Massage Therapist | Teacher | Writer
Catherine graduated from the Denver School of Massage Therapy in 2005. She has studied over forty modalities of massage and bodywork, has more than eight hundred hours of formal study, has several hundred hours of continuing education, and has tens of thousands of hours of practical, hands-on experience. She has advanced certifications in craniosacral therapy and kinesiology taping. She has been a massage therapy instructor and mentor for many years and has now written an 850-hour certification program. She is licensed in Colorado and Montana.
My name is Catherine, and my background is in Western medicine. Most of my adult career to date has been spent in the local hospital system, where I worked as a CNA and EMT. From the emergency department to inpatient psychiatry, from radiology to inpatient care, from the laboratory to administration, I worked everywhere.
I enrolled in massage school in 2004, graduated in 2005, and immediately began my private practice, which I have continued ever since. From 2005 to 2015, massage was a wonderful side hustle that I very much enjoyed compared to the work I was doing in the hospital. Then in 2015, I separated from the hospital, and went into massage therapy full time.
It took many years, but I became disillusioned with our modern healthcare system. The frightening and very unfortunate truth is that it is not designed to help people become well. And it is definitely not designed to prevent illness. Our modern healthcare system is, in fact, sick-care.
During my last assignment at the hospital, I was working in MRI. In short order, I began to see that the vast majority of the scans we were doing showed nothing. A small number of them showed something completely unrelated to what had brought the patient in.
People in pain, with new or worsening physical problems, were sent back to their doctors. And time and time again, no real solutions were offered. The doctors had no idea what was causing the problem. Doctors would give prescription medications, advise some time off of work, or suggest giving up the activities people loved most.
This stood in such sharp contrast to the work I was doing in my massage practice. It was possible to stop pain and reverse physical dysfunction. It was possible to help people get back to doing the things they needed and wanted to be doing. I saw it happening every week.
Unable to take it anymore, I finally had to leave traditional healthcare all together. I shifted my focus to full-time practice treating pain and injury issues. And it has been a wild success.
As I learned more, I was able to blend that with my medical background to create treatment plans for patients, develop treatment protocols, and give advice to help people continue their rehab efforts at home. My patients started to get better faster and faster.
My medical background leaves me with a very clinical and evidence-based approach to patient care. My experience has also taught me to treat everyone as a whole person, not disconnected systems. And no two people are the same. An intelligent, thoughtful, and tailored plan of care is required for each patient. And that is what I provide each and every time someone visits my office.
I’m looking forward to working with you.
MASSAGE THERAPY INSTRUCTOR AND MENTOR
Catherine has been mentoring new therapists and therapists young in their careers nearly since she began practicing in 2005. Since 2015, she has had the privilege of working with dozens of therapists and seeing them grow in their careers. She began teaching informally in 2016, and formally at a local massage school in 2019. She has taught through a dozen continuing education she wrote and developed, a full-length massage therapy program multiple times, and has now developed and written an 850-hour massage therapy program of her own. The Master Institute School of Massage Therapy is forthcoming.
I’ve been told more than once that the first thing I ever said I wanted to be was a teacher. I’m not sure if that was before or after I wrote my first novel, but I have always enjoyed teaching.
From my first CNA job in healthcare, I have always become involved in the training and mentoring of others. Many times, I have had the privilege of developing some of the curriculum, either in part or in full.
All EMT students must shadow a certain number of hours in the emergency room. Most of my peers found these student shadows to be anchor weights, and so often the students were not permitted to actually do anything. I began offering to work with them, and soon had students nearly ever shift. Personally, I loved it. Sharing knowledge and experience and watching someone try and succeed at something new is truly a wonderful thing.
Massage therapy training is notoriously bad. The programs are either incomplete, lacking important subject matter, or simply poorly taught. I was fortunate to have attended a very good school, as far as massage schools go, but even as a student I remember thinking it could be better.
Fast forward to the time I started attempting to hire a massage therapist in my growing practice. This was the beginning of a truly appalling awareness of what is and is not a part of these so-called training programs.
