A Great Massage Therapist

how to find a good massage therapist

A great Massage Therapist is like “The One!” They’re hard to find, you search everywhere for them and you never let them go once you’ve found one. And if for some reason you can’t see them anymore, you carry baggage around with you into any future therapeutic relationship. A great Massage Therapist will not be afraid of hard work, they will have done an exceptional amount of self directed learning and they will be able to get results for you that others can’t. And that’s why they’re the white whale of the healthcare industry. The massage therapy accreditation is not particularly hard to attain, that’s why It’s really hard to find all those qualities in someone who didn’t have to go to hell and back to get qualified.

Different people require different levels of care. Some people really enjoy the day spa massage, nice and relaxing! Some people think it’s therapeutic even. And to them, it probably is. But it’s not a particularly hard feat to get right. Some other people feel that a good deep tissue 1hr session is great. One where the therapist systematically goes through each muscle and relieves the strains. Again, with some hard work and application, that also is not a difficult task. It’s a template, and like all templates, they can be easily reproduced. But no one patient is the same, and a template approach will limit the results you get, and eventually leave the therapist burnt out.

Disclaimer: This is for Educational Purposes Only

Let me take a quick intercesion to inform you as to the nature of our advice. We are experienced healthcare clinicians. We wish to share our experience with you on topics to do with your health. We may be a little colourful in doing so, but at the heart of what we do is in-the-trenches experience. Whilst we have achieved academic success and understand evidence, we are not solely evidence based. We are, however, EVIDENCE INFORMED.

We find that the evidence is usually 10-15years (at minimum) behind what we are seeing in the clinic. We see real people, with real problems, and we’ve made a great living out of offering real solutions.

If all you’re after is the researched evidence, you can find some here (link to evidence page), or you can very easily look for more on Google. We want to give you real life advice, most of which you may not find in the research.

There is no way that this document can replicate or replace expert assessment and guidance given from a qualified registered healthcare practitioner who has seen you personally. I am sure you’re aware that I have no knowledge of your personal medical history or how you take care of your body. If you require care from a qualified practitioner, you would be best served by seeing someone who can empathise with your situation and treat you accordingly.

I’m sure you understand that I disclaim any and all responsibility for anything you do as a result of reading this document. And by reading this article, you accept 100% responsibility for the actions of you or anyone under your care.

So what are some of the qualities of a good Massage Therapist? 

  1. Well, like I said earlier, they must not be afraid of hard work. Tissue work is extremely tiresome, and if they’re not prepared for it, they won’t be able to cope with energy needed to treat patients. 
  2. They must have a good knowledge of anatomy. They must understand what and where they are working and be able know what the muscles do and how they function. At least at the most basic level.
  3. They must have good communication skills. They need to communicate to their patients what they are doing and why they are doing it. 

Those qualities may make for a good Massage Therapist, but not necessarily a great one. A great Massage Therapist will differentiate themselves from the pack by being able to THINK! Sounds simple right? Not so fast.

A great Massage Therapist needs to be able think way above his or her qualification grade. They must think critically about everything that they do and constantly learn based on that critique. They must figure out solutions to problems that they have not been exposed to at University or Student clinics where you’re given guidance, mentoring and pretty harsh criticism. To begin thinking, they must want to actually help you with a problem you have, not just rub you down for an hour.

In Australia, Massage Therapy is not government regulated. Meaning technically, anyone can call themselves a massage therapist. Although there has been attempts by the profession to self-regulate, this has produced a wide variety of qualities, from the day spa oil splasher, to the quality therapist we are discussing. The market also demands different qualities in therapists, giving us a wide scope of therapists. 

The thought process of a great Massage Therapist is the same as a great Osteopath, Physiotherapist or Chiropractor. What am I doing and why am I doing this? What kind of person am I working on and what are some of the considerations I need to know about this person? Which particular tool in my toolbox of techniques is best applied here? And how can I be as efficient as possible in applying my treatment and helping this person? As you can see, this is not a template. There is a different solution depending on the problem. For them to be able to answer all these questions, they would have had to complete a lot of self-directed learning, but mainly, they would have had to have guidance in applying all of that knowledge through a sound treatment philosophy.

