Excited about the decision to go to massage therapy school, I told a lot of people. Everyone that knows me as a trainer immediately understood why I made the choice of becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT). My passion for helping the body be free from ailments has become apparent in all aspects of my work. They thought it was a great idea and even offered to be my guinea pig for massage practice. I’m sure this was a completely selfless gesture! They obviously just care about my well-being. However, there was one question someone had that stuck with me. A friend replied to my news with “Hold on, don’t you have a Master’s degree? So isn’t that like taking a step back?” Even though I obviously don’t agree, I understand the question. Why would someone with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree go into a massage therapy program? Well, the answer is simple. I want more than a hammer; I want the whole tool kit.
If the answer sounds random, I’ll explain it further. There’s an old saying that states, “If all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” In my opinion, when most people are faced with a problem, they reach for the tools with which they have the most experience. A particular exercise is not always the best answer to a certain problem, but it may be the only answer a personal trainer can think of. In the same way, a massage stroke may not be the best answer either, but it might be the only answer an LMT can think of.
The best way to look at problems in a wide lens is to….. HAVE A WIDE LENS. A good example of this situation is lower back pain. According to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 80% of the general population will have lower back pain at some point in their lives. Attesting personally to this statistic, I have seen countless clients with back issues. I’ve seen back pain come from a variety of sources such as nerves, bones, muscles and soft tissue. Understanding the body through a muscular point of view gives me the tools with which to strengthen the body enough to ease joint pain; however, understanding the body through a soft tissue scope will give me more tools necessary to allow the muscles to operate optimally, in the way they were designed to do so. With my strong base in anatomy, which is needed in personal training as well as massage, my toolbox will include more tools than Tim Taylor in Home Improvement!
Justin Davis MS, NASM-CPT, CSCS has a Master’s degree in Sports Science (Concentration in Sports Injury Management) and is a certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) and Strength & Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS). His focus is on clients with preexisting joint injuries. Strategies to protect and strengthen weak links are designed specifically for the individual’s issues. He has had success in clients ranging from clients with posture deficiencies to functional scoliosis clients to clients with injuries stemming from decades old injuries. Justin is currently attending Atlanta School of Massage.