Our Person of the Month for this JMS issue is Gerry Ivanov, LMT from Geneva, Switzerland. JMS readers chose his submission for JMS‘s 2020 International Best of The Month Contest as a Winner. Gerry perfected the integrative approach to his patients’ somatic rehabilitation which was noticed and appreciated by our readers.

          JMS‘ Editorial Board greatly appreciated the value of the clinical cases submitted by SOMI’s former and current students Carolyn Anderson, CMMP, LMT, and Brenda Holmes, LMT. 



Gergan Ivanov Dzhondzhorov (Gerry Ivanov), LMT

JMS: We congratulate you on winning 2020 JMS‘s Case of the Month Contest!

G. Ivanov: Thank you! I enjoyed the two other clinical cases submitted by Brenda and Carolyn. I value that JMS is able to unite therapists from different parts of the world and that we can exchange information and clinical experiences. 

JMS: How did you get into massage therapy?

G. Ivanov: When I was 16 years old, I trained in Sambo, and our coaches always showed us the benefits of stretching soft tissues and techniques to stabilize our joints. They also taught us some self-massage techniques. However, my first real encounter with the Medical Massage happened much later during my study at the National Sports Academy “Vasil Levski,” in Sofia, Bulgaria.

         At the beginning of my studies, I concentrated on Kinesiology and Sports Medicine, and manual techniques are essential components in both modalities. Once I realized that there was more behind these concepts and that I could heal very complex injuries through the use of my hands, I started to further my learning. I immediately signed up for different courses and lectures. My main desire was to learn more while I dug deeper into the science of Medical Massage and Manual Therapies. 

         At that time, the textbook Manual Therapy by Dr. Karel Lewit was our holy bible. I remember the time when one of my classmates found an old copy of the book in Russian. We had split the thick textbook into several parts and read it, exchanging them. We were trying to learn as much as we could, to better prepare for our final exams. Even now, I frequently refer to Dr. Lewit’s textbook for necessary references and guidance in complex clinical cases. 

JMS: What is your opinion about the clinical effectiveness of Medical Massage? 

G. Ivanov: I can summarize my opinion in one word – excellent. Having tons of sport-related injuries, I have learned the clinical value of MM the hard way. Mastering Medical Massage made me capable of dealing with a vast variety of complex traumas and injuries. Since I started practicing Medical Massage and observing its clinical effectiveness first-hand, I never doubt its efficacy.

JMS: What is your business model, and what is the place of Medical Massage in Switzerland’s healthcare system? 

G. Ivanov: I have a medical office in Central Geneva, Switzerland, where I practice MM five days a week alongside other clinical modalities. I am a member of the leading Swiss organizations of Alternative and Complementary medicine, and I work with a network of colleagues, practicing massage, acupuncture, and physiotherapy. Unfortunately, as we (from Eastern Europe) know it; Medical Massage does not integrate well into the Swiss healthcare system.

JMS: We know that you practice integrative rehabilitation with your patients. What other modalities did you combine with Medical Massage to achieve stable clinical results? 

G. Ivanov: Alongside medical massage and Postisometric Muscular Relaxation (by Dr. Kraev), I practice Orthopedic Acupuncture (I learned it from various experts), Manipulative Therapy (by Prof. Karl Lewit), Chiropractic (by Dr. Paul Ackermann), Cupping and Gua Sha, and a few modalities based on new principles in Physics: Low-Level Laser Therapy (R&J), Radial Shockwave (BTL), Super Inductive System (BTL), as well as some homeopathic medications, developed by the French Institute of Micro-immunotherapy. Currently, I continue my training with them.

JMS: What are your favorite bodywork modalities? 

G. Ivanov: One of my old professors in Bulgaria once drew a circle on the whiteboard and divided it into two equal parts. The first part, he said, was Medical Massage. It represented 50% of complete bodywork knowledge, and the second part of the circle belonged to what we could add to it: acupuncture, acupressure, osteopathy, chiropractic, reflexology, etc. He called it the “Integrative Approach” to medicine. I have never forgotten his words.

JMS: What advice would you give to our readers? 

G. Ivanov: Never stop learning! However, be careful on this quest. Do not get enslaved by someone’s partial views or even direct mistakes. Learn what you are interested in but always take it with a grain of doubt until you check its clinical effectiveness in your practice first. Always remember that the best teacher is your own clinical experience!

Category: Person of the Month