Finally, a great Massage therapist will walk the talk. They will get you results. They will also possess many characteristics that successful people generally possess. This will cause them to do things in the pursuit of excellence in their profession. They would generally do a lot of strength training, because they know the amount of hard work involved in their job. They will have a growth mindset that leads them onto further education. And they will have solid mentorship from people they wish to learn from. 

The best place to find such a therapist is with other like minded professionals. If you know of a clinic with a solid reputation of getting results, then they will most likely not accept anyone working with them that can’t match their quality. They will also provide the necessary mentoring for growth, and the environment to keep them happy and motivated.

finding a good massage therapist

Daniel has progressed over the years into a phenomenal practitioner. A great massage therapist.

In my 20 years of having massage therapists work with me, two therapists have shown this mindset, only one has lasted in possessing those qualities. If you want to know who that is, click here! I’m not showing you this to toot his horn (although he is deserving), but merely to show you how hard it is to find such a therapist. To his credit, Daniel Salameh keeps getting better with his application and adherence to fundamental principles. His only limits are the amount of people he can see.

So sure, there are some good massage therapists out there. And if I’m visiting a day spa, lots of oil goes a long way. But if you’re looking for a great Massage therapist, someone with the qualities and dedication of a professional, you’re going to have to look long and hard. If you want to experience what qualities I’ve described to you, the best way is to book in with Daniel and find out.

Are Your Kids In Pain? They Don’t Have To Be!

Kids child growing pains

If your kids are playing football as a lot are, complaints of knee and heel pain are common….Don’t stress, there is a solution.

Dr Sami Karam – Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Some people still call it soccer, but seeing as I love the round ball game just as much as you do, I’ll refer to it as Football.

Kid’s in pain?

When kids complain of pain so they can get out of school, parents are generally wary of their mischievous little minds. But when your child complains of pain after playing football, a sport they love…you better PAY ATTENTION!


Kids child growing pains while playing sport


“YOUR SON IS OVERTRAINING!” I say to most parents.

My son isn’t overtraining you say…YES, he is. What parents fail to realize is on top of the 2-3 sessions of organized club football they play, there are also 1-2 sessions of organized school football.

And on top of that, they’re usually running around every school recess and lunchtime chasing either a ball or another person 5 days per week.

That’s 10 sessions of high impact activity EVERY WEEK…with little rest period between. Oh, and if he/she is any good at football then they’re usually in a specialist football academy too…so add another 2 sessions!

Soccer kids growing pains

What doctors often refer to as “growing pains” are actually definable injuries that don’t have to stop your kids from playing football.

They are treatable with more than just “rest” and often kids can continue to enjoy their playing through the treatment.

Here’s what you need to know about kids pain:

  1. Osgood Schlatters (knee) and Sever’s Disease (heel) are two of the most commonly seen conditions referred to as “growing pains”. The sources of pain are inflamed growth plates just below the knee and under the heel. The cause is usually overtraining and growth spurts.
  2. Treatment is usually the difference between recurring pain and proper recovery. Contrary to what you may hear in the mainstream, treatment is effective and can actually lead to better performance on the field.
  3. Don’t fear…. There are many self-management strategies that are simple and effective. Since it may be their first experience with injury, one positive is that it will teach your kids the discipline required to overcome injury.

Your children's growing pains and how to treat them

The problem with kids growing pains

These conditions happen due to the growth plates in their bones being soft. As their muscles work hard, they pull on the soft bone and cause inflammation.

Generally speaking the harder the surface and the more running they do, the greater the likely hood they will suffer from pain.

What you don’t know is kids will not tell you they are in pain until it’s too late, out of fear of not being able to play with their friends.

It’s amazing how many times a parent brings a child to treatment for an unrelated injury and we find that they are in extreme pain in either their heels or their knees.

Parents are usually shocked and are in disbelief why the child has kept it from them.

The Solution

Treatment usually consists of releasing a lot of the tissue tension they have in their body and making sure they’re moving well through their spine and limbs.

We run the child through the relevant stretches they need to be doing at home and it’s surprising how little stretching is done out on the field.

We also teach parent and child proper icing techniques as they will be valuable in a quick recovery. Most mainstream advice is to stop playing football and rest.

