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Where Do You Work? Team MTF - Running for Research


Where Do You Work? Team MTF - Running for Research

The members of the Boston Marathon runners for the Massage Therapy Foundation team, Team MTF - Running for Research, are all AMTA members. Three of them - John Cassinerio, Rocky Chen and Kim Nimmo - tell us more about themselves, their massage therapy practices and how they are preparing for the big event. 

Donate to support Team MTF »


John Cassinerio is an AMTA member from Sumner, WA. 

John Cassinerio

What drew you to massage therapy? 

I have a degree in physical education and wanted to find a new career path. I stumbled upon a wonderful school nearby and made the leap.  My better half is an exercise physiologist, so it just made sense. Another reason was watching my grand-niece deal with cancer for three years and all the side effects from treatments and surgeries - I knew there had to be a better way.

How long have you been practicing, and what is your current work setting? 

I’ve been licensed since 2010 in Washington and Oregon. I work with a team of healthcare professionals providing preventative care for employees in a production and manufacturing environment.

Do you have a specialization?

I am a certified practitioner in Zen Triggerpoint Therapy and Zen Body Therapy. I interned at Oregon Health Sciences University in their Oncology Massage Program under the direct supervision of Gayle MacDonald, author of “Medicine Hands." I am a Certified Health Coach through ACE.

What do you enjoy most about massage therapy? 

I enjoy empowering individuals to choose a path to better health through understanding the power their bodies already hold, and showing them how to unlock that potential through bodywork.

How has AMTA impacted your career? 

AMTA has been a stable source for insurance and has provided many CE opportunities over the years.  AMTA is a great resource for therapists at all levels in their career.

When did you become a runner? 

I have been an athlete my entire life, soccer being the primary sport of choice.  My wife and I took a Chi Running seminar several years ago, and it sparked a renewed interest in running.  After adopting several of the principles with that training program, we realized that we could run relatively pain-free and enjoy the ride!  We set out last year to accomplish 12 races in 12 months in 12 different cities across the Northwest.  We accomplished our goal and are working on 2019 now, upping the distance to 10K minimum … with a slightly longer endeavor on April 15 in Boston!

How is training going? 

Training is progressing quite well.  I recently completed my longest run at 15.13 miles in 2:42:47 which equates to a 10’47” pace.  Not bad for an old guy! 

What motivated you to sign up for this marathon and fundraising experience?  

I have a competitive mind set with most everything I do, and as a runner the Boston Marathon seemed like the right challenge!  I’m also motivated by the need to raise the bar with empirical evidence-based research for our profession and elevate standards nationwide. I believe in this so much I have applied for a Board of Massage position with the State of Washington. Change needs to come from legislation. Until this happens, there will continue to be a wide disparity in efficacy amongst practicing therapists.

I’m very excited to visit Boston and challenge myself physically and mentally. Preparing for the task ahead makes me realize how lucky I am to have the opportunity to raise my own bar while raising awareness of the importance of touch therapy! 


Rocky Chen is an AMTA member from Norman, OK. 

Rocky Chen

What drew you to massage therapy? 

I have my bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, and currently work full-time as an Environmental Engineer.  I jokingly tell people that, as a child of Asian immigrants, my two options in college were either engineering or medicine [grin].  After I had been working full-time as an engineer for a few years, I was chatting with a family friend who is a Chinese Medicine Doctor and uses a lot of manual therapy techniques in his practice.  He showed me a few techniques but said that, to teach me more, I would need to go to a massage school to learn basic techniques. While in massage school, I provided post-event massage for local running and cycling events, and realized that my interest in sports massage was greater than my interest in Oriental massage (or Chinese Medicine). I have spent the majority of my 15+ year massage career working with athletes, specifically with injury prevention and rehab.  I have been on the sports massage teams for over 50 Ironman Triathlons and over 10 marathons, providing post-event sports massage sessions to athletes.

How long have you been practicing? 

I have been practicing since 2000.  For 15 years, I also worked alongside other therapists to develop legislation for a state-wide massage law.  In 2017, Oklahoma was one of the last few states to pass massage law, and I applied for a massage license while their “grandfather period” was open.

Do you have a specialization?

I was one of the first massage therapists to complete James Waslaski’s certification program in orthopedic and athletic massage. Since 2004, I have volunteered at over 60 marathons and Ironman Triathlons in the medical and massage tents on race day.  I completed two sports massage internships at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO and was selected as a massage therapist for Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.  The majority of my clients are runners and triathletes, and, since I am also a runner and a triathlete, I am able to communicate about training, nutrition, equipment/gear, and other things.

What is your current work setting?

I practice out of two shared offices. One is located inside a health club in Norman, OK (just south of Oklahoma City).  The other office is an office park where I share a therapy room in a suite with two other therapy rooms.  

What do you enjoy most? What are some of the challenges?

