Why did I become a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT)?

I’ve always been a kinesthetic and tactile learner. I learn best by doing, as well as understanding the world around me through sense of touch. I’ve also always been someone who communicates with my hands, whether that be through gestures, fidgeting with spinner rings, or even comforting those around me with hugs, holding hands, providing physical support, and so on. Growing up, I was the one in my group of friends that wanted to help, offer advice, and make others around me happier, and often I felt the urge to physically reach out to help in those ways. Neuronation says that 

 

“Our sense of touch has vital functions for our psychological and physical well-being.”

Touch has become quite underrated relative to our other four senses, and I believe part

of me always has and always will strive to show the world the power of touch in healing and quality of life.

 

Fast forward to senior year of high school, having accumulated a variety of credits in the arts, biological sciences, sociology and anthropology, deciding what I wanted to do seemed impossible. What I knew was that I couldn’t see myself strapped to a desk for hours on end or attempting to reach never-ending quotas. I knew I wanted to help people, to learn more about the human body and its interactions with the world around it, and to be in a field in which I’d never stop learning or moving.

 

Much of my inspiration for choosing the path to become an RMT came from my mother. She too tended to comfort others through touch and used to give shoulder massages to

everyone at our family gatherings. I picked up this talent, and when I realized that I had everything I needed to start this journey, I did just that.

 

College was very eye-opening for all of us in the massage therapy program. Many dropped out quickly, having underestimated the science and evidence involved in massage therapy practice and the ever-increasing advocation for it to be recognized as a valuable part of the health care profession. Instead of running away from this unanticipated challenge, I was ecstatic to be learning and doing more than I’d imagined. I was so happy to learn that massage therapy isn’t just a luxury, or something only done in a spa, but rather a form of complimentary, holistic, non-invasive treatment crucial to the improvement of a person’s well-being. That’s why I’m a massage therapist – to make people feel better.

Robin Skidmore RMT

What is my education & training?

I studied and trained in the massage therapy program at Humber College, School of Hospitality Recreation and Tourism. More recently, the massage therapy program has been re-listed under Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellness. This is a testament to the benefits of massage therapy and how it is gaining recognition as a health care profession.

 

I graduated class of 2017. By graduation, I’d accumulated over 640 hours of hands-on skills practice in a variety of internships. These placements included women and infant centres, adolescent sport facilities, hospitals, acquired brain injury centres, mental health programs, as well as the on-campus Humber massage therapy clinic.

 

I’ve worked with people with a diverse variety of conditions and life events, including repetitive strain injuries, motor vehicle accidents, workplace incidents, neurological and mental health conditions, pregnancy, sports injuries, and more.

 

Shortly after graduating, I also acquired training to utilize cupping therapy in practice and look forward to adding more tools to my repertoire.

What are my areas of clinical focus?

The focus of my practice is always putting the power back into the hands of the patient. Unless inappropriate to the type of treatment plan, I’ll always recommend and teach therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises and/or home care strategies, catered to the needs and capabilities of the individual of course.

 

I often also incorporate breathing technique coaching for reduced stress and anxiety, normalized blood pressure and heart rate, as well as increased parasympathetic nervous system engagement – the ‘rest and digest’ part of the nervous system instead of ‘fight or flight’.

 

In terms of experience, I’ve worked most with shoulder impingements and rotator cuff tears, neck and low back pain, postural re-education, stress management, headache and migraine relief, and increasing connective tissue mobility.

 

That being said, rather than keep my focus too narrow, I’m always eager to expand my knowledge and expertise.

What do I love most about being an RMT?

What I love most about being an RMT is that I get to help reacquaint people with the power of touch and manual therapy in healing and self awareness.

 

I love that I get to teach my patients ways to help their bodies move and feel better utilizing tissue release and functional movements.

 

I also love that patients leave my room feeling happier, more relaxed, with less if not no pain, and with a smile on their faces because of the pride they feel in having taken the time out of their busy lives to pause and take care of themselves, which none of us do often enough.

What are the techniques I use most?

  • The techniques I use most include:

 

  • Muscle stripping

  • Specific compression/Golgi tendon organ (GTO) technique

  • Myofascial trigger point release therapy

  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching

  • Rocking

  • Joint mobilization

  • Diaphragmatic breathing education

  • Passive stretching

  • Cupping therapy

  • Suboccipital release

  • Sinus drainage

 

The benefits of these techniques may include but are not limited to:

 

  • Realigning muscle fibres

  • Improving range of motion

  • Decreasing pain and stress

  • Reducing headache/migraine frequency/duration/intensity

  • Increasing relaxation

  • Preventing the worsening of dysfunction

  • Increasing proprioception (awareness of the body in space)

  • Improving muscle activation

  • Optimizing fluid circulation and the immune system

What attracted me to team-based health?

I knew when I was still in school that I wanted to be part of a multidisciplinary team of practitioners. This was so I could learn from a diverse pool of insight as well as collaborate on treatment plans to enhance the quality of life of our patients and facilitate their exponential progress.

 

I was drawn to team-based healthcare because each discipline and specialty compliments each other in many ways, and this is what holistic medicine is all about. A person and their body is made up of so many complex systems and components that no singular scope of treatment will help someone better than harnessing the wisdom and experience that accompanies a multifaceted approach.

 

In addition, team-based health creates a place where patients can feel like everyone knows them and they can ask any question and feel as though no matter who they ask, they’ll be pointed in the right direction to get the answers they need.

If I’m not at work, where can you find me?

If I’m not at work, you can find me spending my free time doing the following:

 

  • Yoga

  • Doing my own therapeutic exercises

  • Spending quality time with my animals or my partner, Chris

  • Cooking

  • Reading

  • Binging shows or movies like The 100 or The Greatest Showman

  • Having game nights with friends

  • Hiking

  • Cycling

  • Singing

  • Seeing local bands

  • Going to festivals (Food, music, niche, etc.)

  • Taking long or short road trips (I just love driving)

  • Travelling and collecting new experiences

 

I love spending time in the Port Credit area of Mississauga near where I live. I enjoy sitting by the water or hanging with the locals in the Mississauga night life.