Posture Professional Spotlight:
“My best teacher has been my own pain.”
Michael McMahan didn’t take the traditional path to becoming a licensed massage therapist. Before he went to school for massage, McMahan’s career was in culinary arts. Because of the aches and pains he experienced working in the restaurant industry, he turned to the help of chiropractors and massage therapists for relief. There, he became interested in how structure and motion are connected, which led him to make the bold leap into the wellness industry.
“My interest in massage evolved naturally from an interest in form and function. As a chef, I worked with my hands. Now, instead of preparing food for someone to enjoy, I nourish the body through therapeutic work,” McMahan says.
McMahan has now been practicing massage therapy for 15 years, evolving from relaxation-based therapy to structural work, largely due to his growing interest in posture. But to McMahan, his interest in posture is not only scientific – he says it’s an art.
“Intuitively we see the symmetry in nature and in architecture. Assessing posture is an art – noting a body’s landmarks, its patterns of motion. Sometimes deviations are obvious, and sometimes it takes a closer look. That’s why I call my practice Symmetry Bodyworks – symmetry is a goal of posture correction.”
After researching several posture programs including Egoscue and online-only programs, McMahan found that BodyZone’s CPEP Posture Certification was best suited to both his prior training as well as the direction he hoped to take his practice in the future.
“Dr. Weiniger offers perspectives that I haven’t seen. The merging of information and how it all fits together and intersects drew me in. The CPEP program and Dr. Weiniger’s teachings confirm to me that posture is all very neurologically based, and the protocol, if we can redirect the attention of the client to focus on the details of their alignment and motion, and to perform the exercise with perfection and increasing strength, creates positive and lasting changes in the posture.”
Though McMahan currently works with clients on an individual basis, he plans to take his training into his community to conduct posture screenings, lectures, and classes. In August, he will assist Dr. Weiniger at the FCA National Convention & Expo in cueing students new to the StrongPosture protocols. He says the experience will put him on a path toward spreading posture awareness and exercise on a larger scale.
To other healthcare and wellness professionals, McMahan says, “If you are working with the human body, you must consider better posture as a goal. Pain relief is great, yet it is still a symptom that is speaking to us – are we hearing/understanding the source of the problem? The two factors that make movement of the body possible are mobility and stability. We who have been doing mobility work must understand that it is only half of the picture. The StrongPosture protocols are the perfect tool for stabilizing the spine and the core while teaching patterns of motion to train whole body control. Every person doing mobility work probably knows this intuitively, but perhaps has not fully embraced its importance to human movement and wellness.”
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