Sunday, October 26, 2008

Still loving those massage school clinics!

In my mission to try as many massage school clinics as possible, I ventured into the Australasian College of Natural Therapies clinic in Sydney last week.

I booked in for a one hour remedial massage, as I hadn't had that type of massage for ages. Remedial massage is deliberately firm and really gets into the muscles and tissues. It's in these kind of massages that you often "discover" tense areas in your body that you weren't even aware were tense.

The clinic was professionally run, and the treatment rooms were basic, but clean and comfortable. My therapist introduced herself to me, did a quick postural assessment and ask where I'd like her to focus on. Neck and shoulders please...a very typical reply!

She was using a massage balm instead of oil and we discussed the pros and cons of oils vs balms. The balms didn't seem as greasy as oils, but still provided good glide - this is important when you're trying to roll smoothly over tense or dense areas of muscle.

Interestingly, the therapist started working on my lower back and detected tension there (surprise surprise for a person who'd went most of the week curled over a computer!). She then started to work on my glutes - another area where a lot of people store tension - and repressed anger, I once learnt in a personal development course. I was trying to pay attention to the techniques she was using (if I like the way something feels in a treatment, I always ask the therapist to show me what they're doing), but started to drift into the land of nod. Even though the massage was very firm, it still had the overall effect of relaxing me.

At the ACNT clinic, instructors actually come into the treatment room mid-massage to observe what their students are doing. This is the first clinic I've visited where that's happened! I had been asked prior to the massage if this was ok. The instructor observed for a bit then started to give my therapist some tips about how to work particular areas up the side of my shoulder. He then demonstrated on one side of my shoulder while she tried on the other side.

Hands on training like this is invaluable for therapists, and I was really impressed at the quality of teaching, and the supervision of students. I believe that the more clinic hours students do under such close supervision, the better therapists they'll be when they go out to do it commercially.

The ACNT clinic offers a wide range of treatments including massage, naturopathy, herbal medicine, nutritional consulations, aromatherapy, homoeopathy, reflexology and beauty treatments.

At $30 for a one hour remedial massage, this is one of the best value massages I've had - particuarly as the clinic is in the city (Foveaux Street, near Central Station).

The clinic is available to the public - check out their website, call to make a booking on 02 9218 8855 or email I highly recommend it!