February 28, 2018 | Spotlight

Ryan Hoyme (aka MassageNerd), BCTMB

My first experience receiving a massage was when I was 20-years-old and it almost scared me from receiving more massages. One of my friends recommended this Asian medicine practitioner and I decided to make an appointment. When I got there, the practitioner spoke broken English and I wasn’t really sure what to do or what to expect. He pointed me to his treatment room and I got undressed and got on the massage table. The next thing I realized was the practitioner was walking on my back – it scared me, because I’ve never seen this type of massage before. After the massage, I was feeling heat on my back and when I got home, I had to do some research on what he was doing and he was performing fire cupping on me. As you can tell, communication is KEY to receiving a great massage, and that treatment changed my perception on life (it’s better to have too much explanation).

The massage profession didn’t choose me; my mom chose it for me. For a few years, my mom was getting regular massages to help her symptoms of fibromyalgia, and she kept bugging me to go to massage school. I resisted for a while, and then I finally decided to enroll in massage school (you eventually have to listen to you mom) – I’m glad I FINALLY listened to her. I was seeing a psychologist during that time for my OCD, and he said massage would be a great profession to enter, because it would help limit my obsessions and keep me busy (I have to count things up to twenty-one).

When I was in massage school in 1997, there were two things I never wanted to do: own my own business and to teach massage – I ended up doing both as my career progressed. I kind of felt sorry for my massage instructors, because my mind would not stop and I would develop my own techniques and constantly ask questions (my brain was a sponge). Being a difficult student really help developed my teaching style and I tried to be 10-steps ahead of the students and always kept them busy. I even drew out all my massage techniques, because most massage books only showed a handful of techniques. The students loved them and constantly laughed at the names and the drawings. I was totally ok with that, because the more they enjoy class, the more they retain the information I was giving them. In 2006, one of my students called me a Massage Nerd, and I bought the domain the next day and the rest is history. Another day I was teaching, a student of mine was giving me a hard time, because I wasn’t Nationally Certified, and that really pushed me to strive to greater things and I applied to take the test that night. In 2014, NCBTMB was phasing out National Certification and I decided to become Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB).

I taught for twelve years and I saw enrollment slowly decrease over the years, so I had to find other things to do for employment. I knew I couldn’t perform full-time, because of my cubitus valgus and hypermobile joints. I started doing a live show every week on Youtube and interviewing MT’s from around the world, and uploading videos on a regular basis to my channel. I really wanted to stay in the massage profession and I worked for a few different companies traveling to massage conferences. It was great to meet other therapists from around the states, and I never realized how many schools used my website and videos in their classrooms; it was surreal.

I traveled for five years going to massage conferences and giving talks at Student Days for massage students, but I was missing my family. I also started a hobby of photographing real massage therapists, because I hated the fake massage photos with flowers in the client’s hair and their head turned to the side.

I eventually got an opportunity to start teaching at another massage school. I did that for a year; but, one main area I wanted to work when I was going to massage school was at a hospital. I applied to Allina Health in Owatonna, MN and I was hired to give massages in their rehab and inpatient departments. It was a dream come true when I started working in a hospital, and I especially love working with inpatients. The patient’s eyes light up when I come into their hospital room and offer my services. Being Board Certified was one of the requirements for working in the hospital and I’m glad I did that a few years before I applied at the hospital. In the late 1990’s it was forbidden to massage people with certain pathologies, and now we can – thank goodness for massage research, The Massage Therapy Foundation, and Ruth Werner!

I’ve had many accomplishments in the massage profession: won many awards, surpassed 200+ million views on my Youtube channel, 100,000+ subscribers on Youtube (received an award for that accomplishment), 100,000+ likes on my Facebook page, having one of my massage videos in the Emoji Movie, and many other things. One of the hardest things that I’ve experienced was being at the Boston Marathon and I videotaped the second bomb going off.

I’m currently working at Allina Health as an MT, working as a Rhythm Analysis Technician at Mayo Clinic, managing social media for some companies, selling REAL massage photos to MT’s, and running MassageNerd. As you can see, I KNEAD to keep busy! I foresee the massage profession going more towards the medical profession and there is so much research that can be done in the hospital setting to help validate the massage profession even more.

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