Mar 9, 2017

Posted by in School of Massage Therapy | 0 Comments

Week Three: Dun dun dun… the TOUCH TEST!

It’s hard to believe that I’m almost a month into this education! It does not feel like that long. It also doesn’t feel like I’ve been practicing long enough to have my first serious test, but alas, apparently I have!

Before I talk about that though, I’m going to get the more “mundane” items out of the way.

So Myology… Oh Myo… I thought it was involved last week. How wrong I was! We had our first quiz in Myo on Monday, and it was not nearly as difficult as I expected it to be, which was a huge relief. Now that I have an idea how those quizzes will go, I definitely feel like I can study for them far more effectively. I’m loving the teacher for Myo as well. At first she has an air that she’s going to be on-point and kind of strict. Then you get to know her and you realize that she’s really not strict at all, she’s just determined to make sure everyone understands the material. She’s so dedicated to us students that she comes off as strict at first. She really is a wonderful instructor though, and considering how difficult this topic is, I’m grateful that she’s passionate about the topic, and passionate about the students. It makes all the difference in the world. Still isn’t going to make the information we need to absorb any less, but at least I don’t feel like asking questions is an issue. So this week we dove into the beginnings of muscles, and what they’re composed of, along with the sliding filament theory. That’d be the whole concept of how muscles contract. It’s some deep stuff, you should google it. I’ll be doing some extra studying on that, because I feel like I understand the principle of it, but I haven’t absorbed it to the level that I need to yet. Pretty sure we have a quiz on it on Monday too, so I know what some of my weekend is dedicated to…

In addition to Myo and Foundations (FOM), this week my class started Anatomy and Physiology (A&P), and Pathologies (Path). Two classes that, not gonna lie, I’m way more excited for than Myo. I know Myo will be very useful, but I’m 100% more interested in A&P and Path.

A&P did start off kind of rocky though, because we dove into atoms and chemistry, in order to understand the way matter makes up us as an organism. Chemistry is that one class that if I never have to take it again, it still might be too soon. Well… one of those classes anyways, there are a couple other classes I’m grateful to never have to take again as well. Hahaha. So starting with that definitely sucked. But it only took a little more than one class, and now we’re back into cells! Cells, tissues, organs, systems, etc I can deal with. Atoms and molecules… please spare me. I get why they want us to know, but ugh, spare me. I honestly love learning about cells though, and the systems of the body, so this class gets me excited. This weekend though that means I have a small project to complete in A&P. In order to kind of speed-up the process of learning about cell organelles (the things that make a cell tick), we were paired off and each have an organelle to do a quick report on. Shouldn’t take more than 3-5min to present, so that’s cool. In doing so, since the instructor paired us off, I met someone of similar ilk to me. She also likes Studio Ghibli, appreciates cosplaying, and similar things. All stuff I don’t know if I’d have known otherwise; and all because when we got together to start working on this stuff she noticed my Totoro waterbottle. Otaku points +10.

Speaking of the A&P instructor though, wow. I’m still not sure what to make of her. I’d definitely categorize her as high-energy though. Like, she’s that morning person that me, who is a night owl, has to squint at because no one should be that perky in the morning; not even with caffeine. Alas though, she is that perky, and so I’m still trying to get used to her vibe. Don’t get me wrong, she’s an extremely nice person. I just need to adjust to her level of energy accordingly. Hahaha

Path is great. Path is going to easily be one of my favorite classes I think. Growing up in a family with a genetic medical history that makes doctors cringe means I’ve got a lot of background in this already. Add onto that the fact that I have a boyfriend who was going to med school at one point, and works in a hospital, and now I really have a solid base of knowledge. Pathology has always interested me anyways, because I firmly believe that if you understand the illness, you can understand how to and eventually will find a cure. In the mean time, it means you can treat it.

So for Path we have the same instructor as we do for Myo, meaning less new faces. Hooray, because that means less names to memorize (I complain about the few I need to know, but the poor instructors…)! We aren’t going to be delving too deep into any single pathology, but instead it’s going to teach us how to effectively communicate with our clients so we can learn about any pathologies they may be affected by, so we can take appropriate actions to keep the massage safe and comfortable for them. That’s not to say we won’t learn some pathologies. The school is very clever, in that they pay attention to the medical intake forms that are done for the student clinic that’s on-site, and base what we learn about on the most common pathologies they see in clinic. So we’re going to learn a specific selection of pathologies that they have noticed seem to be reoccurring in massage clients. You know, relevant information. Crazy, right?

FOM this week though was brutal, in that it all lead up to the Touch Test. All week, once we learned Range of Motion basics (the only thing not on our touch test since we didn’t have a lot of time with it yet), we did nothing but prep for this test. Based on what I discussed with my classmates after it was over, most of us really got ourselves worked up about this test, and it turned out to be not nearly as intimidating as we thought. I don’t think there was a single person who wasn’t nervous though.

So the touch test is where you perform variations of the basic strokes on someone who is a licensed massage therapist (that’s also associated with the school). You’re allowed to have them spoon-feed you strokes if you want, or you could take the bull by the horns and just go for it. I just went for it. However, because it can be a bit difficult to tell some strokes apart, I did talk through it a bit (which was also okay and somewhat encouraged). While you were working for the 10min on one leg of this generous person, they were marking a sheet with your performance. You could get a 1, 2, or 3 in any stroke. 3 being the best meaning you are excelling in that area, 2 meaning you’re right where you need to be, and 1 meaning that it’s a stroke you need to work on, might be wise to seek help. Our instructor already warned us that it was not unusual to get at least a single 1, and to not fret over it too much. Still, I really didn’t want a 1. So I went through my touch test, explaining as I went and checking-in after each set to make sure my LMT grader didn’t need me to repeat anything. That was a good thing, because there were a couple things she wanted me to try again. Then, after you were done, you say with them and they went through it with you to explain what they felt were your strengths and weaknesses. I was so glad that I didn’t get a single 1. There were a couple of 3’s, which was exciting, but mostly I got 2’s and I’m okay with that. As nervous as I was over this, I’m really grateful for it too because this is the first time I’ve worked on someone who knows what it should feel like and can give me feedback based on that knowledge. So I’m taking it as a learning experience and going to try to keep it all with me as I further myself in this field. It seemed like others were a little shaken up by the process, but I’m sure with a good night’s rest they’ll feel better. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we’ve only been at this for three weeks. Our competency level is pretty amazing for three weeks of education in my opinion.

So I need to work on my compression, friction, and effleurage. Compression I was expecting. That one is difficult for me, and I may take her up on her suggestion to use one of my free tutorials (tutoring sessions essentially), to review that one-on-one and get some advice. Friction was mainly just a need for more pressure (which I have a tendency to avoid because I don’t want to hurt people), and effleurage just needs to have pressure build as I go for the most part. She also gave me some tips to spice things up, like starting effleurage at the feet, which was very cool. Kindest thing she told me was that she felt as I grew more confident, my massage would really start to come into itself and that I had a lot of potential. That felt very nice. So the critique was well-rounded, which definitely made it easier to hear. Always does. In addition, I did very well in the areas I expected to (and take pride in), so I was glad my expectations were not unrealistic. Overall it was not nearly as terrifying as I made it out to be in my mind. Ended up being a great learning experience, which was probably the real intent.

Now to keep on improving, because if I remember correctly the FOM midterm is near the end of this month… :O

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *