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Case study leads to treatment breakthrough

Massage therapy student’s success paved way for her PhD acceptance

Laurie Fisher

After graduating from Mount Royal University’s massage therapy program, Laurie Fisher has returned as an instructor.

Laurie Fisher doesn’t take no for an answer. When a 73-year-old woman presented with a condition that is currently treated surgically, Laurie tackled the problem in her Massage Therapy case-study course at Mount Royal University.

Laurie’s tenacity and resulting success has led to her acceptance into a PhD program for clinical research in massage therapy at the University of Southern California, building on her master’s degree in kinesiology.

“We had huge success with the stretching and massage-therapy interventions. It’s an incredible feeling,” Laurie says of the results of the treatment she devised for Dupuytren’s contracture. The condition results in people’s fingers contracting into their palms, leaving them unable to extend their fingers. “When I first met this lady, she couldn’t take a pot of boiling water from the stove to the sink. She couldn’t brush her hair properly. She couldn’t pull plugs out of the wall. Now we are restoring function for people. We are giving them their life back.”

That initial success has been replicated under case-study protocols. Now teaching that same case-study course at MRU, Laurie encourages her students to create their own success.

“It’s about thinking outside the box, about not accepting what is considered achievable. And never stop asking questions.”

 

"When I first met this lady, she couldn’t take a pot of boiling water from the stove to the sink. . . . Now we are restoring function for people. We are giving them their life back."

— Laurie Fisher

 

That philosophy is partially driven by her own experiences. When a vocal cord injury in 2014 severely affected her ability as a professional coach, Laurie researched careers that would fit with her background in kinesiology.

“It’s often forgotten when people think about getting into alternative care that this is an allied health profession,” Laurie stresses. “We have a lot of grads going into chiropractic and medical offices.”

The opportunities for registered massage therapists will only grow as the profession gains greater recognition, she predicts.

“We don’t just move skin. I am affecting the muscle at the bone. I work daily with physiotherapists, sport physicians and orthopedic surgeons at WinSport where I work with Olympians and weekend warriors. If you want to be in health care, this is another way of getting there. Knowing that everybody on the table is getting benefit from the treatment we are providing is really rewarding.”

For more information on Massage Therapy at MRU, visit mru.ca/MassageTherapy.

Nov. 16, 2017 — Ruth Myles

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