no other marketing.
4. On effectiveness of Marketing?
I think the marketing advice is sound and effective. I have a fairly
full practice already so I did not need to do any more marketing. I
was more interested in better serving my current and new clients (by
referral and website) than marketing at large to gain new ones.
5.What type of practice do you work in?
Massage Therapy Practice – 7 member team. See the website.
6. Would you take this class again?
I just completed the Advanced Topics course being offered for the
first time. I would highly recommend both the full certification
Course and the Advanced Topics class. It is important to add that you
definitely get out of this class what you put into it.
Sorry for being so long winded and I hope this helps. Also,
Please ignore typos etc. I did this quickly so as to respond in a