As the newest member of the Alliance Healthcare Professional team, I figured I would take this opportunity to write my first blog to introduce myself to the rest of the team, clinic patients and visitors. It is my hope to use this outlet with some regularity (ideally bi-weekly) to introduce and educate the public on massage therapy and other topics pertaining to massage treatment and health.

I graduated from Brock University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Political Science. Despite my best intentions, I recognized pretty early on in my studies that my conscience and morality would be a serious detriment to a career in politics. Oddly, I have never craved public approval so the idea of spending any time convincing the general masses that I am acting in their best interests did not appeal to me. I have never been a salesman and I do not imagine I would ever be a good one.

I accepted a few dead-end jobs – I had student loans to repay – before eventually entering the burgeoning Information Technology (IT) field in 2002. I caught break when my best friend offered me an opportunity to join a small start-up company (ie. Ranger Online) with lofty dreams. It didn’t take long before I was cut up in the rat race of working long hours in the hopes of a huge financial windfall. In a short period of time, we did enjoy a lot of success though Ranger Online was not immune to the IT bubble burst.

Oddly, I had worked many physically laborous jobs in my life but it wasn’t until I began my career with Ranger Online working 60-70 hours a week being seated at a computer terminal before I began experiencing pain. Although I had been physically active almost my entire life — including playing organized soccer, football, baseball, hockey in addition to playing those same activities recreationally with friends on almost a daily basis — I never experienced any major or even minor injury, for that matter. I had never experienced a broken bone or even had tonsils removed, for that matter, so I had very little need or knowledge of the health-care industry and services.

After a year of enjoying a sedentary lifestyle, I gradually began experiencing a constant dull ache in my mid-back that was aggravated following an extended period of time sitting in front of the computer. I lived with the discomfort and managed it — which included having coworkers walking on my back — until I reached my pain threshold and decided to seek some professional help. I was made aware that my extended health benefits included massage therapy — massage therapy seemed like a logical course of treatment — and sought my family doctor for a referral.

I hadn’t known anybody who had ever had a massage and could offer a referral to a particular therapist. So I looked for a therapist in the yellow pages and selected a random therapist working out of a multidisciplinary clinic. The initial visit was fairly uneventful — the R.M.T. did not perform an assessment of any kind and simply inquired about my symptoms — but I was very pleased with the results. My pain was constant pain from the day it began and following my initial massage treatment, I enjoyed about a week from symptoms. I continued with a few additional treatments on a bi-weekly basis but I noticed that each subsequent treatment the effects did not last nearly as long as the previous. I decided to try new massage therapists and over the years — as I continued in the same sedentary lifestyle and career though with different companies — and visited with as many as 7 different therapists before finally settling with a therapist. Since becoming a massage therapist I’ve experienced many more therapists.

In 2005, at the age of 31 and my wife expecting our first child, I decided to complicate everything and undergo a career change. With the help of Nicholas Lore’s “The Pathfinder: How to choose or change your career for a lifetime of satisfaction and success”, I eventually came to the conclusion that becoming a Registered Massage Therapist (R.M.T.) would fulfill my professional requirements. I was enrolled in the Canadian Therapeutic College (C.T.C.) massage therapy program (2-year full-time program) a few weeks later and began class a few days after our first child (Liam) was born. Despite the difficulties of raising a young child while keeping up with scholastic responsibilities, I found it advantageous to return to school as an “adult” student. Although the course was more challenging than I ever expected, I can proudly say I exceeded my own expectations.

While massage school introduced us to the basics of massage therapy, it didn’t take long to appreciate the enormous scope of massage therapy and manual treatment. The possibilities are endless and only limited by the practitioner. A good manual therapist requires becoming a lifelong student. It’s a huge commitment of time, energy and money but the reward is priceless. It’s a privilege to meet new people who entrust you with their care… so that you can share and practice all the amazing knowledge and skills you’ve developed so that you can apply it for their benefit and good health. My patients motivate me to become a better therapist every day.

Yours in good health,

Tony DiMarco, R.M.T.