A Message From Kyle C. Wright:
Background of His
Medical Massage Therapy Schools
Over the last 25 years I, Kyle C. Wright, have had the privilege being a part of one of the fastest growing professions in healthcare: massage therapy. In 1991 I started my first clinical massage therapy school which eventually evolved into five schools throughout the Southeast (Charlotte, NC; Greenville, Charleston, and Columbia, SC; and Jacksonville, FL). The well-planned curriculum enabled students to graduate with skills making them employable and able to meet the demand for clinically trained massage therapists. When I started my first class with six quality and dedicated students, I never imagined witnessing more than 12,000 students graduate with the same level of determination I had when I graduated from massage therapy school.
In the years since starting that first school, I have had the good fortune and freedom to experiment with new and innovated approaches to soft-tissue therapy. It is not always easy — and often risky — to be an early adapter of new ideas and techniques. This is especially true when the ideas go against the common understandings and practices of the day.
At the time, these practices included much of what I had been previously taught by leaders in the field. Yet, the techniques my schools have been teaching for nearly thirty years are steadily working their way into acceptance by mainstream massage educators and practitioners. I firmly believe that my original Southeastern Schools, and now the Schools of Advanced Bodywork, have bridged the best of traditional massage and bodywork with cutting edge clinical & medical therapy techniques and practices.
I want to acknowledge and thank David Scott Lynn (DSL Edgework: Yoga-Bodywork Therapeutics) for developing chapters 3 thru 5 and for collaborating with me in the writing, research and development of this text, as well as teaching me his philosophy and sharing his highly effective psycho-muscular balancing techniques. In the mid-1990s, David taught me how to reach deeper levels into the body without producing pain in the client. After incorporating his yoga and bodywork techniques in my practice and schools, I can say without reservation that his theories on muscular compensatory adaptation allowed me to take my bodywork to the next level.
My original book, Clinical Massage Therapy and Structural Bodywork, is a compilation reflecting my 25 years of combined education, practice and instruction in the field of clinical massage therapy. I came to write the original book, with five printings, to assist our student’s educational development in learning and understanding a higher level approach to massage and bodywork therapy. It is a product of beliefs I share with so many others. One such belief is that students are entitled to superior education and individualized training so they may uphold, or excel beyond, the professional standards that they continually pursue.
With the New & Improved format and information, Structural Balancing: A Clinical Approach (published in 2010 by McGraw-Hill), the new textbook is forward thinking and expresses our philosophy and interpretations of the neuromuscular and skeletal systems and their relation to the body’s structure and function. The text and graphics in this book are sequenced so that the fundamentals are set as a basis upon which more advanced techniques will be built. Rather than attempt to encompass a wide-range of massage techniques, the book focuses more deeply on certain aspects such as Clinical / Medical Massage Therapy and Myo-Structural Bodywork and less on others.
What We Do, Exactly
In my career of 25 years in massage therapy I built a strong following and reputation for being a goal and result oriented bodyworker, working on people that suffered from musculoskeletal pain.
My approach to bodywork has been to address and eliminate postural distortions caused by muscular imbalances. From my many years of experience, I see that many of the painful afflictions people suffer from are caused by the gravitational force being applied to their body (pulling down, compressing) and the way their body painfully and chronically oppose it; and on top of that, most people are not even aware of it until it’s to late.
The Result? — PAIN!
Many people that experience chronic pain are opposing gravity inefficiently (meaning, their bodyweight has shifted off the bones & joints and primarily onto their muscles). This body shifting or altering (compensation) often is the cause of chronic soft tissue pain, the constant barrage of trigger point formation, the facilitated referrals of pain, deviations (unevenness) in leg lengths (usually high or low hips), distortions in the pelvis and spine (misalignments), depressed or elevated shoulder girdles, as well as causing a collapsed (stooped or slouched) upper body and forward head positioning.
My objective in sharing this approach is for students to start focusing on muscles that are overly “locked” short from chronic excess muscle & nerve tension & stress (or C.E.M.&.N.T., a term coined by David Scott Lynn) and the muscular imbalances linking poor posture, musculoskeletal pain and restriction of body movements.
The goal of our texts is to prepare the student, so when they have a person on their table with complaints of muscle pain and/ or restriction they will have a much clearer picture and a deeper level of understanding as to what is below the skin surface, what their working on and what muscles could be causing it.
The premise of this bodywork is to create symmetry among muscle groups by applying effective and consciously (mindfully) applied massage therapy techniques and stretches to the shortened muscles (not necessarily the painful ones.) This can be achieved by learning and practicing “deep-tissue” work (the non-painful kind we teach), yet isolating the cause of the problem rather just massaging the area of complaint.
While going through the material in the textbook, we strongly encourage the use of repetition while learning hand placements and routines. Repetition is extremely beneficial for students; as lessons are repeated, they become imprinted into memory. During classroom “trades,” students build confidence with each practice session. We also encourage students to give continuous feedback during trades between the giver and receiver, whether it is in the form of praise, constructive criticism or both. Feedback further allows for academic and spiritual growth while perfecting hands-on delivery skills.
I encourage students to explore the art and science of clinical massage therapy and structural bodywork and everything it has to offer, as well as expand their study and practice of massage therapy in general. The focus should not be on so-called “alternative” methods, but on adjunctive methods.
Continuing Education Courses
Lastly, because my school’s curriculums and continuing education courses have focused on a particular approach to clinical therapy and bodywork for nearly thirty five years, we hope to contribute — by way of this and future books, and online and live training programs — to advancing the quality of education in the entire field of massage therapy and bodywork.
Additionally, we recognize that massage therapy can be extremely effective either by itself or as an adjunct to other interventions, such as flexibility, cardiovascular & strength training exercises, chiropractic, and acupuncture, as well as emotional & spiritual healing.
It is with great pleasure that I share my massage and bodywork experience, knowledge and practical skills that have grown from being in the educational arena and in full-time practice for well over three decades. I commend both instructors and students for choosing this course of study and profession. I sincerely hope that together we may continue to enlighten the world about the value of massage therapy and how it fits into our healthcare system and into the future.
Thank You & Take Care,
Kyle C. Wright, LMBT, NCTMB