Lisa McMillan - Degree Graduate
Hi, my name is Lisa McMillan, I am a soft tissue therapist having recently graduated top of my class in a Bachelor of Health Studies (Massage & Neuromuscular Therapy) at the NZ College of Massage. I have always been interested in the beneficial effects of massage which I first experienced at a young age where I would see the relief my Grandmother received when I gave her a simple back rub! After many years of working at a computer all day I began to experience my own aches and pains, and on hearing similar complaints from my work colleagues decided it was time to learn more. I subsequently enrolled in the part-time Certificate of Relaxation Massage where the theory was completed by correspondence and the practical work involved several weekend courses at the college. While I was at first nervous about massaging and being massaged by complete strangers, the professionalism and high ethical standards of the tutors, as well as the supportive atmosphere of the college made it a joy to attend classes, and I met many interesting and like minded people.
On completion of this course I couldn’t wait to “practice” my new found skills and was contracted by an IT company to provide its employees with subsidised weekly massages. After constantly hearing my clients ask the question “why do I keep getting these painful knots in my neck and shoulders?” I realised I needed to continue my studies so I could provide the answers and possibly offer more permanent relief from their constant pain. I therefore attended an “open evening” at the college to decide whether embarking on the Diploma in Therapeutic Massage and Clinical Sports was the right path for me. I found the introductions from the staff and tutors, of what the college had to offer, completely inspirational and enrolled in the very next intake.
Again I was nervous having not completed any academic studies since leaving high school, but I soon found that the college caters for individual learning styles, and classes were therefore both stimulating and innovative, and the tutors extremely encouraging and supportive. This made the transition to becoming a full time “adult” student even easier, along with the wonderful college facilities, including an extensive library where the librarian is extremely helpful, a computer room, a large student lunch room, parking, and limited class sizes which meant there was plenty of one-on-one time with the tutors.
After completing the diploma I had ample skills to be an effective and professional therapist, but decided that in order to be the best therapist I could be, I would continue with the highest qualification available. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to complete the first ever degree programme at the college - the Bachelor of Health Studies (Massage & Neuromuscular Therapy). Many people questioned why as a massage therapist I was being taught such topics as research methodology, nutrition and health psychology. It is only now that I have completed these studies that I can say - learning these topics are for the benefit of every client I will ever have. I now have the highest knowledge available, so that I may understand the uniqueness of each client and provide personalised education to assist them in alleviating and managing their pain and/or stress.
Overall, I have found all of my training at the college to be of the highest standard possible and the last few years have been an extremely rewarding experience. I sincerely thank the NZ College of Massage, not only for my superior knowledge but also for their support and nurturing of my own personal development throughout my years in their care. I would have no hesitation recommending the NZCM to those wanting to start or change careers, or those wishing to up-skill so that as therapists we can continue to provide and maintain a professional, natural alternative to health care.
Lisa McMillan, BHS (Massage & Neuromuscular Therapy) 2009
Nanci Heah – Massage Therapist, Teacher and Health Practitioner - Diploma Graduate
I believe the standard of the hands-on teaching in areas like Neuromuscular Therapy and Clinical Sports Therapy, has raised the bar above the general industry standard. I believe that the choice of some specialist lecturers, like Wade, Bryce, Johannes, Jim Bartlett, Phil Beach and others have taken our thought processes and understanding beyond the mere rubbing the bellies of muscles or applying strings of techniques by rote, to a more analytical and questioning approach. When I deal with my clients or compare my learning with those of my Diploma Colleagues the benefit of the degree work becomes obvious.
The degree course has maintained and expanded our holistic concepts and values taught in earlier levels. This gives us not only a good number of techniques to employ, but also a more discerning method of trying to assess, offer treatment appropriate to the person and their condition, and work with our client. The addition of the rehabilitation element to our hands-on work, on a number of levels, seems to me to be a key element in moving from the diploma to the degree level as a mental process.
I believe the same holds true for the more theoretical aspects of the course. The improved biochemical and nutritional components of the course have complemented earlier work, but also helped us progress through a greater understanding of various elements in our client’s health. The exposure to more professional references and concepts has helped us become more professional in our appreciation of some concepts and, I think, also more aware of other practitioners’ fields and areas of interest. In my case the statistical and research work was not new, but I saw the class first struggle, but then start to blossom with the concepts as they became more comfortable with evidence based research. In my own case the exposure to the medical libraries available on the internet, and the increased appreciation of the possible sources one can refer to has been very helpful.
Topics like Health Psychology helped put much of the learning into a social context and is an important element. I feel that the College has succeeded in its aim as described: “Graduates of this programme will have a clinical and academic specialisation in Clinical Therapeutic Massage, Soft Tissue and Neuromuscular Therapy. They will also have advanced evidence-based knowledge and skills in the subject areas, together with a questioning and analytical approach, and the ability to evaluate theory and practice in the light of the evidence base”.
G.G (Degree Student NZCM 2008)