I can comfortably say that in over 12 years of treating these conditions, no young footballer we’ve treated has ever had to stop participating due to “growing pains.”

The Reward

Getting the quickest and most effective results often come through collaboration between the practitioner and the patient.

The most basic self-management techniques will come down to stretching and icing the affected area.

This is usually the young footballer’s first encounter with taking some kind of responsibility for their own recovery. And the journey is just as important as the result.

It will likely be the first time they will summon some form of discipline to achieve a result.

It will likely be the first time they will suffer a setback that they need to overcome.

And taken with the right attitude it will provide a massive opportunity for character growth, building self-esteem, and confidence.

So, take a minute, and ask your child if they feel pain during or after football. Because they don’t have to.

Dr Sami Osteopath Sports Medicine Clinic

A bit about the Author

Dr. Sami Karam

A little extra about me. I’ve been a qualified Osteopath since 2004. I’ve been playing football ever since I could remember and I have a passion for it. I’ve played at the highest level in the NSW State League at both Youth and Senior levels, and have also been Head Physician at numerous State League Clubs. I’ve travelled internationally and consulted with Sports academies in Barcelona and Italy. I have a special interest in Strength and Conditioning for footballers, as I believe it gives them an edge in their physical competition. My passion involves bringing all of this knowledge into every single treatment that I provide for all athletes. If you feel that I can help you and want to reach out to me, just click here.

Work hard, Exercise Harder!

Office stretching at work

With the holiday season just passing, we are all a bit less in shape than normal so it’s important to bounce back! These days, it seems like everyone is working more hours and having less ‘me’ time to keep healthy and fit. But what if you could actually work out at work? 

You’re at work to produce productive results for your workplace, so why not produce good results for your own health?! After all, productiveness is increased when you’re fit and healthy! 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week is recommended and while you won’t get to the Olympics this way; you can do stretching, muscle-strengthening, and even short stints of aerobic exercises right at your desk.

Physical exercises for the office

  •  Do a football-like drill of running in place for 60 seconds. Get those knees up! (Beginners, march in place.)
  • While seated, pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds, and then rapidly tap your feet on the floor for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.

No puffs exercises for the workplace

Afraid the phone will ring and you’ll sound like a lion is chasing you? Less breathless exercises may include

  • Sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight, hold for 2 seconds; then lower your foot (stop short of the floor) and hold for several seconds. Switch; do each leg 15 times.
  • To work your chest and shoulders, place both hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself back down but stop short of the seat, hold for a few seconds. Do 15 times.

Work out at desk

Stretching exercises you can do near your desk

Stretching exercises are a natural for the desk-bound, to ease stress and keep your muscles from clenching up. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sitting tall in your chair, stretch both arms over your head and reach for the sky. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
  • Try this yoga posture to relieve tension: Sit facing forward, then turn your head to the left and your torso to the right, and hold a few seconds. Repeat 15 times, alternating sides.
  • Sitting up straight, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax.

Discreet exercises for the shy in the workplace

Butt clenches: Tighten your buttocks, hold, hold, hold, and then relax. Repeat 15 times. The same goes for ab squeezes — just tighten your tummy muscles instead.

Last word: Use every minute actively- Whenever possible, stand rather than sit, walk rather than stand.

Healthy hint of the month:

Exercise helps lessen pain, increase range of movement to prevent injury, and reduces fatigue, producing energy and productiveness! So tune in to your favourite music and do some exercise!

For more information about staying in shape and having great wellbeing, click here to book in a consultation with one of our friendly physicians!

Dr. Sami Karam Osteopath

A bit about the Author

Dr. Sami Karam

A little extra about me. I’ve been a qualified Osteopath since 2004. I’ve been playing football ever since I could remember and I have a passion for it. I’ve played at the highest level in the NSW State League at both Youth and Senior levels, and have also been Head Physician at numerous State League Clubs. I’ve travelled internationally and consulted with Sports academies in Barcelona and Italy. I have a special interest in Strength and Conditioning for footballers, as I believe it gives them an edge in their physical competition. My passion involves bringing all of this knowledge into every single treatment that I provide for all athletes. If you feel that I can help you and want to reach out to me, just click here.