RMT students treating clients at a winter 2019 seniors massage clinic. The clinics return starting next week. Photo: Molly Sweeney

Seniors massage clinics resume Monday in Nelson

The massages are part of Kootenay Columbia College’s registered massage therapy program

Molly Sweeney

Special to the Star

Kootenay Columbia College’s registered massage therapy program in Nelson is relaunching its popular massage clinic for seniors Monday. The event is part of a series of “inreach” practicum clinics, which invite populations such as youth, high-intensity athletes, and first responders to receive by-donation treatments by RMT students in an open classroom setting.

The RMT student clinic first opened in 2017 at the Nelson Trading Company before relocating to the Nelson Commons in the spring of 2018. With its second cohort of students, it went from serving 40 to more than 100 clients each week. The clinic provides a controlled and supervised environment for students to apply the practical aspects of their education.

“I just love to support that kind of skill-based learning in practice,” said Madelyn MacKay. “Of course financially it really helps a lot of us who couldn’t afford regular massages.”

The seniors inreach was launched in September 2018 in collaboration with Judith Biggen and her organization Learning in Retirement, and since its inception has been consistently full. “People love it,” said Biggen, “We’ve got currently about 450 members and we just advertise and they all come down.”

Practical application of massage is crucial to the students’ education, and provides a much-needed affordable health care service. The students learn techniques they can use to treat ailments such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction. “We learned the intraoral techniques specifically for that and getting to try that and see actually how much it gives relief is really awesome,” said Megan Leake.

To provide learning experiences with diverse groups in a variety of settings, the RMT program has partnered with organizations including McKim Cottage and Kootenay Lake Hospital. “It’s a very valuable learning opportunity,” said RMT program director Joanne Sinclaire. “We’re always interested in having more community groups apply to co-host an inreach or outreach clinic.”

In addition to treating physical ailments, massage can deliver a sense of well-being. “There’s just that feeling of caring and then you are able to care more and reach out in other ways to other people,” said MacKay. “It really does help increase my mobility and decrease my pain.”

The seniors inreach clinic is taking place on May 13 and 27, and June 10 at 781 Baker St. To book or find out more, call 250-352-9952.

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