September 09, 2009
Justin Coletti has been been a student of Martial Arts since he was a child. So his interest and respect for Eastern disciplines had roots planted before he even knew what he was going to do with them! He entered the Massage Therapy program at the New York College of Health Professions in order to continue his education for a Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture. I sat down with him to see what I could learn from his adventures as an LMT thus far.
I couldn't help coming to this interview from the angle of a person still in training, thinking about what classes may matter more than others as I chug along my curriculum. The Eastern aspect of his learning, Sports Massage and learning the tools of body assessment where strong influences on Justin. He is by no means limited to, but tends to focus on Acupressure work as a result. He said that "As an acupressure worker, people tend to come more to you when something is wrong. Something that needs to be worked through." So it makes sense why he would have a history of working at Chiropractic and Physical Therapy clinics, as well as spa experience.
As he continues to gain knowledge in Oriental Medicine he talked about how the Eastern and Western worlds can work together. "When I finish my Masters, I will have the knowledge of a Doctor in Eastern Medicine. But also having learned the Western Anatomy, Myology - everything you need for Western massage - I'll have two languages to work with. It will help me communicate with Doctors, patients - and just have more ways to help get to a better place for my clients"
One of my favorite moments was Justin talking about how you need to be client centered, yet honest: "Let the body do the talking" he says. Then he addressed how clients need to be healing centered too "Therapeutic Bodywork doesn't always feel great. The change is for you" he says, so it is "something that should be committed to".
Thinking ahead to my own career, I asked him what he found to be the hardest part of his work and he took his time to answer. "On the physical level, it's self preservation. You can't get lazy. You have to think about your mechanics, where are my legs? Am I sunk low enough? It's hard to be giving and giving and still think about how you are treating your own body. But you have to think about it". He also acknowledged the sense of Giving massage therapists tend to have "True practitioners give a part of themselves - so you have to know when...how to give". Boundary setting was another topic Justin offered up saying that this has been a learning curve for him in the past. "Starting out you think you just need the work. So ok, you barter your time, the money. Whatever. People pay you less than what you are worth - but you can't think that way". This is something I have already been thinking about. I expressed my worry with him and he gave me a brand new perspective "You have to know that you will lose clients. If they don't respect the effort you are giving them, you need to move on. You also have to be ready to have your clients move on. I mean, you want them to move on! You want them to heal!" He is firm in his belief of healing, so it's not all business "I'm here to help you, I'm not looking to make a ton of money on your injuries" In fact, he started to tell me about one of his ambitions "I want to make this available to people, Community Acupressure and Acupuncture. I like the idea of seeing a lot of people and having it be affordable. And for the practitioners - seeing 100 people gives you a lot more people to experience. Plus! Your helping a 100 people!"
Lastly, when I asked Justin what he found to be the most fulfilling part of being an LMT, he smiled form ear to ear and said "When people have breakthroughs. On so many levels - Mind, Body and Spirit! When the people you are there to help respond well to treatment and you both walk away having learned something."
Please check out my review of Justin's work in Spa Scoop!