August 18, 2021 | Spotlight

Spotlight: Timothy J. Lisbon BCTMB, LMT

Please provide your full name, current location, and current job title.

Timothy (Tim) J. Lisbon, BCTMB Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Provide one fun fact about you.

I am a Licensed Aircraft Mechanic. I used to work for Microsoft as a Technical Account Manager.

What are your hobbies?

Before the pandemic, I was an avid bowler and have been off and on for 40 years.

How did you discover the massage therapy profession? What motivated you to pursue massage therapy as a career?

When I was in my early 20s, my martial arts instructor asked who wanted to learn massage with him.  At the time, I worked for a Chiropractor as a chiropractic assistant, and it made sense to me since I was leaning in the healthcare arena anyway.

How did you develop your passion?

I realized learning classical Martial arts, there was something more about how to defend yourself but what if you could take it further and heal someone as well.  I knew how to “tie” someone up or destroy someone’s joints.  When you have a moment look up Zatoichi the blind swordsman. He was also a blind massage therapist! As you can imagine working for a chiropractor as a chiropractic assistant was also was a catalyst to my continued learning.

How has your massage career evolved?

In the 90s I also became a Certified Chiropractic Assistant. In the late 90s, I learned Craniosacral Therapy (CST) for continuing education and fell in love with it.  My original intention was to learn a modality that didn’t require disrobing.  As a young male massage therapist, I guess I could see that this could be a challenge with cross-gender work at some point so I wanted to provide options.  Since then, I have spent a lot of time as a Teaching Assistant for the Upledger Institute for CST.

I eventually had to go back to massage school because even though I was nationally certified I missed the grandfather clause in Maryland and had to have the hours in conjunction with the certification to practice in Virginia.  It definitely wasn’t a waste of time or money. Since then, I have added Peruvian-based Shamanism and I am certified in hypnosis from the National Guild of Hypnotist.

I have always been part-time in the wellness industry because I felt I wanted to do bodywork because I loved it and not because I had to and today this continues to hold true. My primary source of income has been in technology and currently, I am in the compliance side of the house for cyber-security and will remain until financially I can retire to my practice with my wife.

When did you first become NCBTMB Certified?

I became certified in 1993.  To my understanding, it was right when the certification started to take off.  I remember the day clearly at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in a lecture hall with my two #2 sharpened pencils and the old scantrons trying to fill in bubbles correctly.

Why did you elect to become NCBTMB Certified?

At that time and age, I learned that having certifications was important to have in demonstrating your skill and worth.

Being in technology in the 90s is when I learned the importance of certifications.  In some cases, they can be more important than degrees.  Having Microsoft Certifications was a big deal and having those was a ticket to my IT growth.  I believe this holds true in the bodywork profession.  Not everybody is going to love your technique, but the certification is a representation that you have been through some type of learning experience.  Don’t get me wrong my uncle was a civil

engineer and owned a successful firm without having a college degree and I wouldn’t ever look down on anyone who didn’t, but to me, if the state requires it you should be compliant. I am also a life-long learner and currently working on my Ph.D. in Mind-Body Medicine.

Why have you maintained your NCBTMB Certification all these years?

As I mentioned I think it is important to have that certification and remain compliant.  I have run across a few that aren’t certified (or expired) and still are practicing, but at the end of the day, I have my integrity to sleep with.  I just don’t want to be that guy that got caught.

How has NCBTMB Certification elevated your career?  What doors did it open for you?

I have never worked for anyone as a body-worker so I have opened my own doors. Of course, there are some people that want to see you have the credentials so I can only guess the doors opened are confident clients.

What would you say to a fellow massage therapist contemplating Board Certification?

Most find it interesting that I have an AA degree in Aircraft Maintenance and a BS in Healthcare Administration and I work in Cybersecurity.  There are a lot of people that want to see credentials and this certification is the best I have known to have and will never let it expire. I enjoy the continuing education aspects and fully expect this to be my “retirement job.”

How has your practice and/or employment been affected by COVID-19?

My wife and I were in compliance in 2020, but as soon as we re-opened things got back to normal. What I mean by normal is we actually made the same amount of money we made in 2019 so we caught up.

 If you are not working or unable to work during the pandemic, what are you doing during this time to prepare yourself for future work?

I am blessed not to have to answer this question!

What would you suggest a fellow massage therapist do during this time to prepare for future success?

As we roll off the pandemic there will be plenty of folks that are just looking for good positive touch, as many are just missing random hugs, right? As I watch the different social media outlets I see massage therapists displaying skills and anatomy prowess.  At the end of the day, the client is looking for you to make them better with whatever concerns they walked in the door with.  Once you get through the drudgery of learning the information you will find that you may not ever have to say calcaneus again unless you want to.

To apply for Board Certification, click here.

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