I really enjoy talking to clients, finding out what’s causing obstacles in their training (or their ability to live an optimal, pain-free life), and then using my skill sets to help them achieve their goals.  Most recently, I helped a client recover from a frozen shoulder and get back his normal range of motion.  I’m currently working with a professional dancer, using manual therapy techniques and kinesiotaping to address some of the issues she has due to scoliosis.

My biggest challenge is time management … finding time to schedule my clients, volunteer events, and training for the Boston Marathon. I have the opportunity to travel and work/volunteer at various sporting events around the country (specifically, Ironman triathlons).  I use my annual leave from my engineering day job so I can volunteer at these races, so part of the challenge is balancing my responsibilities of my engineering job with the clients I see on a regular basis as well as the events where I’m volunteering for the year.

How has AMTA impacted your career?

I became a professional AMTA member in 2004, after I returned from volunteering at the 2004 Summer Paralympic Games in Athens at their track & field venue.  I was recommended to the Athens sports massage team by a fellow AMTA member.  Since then, AMTA has been invaluable in networking with other massage therapists on both the state and national level.  I’ve met some amazing therapists at the AMTA National Conventions I have attended, some of whom I still interact with regularly.  I have served as delegate, 2nd Vice-President, and Treasurer/Finance Administrator for my State Chapter (OK).  I was voted “AMTA Sports Massage Therapist of the Year” for 2015.

When did you become a runner?

I started running in 1995, mainly to lose weight.  Over the last few years, I have completed about 10 half marathons, and several triathlons and duathlons.  One of the benefits of being a “multi-sport” athlete is that I’m required to cross-train (swimming and cycling) because that’s part of the sport that I compete in. 

How is training going?

I’m currently on schedule with my training for the Boston Marathon.  I completed a half-marathon in Baton Rouge (LA) over MLK weekend, and I’m getting into 12+ mile long runs on the weekends.  I’ve been trying to be more consistent with my runs during the week, and my running coach has asked me to incorporate core workouts during the week.  I’m planning to add swimming to my cross-training plans (probably on days after my long runs, to help shake out my legs).

What motivated you to sign up for this marathon and fundraising experience?

My friend Deseriee Bourgois Van Oosting ran for Team MTF in 2018, and she suggested that I apply. I hesitated at first, but realized that running my first marathon at Boston was a challenge that was really intriguing. Plus, fundraising for the Massage Therapy Foundation felt like a great way to give back to the profession that’s been part of my life for almost two decades!


Kim Nimmo is an AMTA member from Casper, WY. 

Kim Nimmo

What drew you to massage therapy? 

I was drawn to massage therapy when I injured my back many years ago. After seeing a massage therapist for four months, I was completely healed.  I was struck by how effective the massages were and I decided that I wished I had explored this career path when I was starting college.  Instead, I became a pharmacist after five long years of college at a university.  After working as a pharmacist for 13 years, I realized I was extremely unhappy.  I decided to apply to some massage schools and see if I would be accepted into a program.  I knew immediately after my first week of classes at the Denver School of Massage Therapy,, that this was what I was meant to do for the rest of my working life.  

What is your current work setting?

I have owned my own massage therapy business in Casper, Wyoming for the past seven years.  I practice deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, myofascial release, prenatal massage, and specialize in Ashiatsu.  I also offer Ashi Thai massage.  I estimate that approximately 97% of my clients prefer the Ashiatsu over all other types of massage.  I have carved a niche for myself in my community as I am the only practitioner in Casper offering advanced, extended Ashiatsu.  I truly enjoy when a client comes to me with an issue and improves over the next few sessions so much that they are able to decrease the frequency of their visits and eventually maintain treatments once a month regularly.  Watching people be relieved of pain and discomfort and begin to enjoy life again is priceless.  I seek challenges by learning new treatment methods and modalities yearly.  I will attend  a workshop or seminar every 6-12 months to either refresh my training or expand my skills.

How has AMTA impacted your career?

AMTA has impacted my career by offering a multitude of continuing education courses and providing information regarding massage therapy research.  

When did you become a runner?

I became a runner at the age of 16 and began running 5K and 10K races at the age of 31.  I ran my first marathon at age 43 and have run three marathons.  I have run in at least 30 half-marathons since the age of 35.

How is training going? 

I typically run 15-20 miles weekly when I am not training for a race, so I plan to increase my weekly mileage from there. I also incorporate Group Power classes, HIIT workouts, Yoga and Pilates every week all year.  Running is my passion and my preferred exercise- a spiritual medicine which nurtures my soul.  I am filled with gratitude for the ability to run and look forward to running for MTF in the 2019 Boston Marathon. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be part of the team!

Donate to support Team MTF »

"The support I’ve received at the various levels of my career has been key
in helping me get to the place I am today."

Lee S., AMTA member since 1995

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