Spread The Word
In support of the some of the hard-working massage therapists Oregon School of Massage (OSM) would like to give attention to those events where the health benefits of massage are being made visible. Previous blogs and/or Facebook posts have included massage being done at fairs, farmers’ markets and the Blues Festival.
Now, The Inside Story On
You may have noticed some earlier Facebook posts on this…here is an article prepared by Dana HIghfill, LMT, who participated on the 2013 Massage Team of Cycle Oregon. Dana provides some great detail about the experience embellished with photos she and other team members provided, some of which show the scenic variety of Eastern Oregon.
Thank you Dana!
The Inside Story
With Cycle Oregon Massage Team
(and a week long trek through Eastern Oregon)
by Dana Highfill, LMT
As a massage therapist, I have never worked as hard and for as many hours as I did during Cycle Oregon 2013. The Massage Team is composed of 20 massage therapists and 2 front desk coordinators. We worked long and hard hours. We opened the tent to clients at 12pm on most days (with the exception of an 8am opening on Day 4) and worked until 11pm each night. In addition to the back-to-back hours of massage each evening we broke down our “office” and prepared to go to the next town.
During the week of September 8th through the 14th, we were responsible for our own food and lodging, driving to the next town, setting up the massage tent and working as much as we could handle. Some LMTs choose to stay in hotels, some slept in their vehicles, some camped and some did a combination of these. There were so many interesting specific details about the production, but I have found people asking me: Why did you do it? What were your expectations? Would you do it again? What kind of bodywork did you do for the cyclists?
I chose to do Cycle Oregon based on a friends’ recommendation. It was an edge far out of my comfort zone for me to go on this trip. Could I do what was expected of me? Would I be miserable? I’m grateful and proud of myself that I rose to the challenge and had fun! It has been good for my sense of self as a massage therapist and it has been good for my business. I made great connections with other therapists as well as with clients. Eastern Oregon is part of the state I haven’t spent much time in; it was awe-inspiring to drive through and experience the small towns, sun rises, hot days and frigid nights.
As far as numbers go, there were 2,200 cyclists and as a team I estimate that we did about 700 hours of massage. I did 40 of those 700 hours with 9 repeat clients. We scheduled ½ hour, hour and 90 minute sessions. A couple of cyclists scheduled back to back hour sessions with different therapists, moving from one LMT’s table to the next.
The clients were one of the best parts of the trip. It was entertaining to meet so many diverse and engaging people. For the most part the cyclists I encountered had a love of life and a sense of adventure that brought them to cycle for 7 days though the desert. Some of the riders were father daughter teams, some were co-workers, some were long time friends, some were newly single or newly married. It was a pleasure to meet them all.
Just as in my private practice each person who comes to the table has different needs. I was able to give each person the bodywork that would help them feel their best and have a successful ride. Some had knee replacements or hip replacements, some had taken a fall, some were in top shape and just wanted to give their legs some attention, some were not prepared and felt like their legs were on fire. One of my clients stated on Day 6 that this was the first year she had been injury free for the entire ride and she attributed that to receiving massage therapy during the event. Most were extremely grateful for the work we offered.
I attribute my success at the event to 3 main sources. First and foremost, like my friend Jen Hill says, most of the work is in being prepared. Prepared to stay hydrated, to eat enough, to rest when you can and to have all the supplies to make living and working out of your car for a week seamless. The second reason for my success was the ability to adapt and use new techniques to fit the situation. And third was about asking for help when I needed it. As the only rookie LMT, I was thrown in the fire and there were some areas where I needed help. The Cycle Oregon Massage Team is a tight bunch who work hard to work well together. We communicate and support each other. When I was tired, dehydrated and famished on Day 3 they gave me a hug, electrolytes, food and asked me what I needed. With all the challenges and hard work, yes, I will do it again.
Dana Highfill, LMT, practices in Portland, OR. You can read more about her at www.danahighfill.com
You can find out more about cycle Oregon at: http://cycleoregon.com
If you are doing massage in some event like this send a notice to firstname.lastname@example.org. OSM may able to give it some cyberspace attention.