Wiregrass Neuromuscular Massage Therapy graduate Dawn Longieliere is shining light to additional benefits of massage therapy. When one thinks of massage therapy they usually think of a dimly lit and cozy room with soothing music playing in the background. “Massage therapy can also be used as a tool for treating chronic pain, acute pain, as well as anxiety and depression,” shared Dawn. The Wiregrass graduate holds three jobs providing massage therapy including a job at Clinch Memorial Hospital. The hospital is one of the first in our area that is seeking ways to treat patients with a holistic approach.
Due to a national surge in opioid abuse, patients are looking for other ways to relieve their pain than taking these medications. This is where neuromuscular massage therapy comes in. Dawn adds, “We are trained with tools to treat individual muscles or muscle groups that can be the cause of their pain. Instead of covering the symptoms with pain killers, we can actually treat the cause of their pain and hopefully alleviate their discomfort or lessen it to improve their quality of life.” Dawn added that, in a sense, massage therapy does offer pain relief, just not instantaneously. It comes in the days following treatment when patients notice a decrease in their pain levels.
Amanda Garnto is the Neuromuscular Massage Therapy Program Coordinator at Wiregrass Tech and shared that this is a unique opportunity for graduates like Dawn to provide specific techniques and modalities with massage therapy that are safe and effective. Students graduate from the program knowing how to assess patients, provide massage specific treatments, and develop treatment plans. “Clinch Memorial Hospital is designed not only to support and facilitate state-of-the-art medicine and technology, patient safety, and quality patient care, but to also embrace the patient, family, and caregivers in a supportive therapeutic environment, “added Garnto. “Dawn’s knowledge gained from her education at Wiregrass Tech has been so important for the effective integration of massage therapy and patient care in hospital settings. I feel that she is truly helping to open the eyes of others and helped them understand what an important role massage therapy can play in the hospital environment.”
It took Dawn two years to complete her diploma in Neuromuscular Therapy at Wiregrass: a year to complete her core work followed by a year in the program. She enrolled in the program for several reasons. She had always wanted to be involved in the medical field and Wiregrass offered an affordable program that was close to home. “I wasn’t sure where my talents would be best utilized, and had always massaged family members growing up and I had helped my mom unfreeze her shoulder. It was something I really enjoyed and thought I could help so many people if I were fully trained. It also would give me the opportunity to work with patients in a medical setting, which is where I ultimately wanted to be.” Dawn shared that the Wiregrass’ Massage Therapy program moves at a fast pace and she had to dedicate her time to studying so she wouldn’t fall behind. “When you graduate from this program, you will have all the tools necessary to make this your career,” shared Dawn. “Our instructor, Amanda Garnto, made herself available to us as often as we needed to answer questions. She even found different ways to explain the actions of muscles and how they moved so we could easily understand.” Dawn also shared that this career involved a great deal of problem solving, figuring out the path of referral pain, which muscles are the main cause and which ones are contributing to the pain and then planning out the best treatment. She added, “This makes everyday a new adventure!”
When Dawn is not assessing patient’s pain at Clinch Memorial, she can be found assisting patients at Mink Chiropractic with hands on massage. Dawn also operates her own business, Rejuvenating Massage Therapy, located in EnSpire Counseling & Wellness. Here she also works with individuals to help with chronic pain, acute pain, those who suffer with mental health, and those who just want to relax and escape.
Wiregrass’ Neuromuscular Massage Therapy program accepts new students every Spring Semester. Those seeking to enroll can begin their core classes Summer Semester. The college will be hosting Free Application Week March 22-26. Those who apply during that week will have their application fee waived. To learn more about the program, visit https://www.wiregrass.edu.