“Three months into my Registered Massage Therapy career… Waking up at 3am with my right forearm and hand on fire! A work-induced Pronator Teres Syndrome this early in my career wasn’t what I had signed up for when I decided to become an RMT.”
-Nicole Ramien, RMT
As a Massage Therapist, we have all had one of those days… after a long work week, seeing a client or two more than we really should, when “it” finally sets in… The tight, achey, burning sensation that creeps through your entire body, consuming every muscle and joint, leaving you with no choice but to fall on to your couch or bed with dreams of a better way, or at least of having your own achey body massaged.
That thought floats through your head “I can’t do this forever”. And we know it. Something’s got to give.
I was working more than full time hours between 2 busy clinics and it was November, “Massage Season”. After just 3 months of working as an RMT, I’d gone from performing 4 massages a week in Massage school to a fast-paced 5-6 clients a day, 6 days a week.
I was and am a deep tissue enthusiast, so every client that walked in asking for deep tissue, got my 110%. I didn’t realize the damage I was doing to my own body. My shoulders, forearms and wrists were about as overused and repetitively strained as they could get.
Resentment is a killer of “love of the job”. No matter how much you love what you do, throw some work-induced unavoidable chronic degenerative pain into the mix you will succumb to Resentment. Irrational Resentment of your clients who (unknowingly) aggravate your painful state (while paying you to treat them), resentment of your body for letting you down (after using and over-using muscles repetitively we were never intended to use for 8 hours a day), resentment of your mind for not being strong enough to get you to stop what you’re doing and knowing that this self-induced damage will be more than just temporary unless you do. And there goes your “love of the job”.
I couldn’t bring myself to give less than what I felt would be the best for my client. This came at a price. My hands and wrists would ache and burn when I’d get to the part of the massage which would require the finer dexterity. My heart would sink when a client would say, “I love that deep hand work you do- I think I’d like you to work there a bit longer today”. Stabbing pain would radiate through my thenar eminences and my carpal and metacarpal joints would feel exhausted and stiff. I couldn’t help but think to myself that I was the one who was needing the hand massage.
Nicole's CTV Interview
Waking up at 3am on that chilly November morning, 3 months into my RMT career with my hand and forearm feeling as though they’d been doused in gasoline and lit on fire was the last straw for me. I was faced with 2 options: Change careers OR Change how I worked.
My work-induced Pronator Teres Syndrome launched me into my search to gain knowledge and training in any and every “body saving” massage technique available. This search led to the answer to my question “How can I change the way I’m doing things, so I can feel great now and in 20 years, doing what I love.” The answer is Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage Therapy.
Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage Therapy can be as amazing for the client as it is for the therapist. Administered in a thoughtful and “unique to the individual” fashion, a provider can achieve one of the most thorough and therapeutic soft tissue treatments imaginable.
Nicole founded NRG Medicine in 2005. She currently owns and operates clinics in both Toronto & Ottawa and practices in both as an RMT. She was an Honors graduate of ICT Kikkawa College and was the first fully certified Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapist (AOBT) in the GTA. She completed the instructor certification program with AOBT, becoming the first Canadian to be able to offer barefoot massage training & certification to RMTs in Canada. Effective as of October 27, 2014 she no longer offers training through AOBT.
Nicole founded the Canadian Institute of Ashiatsu Massage Therapy (CIAMT) in 2015, which provides Canadian RMTs the Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage Therapy (ABMT) Training Program in Toronto, Ottawa & Halifax locations. This program was developed by RMTs for RMTs and she is currently the primary instructor.
Nicole received degrees from both McGill University and the Panamerican School of Natural Medicine. She began her health care career as a Baccalaureate Registered Nurse with hospital experience in Hematology-Oncology, as well as practicing Naturopathic Medicine as an intern at several clinics around the world.
Nicole is passionate about health and well-being, selectively combining the various elements of her training, to create an individualized and effective approach to each client case that she sees. She brings this same philosophy to her courses, assessing students and making every effort to ensure an opportunity for each learning style and preference is provided. Her goal is to always maintain an inspired and holistic practice both when treating and teaching, that ensures each of her clients and students leave feeling satisfied with their experience.
Nicole Ramien, RMT is the founder of the CIAMT and currently the primary instructor for all of Canada.
Nicole demonstrating Ashiatsu at the Toronto clinic location.