Why did you want to become a Myotherapist?
I've been a Myotherapist for 8 years. Initially I studied at Endeavour College of Natural Health, where I completed my diploma of remedial massage and then went on to do an advanced diploma of Myotherapy at Melbourne Institute of Massage Therapy.
I studied Myotherapy because I was interested in massage, but I also wanted to know more about the medical aspect of the human body. I really wanted to treat conditions and help people with pain and injury. As I went through the course I learnt that many of the subjects were quite medical, which I really enjoyed. I was particularly interested in the pathology units, as well as the more hands on practical subjects. I've always been good with my hands and have a natural sense of touch. I believe that if you can feel what's going on in the body, you can often find a reason behind a person’s pain. And by using different techniques you can make changes to the body in a really positive way.
Before studying Myotherapy, I was working in marketing. When I left secondary school I had no idea what I wanted to do. My options were business, law or medicine. I thought I'd just do a business course and see how I'd find the corporate world. I only lasted a couple of years! After leaving the marketing sector, I wanted to get into psychology, which I am still thinking about down the track. Ideally I would like to incorporate both Myotherapy and Psychology into my practice.
What is Myotherapy?
Myotherapy is essentially a form of physical therapy, used to treat soft tissue (or muscle) aches and pain. Myotherapy can often be confused with remedial massage, however there is a distinct difference between the two. Myotherapists have a remedial massage skill set, with the additional dry needling component and further skills such as exercise prescription, nutrition, biomechanics and postural assessment. The dry needling component is perhaps the biggest difference. Dry needle therapy uses acupuncture needles to stimulate ‘trigger points or ‘knots’ in the muscle which can help relieve myofascial pain and can also help with tendon injuries. The needle is used as an alternative to finger pressure or massage.
Can you tell us about an experience with a past client that stands out for you?
I had a client who was experiencing severe headaches, and they'd been taking headache medication almost every night for 20 years. After going through a routine postural and biomechanical assessment, I soon realised there was more than just muscular factors at play. At first, I focused on treating the neck, which was very tight and tender to touch. This treatment plan helped initially, however the headaches began to come back. The client then started talking about their childhood and mentioned some interesting and helpful information. As a child, his older brother would come up behind him and grab him around the neck. While there was clearly tension on a muscular level, the main underlying issue was the psychological trauma that was bringing him into this physical pain. Once we brought this to his attention, we were able to work on both the emotional and physical anomalies that were causing the headaches. Identifying and working through the root cause allows the body to overcome a particular pain or condition indefinitely.
Childhood traumas will play a part in the body and how you move through the world. When I’m working with a new patient, that's what I'm focusing on first. I find that as I get to know my patients better, we can talk about some of the underlying factors contributing to pain. Often if the client isn’t mentally relaxed and ready for the treatment, the muscle tissues can feel like a spring and it will not let me manipulate the tissue. That’s why it’s so important to address both the mental and physical state of the patient. As I've built up experience over my years of practice I've developed an understanding of tissue texture and how there's interplay between the mind and the body.
It's all moving parts.
Steph is available for bookings at Realign Myotherapy on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
0433 820 194