- ian selig
Nathan Ells had just finished his kinesiology degree when he needed to decide what his next step should be. He was tossing around physiotherapy, occupational therapy, personal training...his list went on. He was intrigued by massage therapy, enough that he'd considered it even before he had gone off to university.
Now it was still stuck in his head.
He was fascinated by the body, fitness, health, and he had always loved working in hands-on environments. Massage therapy checked all of those boxes for him, and so he went for it.
When Ells started looking into massage therapy programs, he came across ICT Northumberland College. A high school friend of his was currently enrolled at ICT, and filled in the blanks for Ells. He was sold, and decided to start his massage therapy journey with ICT.
Ells found all of the material fascinating. He learned a wide range, from the big science-based courses like anatomy and pathophysiology, to clinical assessment and treatment skills, to learning how to explain conditions, injuries and dysfunctions to patients.
"A lot of people will tell you how hard this course is, but don't be scared off. I think the reason they say this is because of how well-rounded you must be to be a successful student and massage therapist," says Ells.
The electives allowed Ells to begin tailoring his treatment style to better serve his target population. Everything he learned at ICT came together to help him actually apply his knowledge to the practice. Especially with the professional side of the program, which has shorter courses focused on building a massage therapy business. Finally, the Teaching Clinic allows students to bring their skills to the public in a controlled setting, focused on enhancing their treatment.
"This program will give you as much in return as you are willing to pour into it. There is a considerable amount of opportunity in Nova Scotia with our aging population," says Ells. "I feel confident that students from ICT are very well equipped to enter a field that constantly demands new, innovative, knowledgeable healers."
Ells' instructors were patient, knowledge and passionate about massage therapy. Most of them had been ICT students previously, so they knew the program, the challenges and the industry. This was a large reason why Ells was so happy with his choice in ICT.
The program was a wonderful, challenging mix of both physical and mental demands for Ells.
"I think it's really important to invest in yourself and your career from the start. Take care of the physical by protecting your body, and take care of the mental by focusing on time management," he says about taking time to learn what works best for you.
For Ells, there is no greater feeling than seeing his patient leave the treatment space walking taller, feeling better, and taking on the challenges in their life.
"If you think massage therapy is for you, then attack the program and push yourself. The growth and rewards that come from the challenges you'll meet will be well worth it."