What Makes Cath Unique
She’s NOT your Typical Swedish Massage Therapist
From Medical Technologist to Medical Massage
Cath did not intentionally set out to become a non Swedish massage therapist. College years prepared her for a career as a medical technologist; her occupation for seven years after receiving her Bachelors of Science degree from Iowa State University (1985).
Cath was in the midst of a career change to computer science when she developed a constant, subtly irritating leg pain. Over the course of 18 months, she pursued relief from conventional medical treatments including trips to orthopedics and physical therapists for x-rays, an MRI, nerve conduction studies, stretches, tens unit applications, and ultrasound therapy. After thorough testing to rule out endometriosis in the hip joint, it was suggested she try alternative therapy.
“What should I try?” Cath asked her doctor.
“I don’t know,” her doctor replied.
Barnes & Noble’s Alternative Medicine and Natural Healing section is where Cath began her
own research into non-traditional therapies, finally purchasing a book on energy medicine. Her
life science education did not make this book an easy read. What she did glean from the book
was that the author had become a massage therapist in order to help her clients.
Cath Meets the Massage Therapy World
With the desire to get relief from her leg discomfort, Cath decided to become a massage therapist
so she could solve her own problem. Within three weeks she was enrolled in an 18-month
program at a local, state-accredited school. While never having received a massage, Cath was
confident her biology background would allow her to breeze through her new professional
After Cath’s first evening class, it was clear she had no idea what she was getting into! While
having had plenty of anatomy and physiology classes, plus chemistry and microbiology labs at
Iowa State, in addition to her experience as a medical technologist, Cath was unnerved to find
she was not prepared to apply information from a textbook to a real body.
A Unique View of Massage Therapy
Once she discovered that she was clueless about her new career, Cath’s inner scientist began to
enjoy the training. While her classmates were improving their Swedish massage skills for
relaxing clients with fancy shmancy moves, Cath was poking and prodding muscles to see if she
could find the source of her fellow student’s pain complaint. She realized she was applying the
cause-and- effect of her medical technology education to her massage therapy training. This was
the first clue that Cath’s approach to massage therapy would be unique.
The business strategy taught in the massage curriculum was scheduling clients to return every
two weeks. While she understood this business practice, for Cath, a client returning every two
weeks to maintain a reduced level of pain would indicate she failed the client. The goal for her
massage practice would be to get the client better so they would not need to come back. This was
the second clue that Cath’s approach to massage therapy would be unique.
Quickly Assessing Pain Complaints
She began her massage career at a Raleigh-Durham airport spa and discovered that was the best
way to immerse her developing massage skills. Passengers had very little time before their
flights, requiring she quickly learn to assess pain complaints and determine the most effective
muscles to focus on for quick pain relief. She treated passengers with shoulder pain from
carrying luggage, foot pain from non-supportive shoes, and tension headaches from the stress of
living hectic lifestyles.
Another perk Cath found from being employed at the airport spa was spending her breaks with
the shoeshine guys. She became fascinated with the 5-8 minute turn-around time and the steady
stream of light-hearted conversation the shoe shiners had with their customers. Cath noticed
how happy their customers were as they walked away; they had a spring in their step and were
pleased to have their shoes shining like new again.
Cath began envisioning a non Swedish massage practice similar to the shoeshine business. She needed a
comprehensive technique that would quickly restore clients to a pain-free life so they could walk
away from her sessions, happy to have their bodies feeling like new again. This was her third
and final clue that her approach to massage therapy would be unique.
Medical Massage Therapist
Thus began Cath’s departure from Swedish massage. She focused on learning techniques that
achieved quick nerve and muscle pain relief. This specialized training included shifting focus
from the location of the muscle pain to the nerve innervating the area of complaint.
From RDU Airport to Duke Integrative Medicine
Duke Integrative Medicine is where Cath began incorporating her new skill set. She was part of
a team of medical professionals trained in the whole-person care model, seeing each patient as an
individual rather than a labeled illness.
For more than four years, Cath worked closely with referring doctors, acupuncturists, physical
therapists, personal trainers and the integrative nutritionist at Duke Integrative Medicine while at
the same time maintaining a massage practice in Cary, North Carolina. She designed customized
treatments to reset the nerves in order to meet the concerns of clients with conditions such as
plantar fasciitis, back pain, knee pain, post-op pain, migraines, chemo fatigue, frozen shoulder
syndrome, and neuropathy.
Extra Ordinary Results for Extraordinary People
Cath’s specialty training and years of experience has carved a niche in the market of gaining
quick and lasting results for clients looking for a fast path to improved health. She has expanded
her on-site, medical massage practice to include treatments for clients in several states.