Our Person of the Month for this issue of JMS is Kate Simmons, LMT, CMTPT. Kate is the current President of the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists (NAMTPT) and a very skillful therapist.
Under her leadership NAMTPT will conduct its 34th Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, PA on November 3-5. We highly recommend our readers consider participation in this conference which features exciting professional and social programs. Here is our interview with
PRESIDENT OF NAMTPT
Kate Simmons, LMT, CMTPT
JMS: What massage therapy school did you attended and how did you get interested in myofascial trigger point therapy?
K. Simmons: I began my study of massage therapy in 1988 at the Central Ohio School of Massage. I was starting a new career path after having to quit my major of modern dance at Ohio State University due to a severe ankle injury that didn’t heal well. I was extremely lucky to be attending COSM. The teachers were top-notch and demanding, which resulted in superior training for us students. They prepared us well for the Ohio state licensure exam, which was extremely difficult.
One of my teachers for advanced massage therapy was Earle Timberlake, LMT. He was a superb teacher who had developed a very good basic training program similar to what Bonnie Prudden offered at her school for myotherapy. This was a brief but solid foundation to begin my adventure in learning about myofascial pain and dysfunction. An added benefit was that, through therapy in class and self-treatment, I was able to finally heal my injured ankle! Aside from simply being free from pain, this also enabled me to return to dancing as a hobby.
After I moved to San Francisco in 1990, I worked for several chiropractors and physicians as I gradually began private practice. I kept studying my copies of Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction; the Trigger Point Manual every day – there was so much to learn! But the effort always proved worthy. Very often, I could “solve” a difficult case for a patient who hadn’t been able to get relief before.
When I met my friend and future business partner Mary St. John Larson in 1991, she became my mentor as well for learning trigger point therapy. We opened Myofascial Pain Treatment Center in San Francisco, which we co-owned and operated successfully from 19922003. I took a break from my practice when my son was young and resumed it again in 2008. I have never stopped learning more about myofascial pain and dysfunction. I enjoy helping patients regain their lives, as well as their autonomy through use of self-care. The knowledge has been a profound gift to humanity from Dr. J.G. Travell and Dr. D.G. Simons!
JMS: How many years have you been a member of the NAMTPT?
K. Simmons: I began my membership in 1991 after meeting Mary St. John Larson and learning about the organization’s mission and benefits. Finally – an organization devoted to furthering this wonderful knowledge! It inspired me to polish my knowledge enough to be able to sit for the certification exam in 1992 – I passed! Since then, I have tried to help support the association as I am able to. It is a great honor to be serving as the president of the NAMTPT this year! I hope to strengthen and support the membership well.
JMS: Please tell our readers about the 2018 Annual NAMTPT Conference in Pittsburgh.
K.Simmons: This year’s conference highlights cutting-edge research and techniques to treat some of the most complicated and common areas of myofascial pain and dysfunction, including the lower back and cervico-thoracic regions. This will include both trigger point components as well as an in-depth study of fascial involvement and treatment with our keynote speaker David Lesondak (author of Fascia: What It Is and Why It Matters). We will learn about the neurochemistry of emotion and behavioral syndromes, myofascial trigger point and fascial components of chronic pain, and a special presentation on multidisciplinary care for oncology patients’ pain. Registrants will enjoy hot buffet lunches and a plated dinner at the Saturday evening gala, as well as 20 NCBTMB approved CEUs. Our 2018 conference is truly an important event to attend. Here is link for registration: https://www.myofascialtherapy.org/conference/registration.html
JMS: What is your opinion on clinically oriented continuing education for massage therapists and is it offered in your home state of California?
K. Simmons: One of the strangest and sometimes dangerous things that have happened to continuing education with the advent of the internet is the switch for practitioners from hands-on continuing education from trusted clinical professionals in the field, to getting their CEUs from online courses with no hands-on component. I believe this is a disturbing trend which, although undoubtedly has a financial component, will almost always result in inferior quality for continuing education to improve our skills and practice. My hope is that we are always going to be able to offer superior hands-on classes to our members – our by-laws require it as part of our mission statement at NAMTPT. But it does require participation from members to have enough participants to make it affordable for all! I am confident that there will always be enough high-quality clinical therapists willing and able to share their knowledge with those who truly want to provide the best care possible to their patients. There is, unequivocally, no substitute for hands-on training for massage therapists, or for anyone providing manual therapy, almost by definition. We have all heard from patients talking about another therapist’s skills and whether they had “good hands,” meaning the manual sensory perception, receptivity and feedback from the patient’s tissue. If a therapist doesn’t know, sensorily, what a release actually feels like, or how to achieve it through a sensory technique, what have they (or haven’t they) learned? How can that possibly serve them or those in their practices? It is actually setting them up for failure. Manual massage therapists NEED hands-on training, both to serve well and to succeed.
JMS: We have been told that you have an interesting new hobby of beekeeping. How did you get interested in that and for what reason do you feel it is significant to maintain a healthy honey bee population?
K.Simmons: I have watched, admired and wanted bees ever since I was a child helping my parents in our home gardens. My father was an avid gardener and naturalist, and his appreciation for the natural world was imprinted upon me at a very early age. He helped me to understand the important and complex interdependence of soil, insects, plants and animals, including the pollinators such as bees. I have enjoyed having gardens and gardening with children and adults all of my life, but never felt that I had the time and space to actually become a beekeeper until several years ago. Keeping bees healthy and strong is a critical need for our agriculture to be sustainable. It is estimated that one out of every three bites of food we eat comes from a food that was pollinated by bees! The European honeybee has had many deadly challenges to them that they are still struggling with, and I hope to help our local populations thrive as I learn more about them.
Since last fall, I have taken classes, read everything I could get my hands on, joined the San Francisco Beekeeper’s Association, purchased my equipment and this past May 2018, purchased my first box-order of bees to fill my hive. I have been incredibly fortunate that the queen bee has been very strong and she produced a very strong colony that has grown to about 50,000 bees as of September 2018! I am not sure whether I will harvest much honey this first winter, because I am still learning the ways and means of the colony, and I am not sure how much honey (which is their bee-food for the winter) they will need for themselves. They are absolutely mesmerizing to watch and care for. They aren’t as dangerous or aggressive as most people think they are. I do hope that I continue to get better at taking good care of them, as time goes on.
Category: Person of the Month
Tags: 2018 Issue #3