For many massage therapists, the ability to formulate their own style of massage is based on the ability to learn multiple disciplines. Personally, I have drawn on the teachings from Shiatsu, Tui Na (acupressure), Sports MET, Lomilomi, and Kiate. I was blessed to study under instructors who were very proficient in their fields. Although I learned unique techniques from each instructor, there was only one person who tied it all together for me. I met this person during my employment at Na Ho’ola Spa. He studied Shiatsu under a well-known Sensei at the Aisen Shiatsu School. He helped me to piece all the knowledge I had obtained into my own personal style of massage.
The manner in which he assisted my growth in massage was not the teacher/student relationship, but rather in acting as my mentor. The difference between the two is that one seems more authoritative than the other. The advice that he gave me was never commanding; it was guidance to discovering the answers on my own. For example, we were discussing the treatment for a client that had IT Band issues and he did not tell me exactly which pressure points and which meridian (energy channel) to work on. His only comment was to think about the system in a mechanical way. I was able to use a combination of Sports Met, Lomilomi, and Shiatsu to solve the problem by using different body positions and manual contacts to address the IT Band issue.
As a mentor, he not only guided my thought processes in treating clients, but he also gave me direction on how to better my techniques through book study as well as hands on training. I was always forced to come up with different ways to treat the same problem.
The big difference between mentor and teacher is the friendship factor. A teacher says something, you do it. A mentor leads you to solutions. My mentor was a great friend that I unfortunately lost in 2012 to heart disease. Many of the lessons and case studies that we went over will never be forgotten. Here at Oahu Spine & Rehab, our massage therapists are learning new techniques and using them on patients all the time. If you are suffering from pain, call us today at 488-5555 to make an appointment.