Back in March of this year I decided that I wanted to get more involved in Sport Massage. Being an RMT and a runner it seemed like a logical path. During my search on how to do this I came across the Canadian Sport Massage Therapist Association (CSMTA) and immediately signed up. I couldn’t have done so at a better time! Shortly after that I heard, through the association, that I could volunteer as a Massage Therapist at the PanAm games. Again, right away, I signed up.
A short while later (after doing questionnaires and on-line interviews) I got the approval. I was so excited, but didn’t know where I would be massaging. I was hoping for on-field at the marathon, triathlon and cycling races because these are some of my favorite things, but I ended up being stationed at the Polyclinic. Initially, I was a little disappointed, but eventually I started to realize what a great opportunity it would be to work in the more relaxed atmosphere of a clinic setting with the athlete’s pre and post-event.
My first of 8-shifts was the first Saturday of the games. What a great day! Having never worked in a “clinic” type setting (I’ve worked on my own for 12 years), I was very curious as to what it would be like - and it was fantastic. Not only were the athletes amazing, so were all of the other volunteers and employees.
The first few athletes I treated were swimmers. I have heard, since being part of the CSMTA, that swimmers LOVE massage and this was definitely the case! The only regret that I had that first day was that I did not speak one word of Spanish. Thank goodness one of the volunteers was fluent and I was able to communicate that way.
As my shifts went on most of the people I treated were track athletes. As a long time runner, this was absolutely fine with me. I was able to treat some of them before AND after their events. It was great to hear how they were feeling before competing and to find out their results afterwards. Of course, when I could, I watched them on TV as they competed in their events. It was exciting to see someone I treated competing at such a high level. Especially the one athlete I treated for pre-event massage that ended up winning gold!
Another great part about being in the Polyclinic was working alongside the different practitioners: physios, athletic therapists, sport med doctors, chiros and other RMTs. If I ever felt the athlete could use something more than massage, I would send them over to the next appropriate practitioner so that they could get the very best care. It was the same the other way. When another practitioner felt massage was the next best care option, they would be sent our way. I also loved being able to chat with other RMTs about massage stuff and learned a lot from the ones that I met.
Working as a Massage Therapist in the Polyclinic at the Pan Ams was an exhilarating, albeit exhausting, experience that I would not have traded for anything. Everyone I met from the athletes to the admin staff to the practitioners were some of the nicest people and I feel honored to have been among such a wonderful group.
Maxine practices out of Lifenergy. For more information about how Maxine can help you, visit her website http://www.lifenergy.ca