It was time to go ahead with my long-held dream of opening my own school. I knew this would be a process of many steps, many parts, and many years. I began developing my own content on various topics and teaching the courses. I began to work with more and more therapists in one-on-one and small-group settings for lecture-style, discussion-style, and hands-on lessons and study. I secured a teaching position at a local massage school. And I worked through the process of writing my own curriculum.
The Master Institute School of Massage Therapy is what a massage training program should be. Students will become therapists and be ready to go straight to work upon graduation. Employers will be able to confidently hire these graduates and put them right into the treatment room without having to train them, or retrain them, or constantly be looking over their shoulders. For therapists who wish to go right into private practice, they will have completed more business training than any other massage program I’ve ever seen.
I know what massage therapy can do to positively impact a person’s health, their state of being, and the quality of their life. And that impact is profound.
But I alone cannot continue to bear the burden of providing all of this treatment. It’s not practical, it’s limited, and it has a decided shelf life. Rather, let me now put time and effort into training the next generation of therapists, so that each one of them might go out and provide quality treatment to all of the people they will see over the courses of their careers.
Talk about an impact.
Learn more about The Master Institute School of Massage Therapy
Catherine’s first original novel, The Body Under the Sink, was written when she was in kindergarten and followed a group of three friends who discovered a dead body under the sink of an abandon house. No resolution was ever offered. The novel was eight pages long.
I wrote my first story when I was about ten.
Well, technically I wrote my first story in kindergarten, and it was titled The Body Under the Sink. This was a portent of things to come.
Through much of grade school, I wrote little snippets here and there, short stories, dialogue, anything my overactive brain might have been dreaming up. But at the age of about ten, I finished a novel that had a truly stupid ending. It was bloody awful, and I just couldn’t stand it.
So I rewrote it.
In a spiral-bound notebook, with a pencil, I laboriously picked up the story near the end, about where the author had lost the plot, and wrote a truly magnificent ending. It was the ending the story should have had, the ending raving fans everywhere had been desperate for and then wickedly deprived of.
Well, I thought it magnificent, anyway. I can’t tell you now which novel it was or how it ended. I honestly don’t even remember the characters. But this began something for me, because it gave me a glimpse of what was possible.
By the age of fifteen, I’d written half a dozen novels. None of them were any good, none of them were very long, but it was practice and I loved it. It was also a good deal easier because by this time my grandparents had given me a old laptop they’d replaced. It wasn’t good for much at all except word-processing, but I could type a heck of a lot faster than I could write.
I wrote the first Zoe Grey novel when I was about twenty. I’d been chewing on the character and premise ideas for a while, toyed around with some scenes and dialogue, and started to see how to bring the story together. I took two weeks off my job at the hospital, locked myself in my room, turned off my cell phone, and wrote.
The first draft took two weeks to write, but close to two years to edit. Which is always the way. Haha. The published version is the fourth draft, and not much the same as the first. The characters are mostly the same, and some of the original storyline is there, but it’s amazing what can happen during editing, and how much ends up cut out, changed, or reorganized.
During this time I developed a core group of beta readers. Indeed, these women were the first people who had ever read anything I’d ever written. In all those years I’d been writing, so much of my free time going to this activity, this pursuit that I absolutely love, I’d never told anyone what I was doing, and I’d never, ever let anyone read any of it.
That was harder than I’d thought it would be, and in talking with other writers over the years, it happens that way for some of us. But it was the best thing I ever could have done, and I truly can’t imagine the writing process without those first readers. That feedback is more valuable than anything else in the process, and there isn’t a close second.
There are more Zoe Grey stories written, in stages of draft, and wiggling away in my mind, not to mention so many other stories and characters I would love to introduce to you some day. As I have had time the past several years, I’ve worked on them here and there. But it hasn’t been nearly as much time as I’ve craved.
Building and running a business is something only those who’ve ever done it can understand. It takes most every waking minute, enormous resource of money and energy, and occupies so many conscious thoughts. Of course, that’s on top of the blood, sweat, tears.
This is for the best, however. If I were capable of pursuing writing alone, I’m afraid I’d become a hermit, stowed away in my office, tap-tap-tapping away and becoming increasingly disconnected from the realities of life. And it is those connections and realities that bring the stories to life, after all, and so must be maintained.
Not to mention, I have a really cool job.