JMS readers voted and chose the clinical case submitted by our current student, Ben Keys, LMT, as a Winner of 2022 JMS’s International Case of the Month Contest.
Last year we had three equally exceptional contributions to the Case of the Month Section of JMS:
MEDICAL MASSAGE vs MIXED SOMATIC SYNDROMES
by Ricard Abisia, LMT, CMMP
MEDICAL MASSAGE VS ACUTE ‘TENNIS ELBOW’
by Ben Keyes, LMT
MEDICAL MASSAGE VS CHRONIC MIDDLE BACK PAIN WITH INTERCOSTAL NERVE NEURALGIA
by Jennifer Chason, MS, LMBT, CMMP
We greatly appreciate the clinical cases our current and former students sent in. Most importantly, we would like to express our great professional respect for these therapists who work tirelessly to obtain the knowledge and expertise needed to help their patients with various somatic syndromes.
Here is our interview with Ben Keyes, LMT
WINNER OF 2022 JMS’s Case of the Month Contest
Ben Keyes, LMT
JMS: Our congratulations on becoming the Winner!
B. Keyes: Thank you very much, and thank you to everyone who read my and my colleagues’ clinical cases!
JMS: How did you get into massage therapy?
B. Keyes: My path into massage therapy started when I bought a book on massage at a mall. I was curious because it hurt when anyone squeezed my traps. At the time, I was working as a puppeteer, a physical job that caused pain in my forearms, shoulders, neck, and back. I hoped that a book would provide some tips or tricks not to hurt my friends’ and coworkers’ feelings and possibly how to help alleviate my pain.
While reading that book at work during a break, a coworker was reading a book about reflexology. We started talking about how it might be interesting to go to school and learn how to do massage properly. The terminology in the massage book was familiar since I had studied biology at a university. Massage seemed a plausible way to address pain from the repetitive stress injuries I was getting as a puppeteer and from years of competitive volleyball. A few months after the conversation with my coworker about getting formal massage education, we met for lunch and took a tour of a local massage school. Nine months later, we graduated at the top of our class! That was more than two decades ago.
JMS: You’ve built a very successful practice. Please tell our readers how you structure it.
B. Keyes: The first twelve years of being a Licensed Massage Therapist in Florida were primarily spent in chiropractic and physical therapy offices working with auto accident patients. I saw different business models and pursued assessment skills and various manual techniques.
When I leaped from being an employee to opening my private practice, which I called Rx Massage Therapy, I felt most comfortable creating a “medical” identity and image for my business.
My strengths were collaborating with other healthcare providers and working with athletes. I slowly developed a system to network with various types of doctors and physical therapy clinics. Since the massage industry is built mainly from word-of-mouth referrals, I wanted my referrals to come from experts with the medical authority and influence.
JMS: What is your opinion of Medical Massage, and how has it helped your practice?
Ben Keyes: Nearly my entire career has been in Medical Massage. I’m definitely more a fan of Medical Massage than what I refer to as “service industry” massage. During the first few months of massage school, I struggled with injuries and various pain-related issues from my job as a puppeteer and as I continued to play competitive volleyball.
I learned a massage therapy approach from an orthopedic assessment book that helped me resolve my misdiagnosed bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). I use the word “misdiagnosed” because a doctor diagnosed me without performing any tests for CTS. Using the orthopedic assessment book, I tested negative for CTS and positive for compression of the Median Nerve from the Pronator Teres muscle. The self-treatment immediately restored sensory deficits, increased strength, and reduced pain at my end range of motion. I was blown away at how simple and effective massage could be if I knew exactly what I needed to do! The assessments told me what the problem was and how to address it. Equally important, they told me what I didn’t need to do. It was at that moment that I decided I would pursue Medical Massage. That book set me on my career path, including where I would work and which seminars I would take.
JMS: What is your opinion of SOMI’s Medical Massage Certification Program and its scientific and clinical validity?
Ben Keyes: I met Dr. Ross Turchaninov at a local Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA) chapter meeting. He presented evaluations of the dermis and superficial fascia (and a few other tissues).
Everything else I had been studying was missing too many pieces of vital information to comprise a complete educational program. I was once again blown away at everything he had compiled in his textbooks. Then I went to the Science of Massage Institute website and couldn’t believe how much information I had immediate access to.
Through SOMI and the one-on-one time with Dr. Ross, I have become much more effective in my clinical evaluation and have been able to help so many people more completely and in fewer sessions than I thought possible.
If I weren’t getting a steady stream of 10 to 20 new patients from physician referrals every month, I would have an open schedule because the SOMI Medical Massage Certification Program has helped me become an almost too-efficient practitioner. The best part is that I still have so much more to learn!
I’ve taken almost every continuing education seminar that claims to be “medical” or can treat specific issues or promise to teach correct evaluation. Only SOMI is the real deal! Plus, the “Good Apples, Bad Apples” insights alone help sort through some of the rampant misinformation spread through the massage industry, lacking evidence of efficacy.
JMS: What is your favorite type of bodywork?
Ben Keyes: I don’t have a favorite type of bodywork to give or receive. I guess “effective bodywork” would be my answer – that covers both the needs of my patients and when I am seeking treatment for myself.
JMS: Any professional advice for therapists who are new to the field?
Ben Keyes: My advice for massage therapists who truly want to help people is, “Do yourself and your future patients a favor; go to www.scienceofmassage.com and start learning right away!”
If you want to follow the medical model for massage therapy, you must learn essential skills before having the ability to build a Medical Massage practice with physician referrals. First is how to do a clinical evaluation. This includes getting an accurate and complete patient history, having a process or system to evaluate the various layers and types of tissues, and using critical thinking to create a treatment plan. You can learn all of these through the excellent SOMI program!
Category: Person of the Month
Tags: 2023 Issue #1