Our Person of the Month for this issue of JMS is Luis Carreras, LMT from Alabama. We met Luis during one of SOMI’s Medical Massage seminars and it was obvious that he was very well educated in the theory and clinical applications of Medical Massage. Luis has a very interesting life story to share and his background explains how he got his current professional expertise.
Luis is also a committed teacher who shares his deep knowledge in Medical Massage and other types of bodywork with new therapists.
Dr. Ross Turchaninov, Editor in Chief
Here is our interview with:
MEDICAL MASSAGE THERAPIST AND EDUCATOR
JMS: How did you get into massage therapy?
Luis Carreras: My professional career started in Cuba where massage therapy was always considered as an especially important part of the medicine and also a structural component of the sports training. These concepts were similar to other Eastern European countries from the Soviet Union block where massage therapy was developed by the medical community based on scientific and clinical data.
In Cuba massage therapy can be practiced only with a bachelor’s degree in health or in physical fitness. My parents both had bachelor’s degrees in physical fitness and since I was also an athlete, they used massage therapy on me. The clinical potential of Massage Therapy sparked my interest in bodywork and I graduated in 6 years to the Physical Fitness bachelor program from University in the name of Lenin in Las Tunas, Cuba in 1999.
I left Cuba in 2005 and moved to Mexico where I treated weightlifting athletes from a national team who suffered from Lumbago and Lumbalgia with Medical Massage protocols. As a result of my successful treatments I became the first sport massage therapist hired by the state of Coahuila.
In 2006 I moved to the USA and since my credentials from Cuba were accepted by the Georgia Massage Therapy Board in 2008, I started my practice here. From the very beginning of my professional career in the USA I found to my complete surprise that Medical Massage which I learned and successfully practiced for years had very limited exposure. Everything I read was mostly personal opinions which weren’t based on scientific and clinical data as I expected it to be.
I was very excited to find Medical Massage textbooks published by the Science Of Massage Institute because they offered similar but in more clinical depth as information as my textbooks in Cuba. Finally I felt that I am not alone and other therapists in the USA also practice Medical Massage based on science and I wasn’t the only one who integrates Medical Massage therapy into the health care system as a part of integrative therapy!
JMS: You operate your own clinic. Please describe to our readers your business model. What part of your practice is devoted to Medical Massage?
Luis Carreras: I started my medical massage clinic with one patient because I was very selective since I only worked on the patients who had medical diagnosis already established by a physician. That how I was trained in Cuba to deal with patients using Medical Massage as clinical tool. Also I was the only one who offered Russian Sports massage for athletes and that is a significantly different way of practicing Sports Massage as well. This combination was completely new to the area I worked and very soon my practice was noticed by MDs, DCs, PTs, coaches, etc. Right now I work 6 days per week. I run two separate clinics and we are very busy. If I split my patients/clients I do approximately 70% of Medical Massage cases and 30% of prevention work.
In Alabama we don’t have a major professional sport team – only the Jaguars college football team from South Alabama University. So, generally speaking, the professional sport culture in Alabama is very low. I concentrate my clinics on sports enthusiasts doing Sports Massage as a preventive measure and address any sports injury with Medical Massage protocols. I also developed great professional relations with local chiropractors with 100% acceptance of what I am doing for their patients.
JMS: What is your opinion of Medical Massage and what type of clinical cases are you specializing in?
Luis Carreras: As I mentioned above my specialty is Somatic Rehabilitation using Medical and Sports Massage. I considered two authors as the most influential in my clinical work, the late Dr. L Chaitow and Dr. Ross Turchaninov. Their teaching and publications greatly improved treatment outcomes for patients since I am a strong believer in integration of soft tissue manipulation and medical science. I see a great variety of patients in my clinics. I work with very complex patients with Lumbalgia, Scoliosis, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Osteoarthritis etc. using Medical Massage protocols with great clinical success.
JMS: We know you are a very successful educator and you share your knowledge and professional expertise with future therapists at Blue Cliff Career College. Please tell our readers about the educational aspect of your career.
Luis Carreras: My career as a massage instructor started in Cuba. After I graduated my bachelor program in 1999 I was selected to teach Sport Massage and swimming coaching. At the same time I worked as the strength and swimming coach in the Olympic swimming center in Las Tunas, Cuba. I was always very excited to work with students because I am very passionate about our wonderful profession and would like to share with future therapists the wisdom of my teachers and my own clinical expertise. That drew me to start teaching for Blue Cliff Academy massage therapy school. I teach day and evening classes on Medical Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy, Sports Massage, Shiatsu, Swedish Massage and Self Care.
JMS: There are recent changes in Alabama regarding clinical application of Massage Therapy. Please share with our readers the details of this exciting new development.
Luis Carreras: In April 28 2020 Dr. Scott Harris MD, Alabama State Health Care Officer authorized medically prescribed services for massage therapists to practice and help patients. It is so great to witness that the state of Alabama officially recognized massage as an effective treatment method to help patients with variety of medical conditions.
JMS: What is your favorite type of body work?
Luis Carreras: I greatly enjoy the clinical effectiveness of Medical Massage, especially Segment Reflex Massage and Neuromuscular Therapy which are main structural components of Medical Massage protocols
JMS: What advice can you give to our readers?
Luis Carreras: Please study every day! Every day I personally witness how much Medical Massage offers to the patients and to me as a therapist, but we all need to elevate ourselves to the same level as the rest of medical professionals and do it through scientific and clinical data.
Category: Person of the Month
Tags: 2020 Issue #2