Theresa Mueller, BCTMB & NCBTMB Approved Provider
How did you discover the massage therapy profession?
I was always fascinated about “healing arts.’ I was blessed with the opportunity to change careers in midlife. I left my corporate job and one month later I attended my massage orientation class. To be honest, I believe it was divine intervention!
How did you develop your passion into a career? (Tip: This can include your educational background, inspiring jobs or places you have worked, etc.)
As the saying goes “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” We owned a horse called Captain Crunch who was diagnosed with lymphangitis. I couldn’t even say the word or spell it. We were told just to walk him and that is about all we could do. I was extremely frustrated because I have an inquiring mind and have a need to know and understand what was happening. There was little information on lymphangitis, and the Internet was in its infancy.
How has your career evolved?
After graduating massage school, I came across an ad in the paper by a plastic surgery facility that was looking for a manual lymph drainage massage therapist. I was intrigued by the ad because I was looking for a specialty in the field. I did some research and in 2006 became certified as a lymphedema therapist. At that time in 2006, massage therapists were no longer able to perform complete decongestive therapy on lymphedema patients. I knew this and did it anyway! I was the only massage therapist in the course with RN’S, physical and occupational therapists. It was during my training when I realized that this is what happened to the Captain and how frustrating it was to deal with it. So I wanted to learn more about the effect of lymphedema on horses. The only course available was at Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany where I enrolled and became the first American to become an equine lymphedema therapist in 2008.
What does Board Certification mean to you?
Board Certification establishes credibility and raises the bar on how massage therapists are perceived by the public and by medical professionals.
What does becoming an Approved Provider mean to you?
This establishes me as a credible educator and gives me the opportunity to raise awareness about equine lymphedema, which is not well understood. I can help change the lives of other therapists and the healing impact they have on their horses.
What does the future hold for you?
I believe the future is bright. I have the opportunity to be an agent of change in the industry and to leave a legacy of hope. When it is all said and done in my life I will have “no regrets.” I went the distance to make the world a better place!
How do you hope to see the massage therapy and bodywork profession evolve?
Here is my two cents… I would like to see massage therapy become a four year degree! Massage therapists should take similar anatomy and physiology classes as physical therapists and occupational therapists, and then specialize in medical massage, somatic therapy and various types of bodywork. The human body is complicated and so is massage! By obtaining a four year degree, the perception of the massage profession will change for the better and lead to new opportunities. We will be viewed as professionals, and that will increase our creditability. We deserve the same respect as other professionals such as physical and occupational therapists.