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My View From Here

By Ralph Stephens, BS, LMT, NCBTMB

About the Columnist
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Working Smarter, Not Harder in 2018

I sincerely hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. With the "Holidaze" over, its back to work as we forge ahead into 2018. Change is the only constant. This column, which has been bi-monthly for many years, has been cut back to quarterly. I personally am cutting back from teaching 20–25 seminars a year to 12–14 this year and even less next year.

I had intended to cut back awhile ago but along came NRT and it was so amazing and unique that I committed to continue teaching full-time until enough instructors were found and trained to spread it worldwide. Seven new instructors have been certified and now I can cut back and spend more time with my grandkids and golf clubs. After 42 year on the road, 27 teaching massage, it is time to slow down significantly.

I received The AFMTE, BioFreeze, BonVital 2017 CE Educator of the Year, the highest honor for educators in our profession. So, I can't quit now. I'm not hanging it up, just cutting back by about half. Hard to completely stop doing what one loves to do.

Loving What You Do

For those of us who love massage, getting paid for what one loves to do sure beats a job. It is sad that so much of our profession has become just jobs. It is one of the reasons our profession is in such a state of decline (less and less schools, less and less therapists). If you are in a massage "job" and instead want to do the work you love and get paid well for it, you are going to have to acquire the necessary skills, few of which are being taught in most massage schools today.

2018 - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark You either must be able to provide your patients with a most amazing, "wow" relaxation massage experience or be able to consistently get people out of pain. When you can consistently get people out of pain you will always be busy, as you will never run out of people in pain, in good or bad economic times.

I have always specialized in pain relief, particularly with athletes. Athletes are awesome patients and are very sustainable cash flows. Once you help them recover from an injury (injuries being a fact of life in athletics) they go out, get injured again, and come back to you for more help. I built my 32-year massage career on sports massage initially, then on neuromuscular therapy (NMT).

Picking a Niche, Why I Chose NRT

Since the NMT "wave" hit in the late 1980's, I did not see anything significantly new or more powerful (effective) until 2012 when I experienced Neural Reset Therapy (NRT) from its developer, Lawrence Woods, in Indianapolis. NRT has been a game-changer for me just like sports massage and NMT were. With NRT, I can get faster results with less effort and with no pain for the patient.

By "no pain," I do not mean the "moderate discomfort" of NMT, the 5–7 on a 10-point scale. I mean no discomfort, zero on a 10-point scale. Better yet, it is achieved with minimal effort and little strain on my body. It is truly a "work smarter, not harder" approach to soft tissue therapy.

Using a gentle stimulus to the patient's nervous system, NRT elicits an inhibition response that "resets" the tonus of a particular muscle, called "the target muscle." Most massage therapists think they are working on muscles. However, the reality of it is that they are working on the nervous system, providing a stimulus, hoping to achieve a desired response.

Usually that response is the inhibition (relaxation) of a muscle that is too "tight" in general or has specific "tight" places in it. These areas of general or specific tightness are actually muscle spasms – involuntary contractions, with or without movement. It is the person's nervous system that is holding those muscles tight. It knows how to relax them, but will not until it receives the proper stimulus.

Trigger Points

In the case of trigger points (TrPs), if such a thing exists (throwing a bone to the trigger point deniers), they are thought to be isolated areas of dysfunctional physiology. Manual treatment is usually pressure, or pressure with movement and/or applications of heat or cold. This method is seldom pleasant to endure and taxing on the therapist. Instead, what if we could just apply a precise, gentle stimulus to the nervous system and it would "reset" that abnormal physiology in 2–15 seconds? What if soft-tissue pain could be eliminated without having to endure pain in the process? Believe me when I tell you, it can.

Based on the neurological Laws of Reciprocal Inhibition and Symmetry and precise kinesiology, the Neural Reset Therapy (NRT) process quickly changes muscle tonus, eliminating ischemic pain and TrPs in contractile tissues in seconds. Yes, it works on non-contractile tissues as well, but they may take a little longer to "reset." Neural Reset Therapy (NRT) uses several common massage therapy techniques — applied in unique, precise ways — to stimulate mechanoreceptors with an overwhelming, yet non-threatening, amount of information.

The central nervous system's response is to send inhibition to the "target muscle" but in an unusual way that changes the tonus of the muscle back to a "default" setting of sorts that lasts until some other stimulus "re-resets" the muscle to a dysfunctional state again. What could re-reset a muscle? Repetitive activity in athletics or the workplace, stress, an injury, etc. This means an NRT treatment often lasts much longer than typical soft-tissue therapy techniques, sometimes for months or even years.

Building Your Business

Take it from someone who has been successful in this line of work for many years, you can build a great business by providing a great service that people want and can experience immediate and long-lasting results from. The question is, can you do that for your clients without hurting them? Can you do that for your clients without hurting your body? If not, then you need to learn a modality that will provide you with those benefits.

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