On Gobias Industries:

We were doing shoulder testing in class, one student said her neck hurt whenever she moved her shoulder into extension.  I palpated and found a few trigger points, and asked her if it hurt, and she said yes.

“What type of pain?”

“Like a bee,” she said.

“Like a bee?  Like you’re being stung by a bee?  Or like you’d give it a B for a grade?”

“No,” she said, “like a female dog.”

I did of course appreciate her restraint with the foul language.

Gob’s not on board.

On Comps:

Before we send our students into the clinic to work on the public we put them through a two day competency exam (comps) to make sure they won’t hurt anyone/embarrass us.  This is very stressful for the students, and depending on how well we got along with the class, we are either very sympathetic, or very Schadenfreudy.  Or if it was a big class, like this one, it’s a nice mix of both.

Often I’ll ask a student a question, and they will say something like:

“Hang on, I know this, I just read this, hang on, let me think….”

To which I reply:

“You obviously don’t know this, stop wasting my time trying to dig through your empty brain for answers that you didn’t learn when I taught them to you.”

But I say it on the inside.

Even those unfamiliar with the muscles might be able to figure out what your spinal erectors do (they extend the spine).  I asked one student to show my the general location of one such muscle, which she more or less (less) got.  Then I asked her to reciprocally inhibit it (turn on the opposite muscle to turn off this muscle).

“Okay, reciprocal inhibition.  This muscle is on the back.”

“It is.”

“So when it contracts… it must flex the spine.”

“You sure about that?”

Stunned look.  Confusion.  She stares at her partner’s back and then back to me like I was playing fetch with her and only pretended to throw the ball.

“Where is longissimus again?”

“Back here.”

“And what would happen if that muscle got shorter?”

“It’s on the back.”


“So it would flex the back.”

This is the point where I realize you sometimes have to let the student fail just to put both of us out of our misery.

“Okay, please proceed.”

On Chutzpah:

I’m still not sure what to make of this one.

I started teaching a new group the other day, and it was the first day of one of their basic massage courses.  So these students didn’t know me, and had in fact only had one teacher so far, whom they all adored.  When I’m the first “other” teacher they have I always start by saying:

“Look, I know you’re all going to miss R–, and I know I can’t replace him.  But he’ll always be with you.” Pointing to my chest. “Right here.”

Which at least breaks the ice.

Anyways, there is a young woman in this group, and while I was walking them through a very basic treatment for the back and neck, she took it upon herself to not do what I said and instead do a sloppy trigger point treatment.  When we finished I pointed to each of the therapists and said:

“Good work.  Good work.  Does not follow instructions.  Good work.”

“Yeah big I got out his trigger points.”

“That’s not what you were asked to do.”

“Did R– tell you about me?  Let me tell you a story.”

Me, dumbfounded, “I’m all ears.”

“This one time I went to this hood spa.”

“I’m sorry, where did you go?”

“A hood spa.  A spa.  In the hood.  And I walked in and the therapist was all like just get on the table, and I thought she was rude so I left.”

I waited.

“That’s the story?”


“You think R– would have pulled me aside and said you’ll never guess what happened.  This one girl went for a massage.  But then she didn’t get a massage.”

“In a hood spa,” she added, meekly.

Update: this student has taken a leave of absence so she could tour the country with her one woman show:

The Hoodspa Diaries: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Pomade

Look out Branson!


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