"I remember beginning to wonder what I was going to do next," recalls Scott Raymond, owner of Market Square Wellness Center and president of the AMTA Connecticut Chapter, on how he broke into the massage therapy profession. His dedication to the profession is now more than just skin deep.
What first attracted you the massage therapy profession?
I had been in the restaurant business for nearly 15 years. I had worked in fast food, chain restaurants, Caribbean resorts, fine dining and at a vegan restaurant. I had traveled, experienced life and had a great time along the way. At that point, my hands had developed contact dermatitis--stress had really gotten to me and I learned that the dermatitis was actually caused by food from my work. With a little guidance, I decided it was time to make a career change. After some research, I discovered a massage school right in my neighborhood. The minute I walked into The Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy (CCMT), I was at home.
What career path has led you to your current position?
After graduating from massage school in 1998, I was hired at The Right Touch. A former education chair for the AMTA Connecticut Chapter was the owner; we had worked together previously and I was sold. The training on the job was just as valuable as my formal training at CCMT. Through a client, I was then offered a position at New Britain General Hospital’s physical therapy department where my colleague Bob Pecora had started a hospital-based massage therapy program.
When my wife graduated from CCMT in 2001, we decided to open our own office in Newington, Connecticut. Market Square Wellness Center has now been in business for nearly nine years!
After tutoring students for many years, I also began teaching at CCMT. I have been teaching kinesiology for the past nine years and also dabble in teaching some workshops along with continuing education classes. I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me!
I am also heavily involved in The World Skin Project. In 2002, we were working with a student in our office when we noticed a mole on her back. We suggested she have it checked out by her dermatologist. The little mole on her back was actually a stage three melanoma. The student's name is Annie Powell and combined with her hard work and passion, together we founded The World Skin Project.
The mission is to reduce the occurrence of skin cancer through the promotion of early detection, prevention and awareness with a focus on education for massage therapists, massage therapy students, other body-work professionals, and educators and academic directors. I have been honored to teach classes in New England and Annie just finished teaching in Minneapolis at the AMTA 2010 National Convention!
What specific experiences or types of education have helped you succeed and progress in your current role?
Every day is a learning experience. I learn from my students, clients, staff and my children. I have studied Thai-yoga bodywork with Kam Thye Chow, medical massage and Tuina with Bob Pecora, and learned Gua Sha while at New Britain General Hospital. I have taken many classes at both the AMTA National Convention and the AMTA New England Regional Conference (NERC). I am currently taking Patty Townsend’s Embodyoga teacher training at Newington Yoga Center. I try to integrate eastern and western styles of bodywork and apply the styles to client sessions.
How has your involvement with AMTA impacted your career?
When I became a member, I attended every chapter meeting and was also active with the sports massage team. Eventually, someone asked me if I wanted to run for 2nd VP. I did, and I have now been a member of the Connecticut Chapter's Board of Directors for more than six years. I am currently the president of the chapter and have also been involved with the sports team, community service team and government relations. I enjoy giving back to the community that gives so much to me.
And I have been involved on the national level as well. I have served in the House of Delegates, chaired the National Commission on Candidacy, served on various workgroups and committees, and am currently the moderator-elect for the Chapter President’s Council.
I have met the most amazing people at the National Convention and New England Regional Conference. The educators and AMTA chapter leaders, national leaders, volunteers and staff are some of the most dedicated and passionate people in the industry today. My career would not be the same if it weren’t for these folks. Gratitude goes out to them for everything that they do, every day.
What advice would you offer other massage therapists looking to establish themselves within a similar setting?
I think that the massage industry is a service-oriented, health care profession. Be open, be professional and have fun! Be humble, and let your work speak for itself. Teach someone and learn something new every day. Work on as many people as you can, and also receive massage as often as you can. It will help you in the long run. Pay attention, you never know when the smallest observation may save someone’s life; just ask Annie. Enjoy the journey, and be sure to wear your sun block.