It’s taken a long time to get going, but it’s finally here: the first episode of the Integration Bodywork Podcast! Listen in above, or in iTunes. You’ll get a short preview of this show, and what it’s going to be about, as well as a brief version of my journey to becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist.
Here are some links to resources that have influenced me.
- Starting Strength
- Mobility WOD
- Clinical Athlete
- Dr. John Rusin
- Katy Bowman, founder of Nutritious Movement
- Anatomy Trains
- Til Luchau
- Pain Science
- Functional Movement Systems
Welcome to episode one of the Integration Bodywork Podcast. My name is Scott Robison. I’m a licensed massage therapist in Madison, Wisconsin, and I’m on a mission to help you move better, feel better, and live better. Thank you so much for listening to this very first episode. I’m so excited to be finally bringing my own podcast out to the world. I’ve been listening to podcasts ever since I had a click wheel iPod, about 2006, if you remember those. We’re going to talk today a little bit briefly about where this show came from, where the idea came from, what my background is, and why you should listen.
I’m a small business owner. I have a small massage therapy practice here in Madison. One of the things you do as a small business owner, regardless of your industry, is you get out there and network, right? That could be Chamber of Commerce breakfast, after hours mixer, there are lots of different ways to network. The most effective thing that I’ve found in that realm is to be a member of a Business Networking International group, and if the Badger BNI chapter isn’t the most effective chapter here in Madison, it’s definitely the most fun. One of the expectations of being a BNI member is that you get to get together regularly, one-on-one, with the members of your chapter. That’s how you get to know their backstory, you get to know what they’re working on, what they’re excited about, so you develop that rapport and trust with people, so it’s much easier to give referrals.
One of the things I learned, after getting to meet all these wonderful small business owners is that so many small businesses have a health and wellness angle to their business, to what they do, even if it’s only implicit. What does that mean? Say you’re a business coach, and you’re helping people work less, make more money, have their business run without them so they can take vacations, or kind of do whatever they want, spend more time working on charity, more time with their families. That’s a health and wellness angle to your business, even though explicitly what you’re doing is trying to help them with their business. When you listen to this podcast, you’re going to get to hear the best small business owners here in town, from a variety of fields, and they’re going to give you some awesome information on how to move better, feel better, and live better.
I’ve already got an interview in the can with Dr. Adam Lindsey, who is the physical therapist I refer to most often, and we’re going to talk not only about his fascinating story, but also why he decided to open a cash pay and Medicare practice, rather than try to be in-network with all the HMOs here in town. We’re going to talk to a tree care expert, who is going to talk to you about how not only are trees important for your physical and emotional health, but also, and this blew me away, how you can sculpt a climbing tree when you plant it. Climbing trees isn’t just for your kids, it’s for adults too. We’re going to talk to a transportation planner, who is going to help you learn how to successfully bike commute year-round, here in the Great White North of Wisconsin. She does it year-round, I sort of do it year-round, and lots more.
We’re going to take a short break, and when we come back I’m going to give you the back story on who I am, and why you should listen to me.
This episode is brought to you by Integration Bodywork. Is your body holding you back? Your back pain makes you afraid of picking up your kids. Your sciatic pain is preventing you from training for your A priority race. Or maybe your shoulder mobility is preventing you from snatching or doing kipping pull-ups. At Integration Bodywork, I help people overcome these obstacles, with posture and movement assessment to find the hidden limitations, and the most effective manual therapy techniques backed by research. If you’re ready to move better, feel better, and live better, go to scheduling.integrationbodywork.net, and schedule your first appointment.
And we’re back. I gave you the origin story of this podcast already, and now I want to tell you about mine. Like most massage therapists, I tried a few other things before I went to massage school. I graduated in 2004 from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with that. I had a job for a year, just kicking around Columbus, Ohio, and then I went out west to teach at a Physics and Outdoor Ed camp, and that was really fun. I got to blow up hydrogen balloons, and do ropes course elements with kids, do telescopes. It was really fun, and I knew I wanted to teach. I didn’t want to teach high school or middle school kids, though, I thought, I wanted to teach college kids so I could do the Calculus and the hard math, which means I needed a PhD.
I went to grad school, and it was definitely the wrong time in my life for that program, and definitely the wrong program. I’m watching my wife right now getting a PhD, and there’s no way I was ready to output that kind of effort when I was 24. Those few who have a PhD yourself know how important your advisor is, and I definitely did not get a good one. After two years as a very mediocre graduate student, I tried my hand at classroom teaching, teaching high school physics, coaching, being a dorm parent, doing that triple threat thing at a school in Massachusetts. While I loved being with the kids, and doing science, and doing all that stuff, the lesson planning and grading papers and all that administrative part was just not for me.
In the midst of all this, fortunately, I actually had found the CrossFit.com website in 2006. I was supposed to be taking my mechanics take-home final, but instead I was fooling around on the LetsRun.com world famous message boards, and somebody linked to it. From there, I started just following it on a regular basis. I was still doing my own thing, trying to do some rock climbing, doing some master’s track and field training, but I started following a little bit, playing around with barbells and some of their ideas, and I learned a lot about movement and mechanics and how humans are really supposed to move. We moved to Portland in 2009, and continued to sort of do my own thing. I found Kelly Starrett’s Mobility WOD right when episode 10 dropped, which is really early in this online mobility, lacrosse ball, self-care craze that swept YouTube and the rest of the internet.
Between CrossFit.com and Mobility WOD, and actually Mark Rippetoe’s book Starting Strength, I really got a crash course in biomechanics and movement, and I got really interested in how people are supposed to move, where the most common dysfunctions are, and how to fix them. I thought, “Okay, cool. I’m really into this CrossFit thing, let me try to get my Level 1 and be a personal trainer.” So that’s what I did. I got my Level 1 in 2011, one of the first group of people to be accredited, and tried to be a personal trainer. I couldn’t be hired, my gym wasn’t ready to hire staff yet, so I tried to be self-employed, and I was not ready for that. Not ready to market, sell, plan, do all the stuff that a business owner needs to do, especially starting from scratch. So I said, now what?
I knew my wife wanted to go back to grad school, which meant we might be moving, so what could I do that’s portable? Well, I finally got talked into working for my chiropractor as a chiropractic assistant, and from the moment I walked into that clinic, I knew that was exactly the place I wanted to be, where I could help people, help them move better, think about how movement works, talk to really smart people about how to fix things, and how things should be, and it was exactly the right spot. I knew I didn’t want to just be checking people in and doing ultrasound all day long. I went back to massage school, to East West College of the Healing Arts, similar in name, but not the same institution as the East-West here in Madison, and got my certificate in massage therapy.
I got really lucky, I was really fortunate that Jonathan Primack, Alex Susbauer, and the illustrious Jon Hart are all instructors there. Those three instructors were, and are, world-class, both practitioners themselves, but also instructors in these sort of structurally oriented manual therapy that I do, myofascial release and other sort of related techniques. It was exactly the perfect match between my big physics brain, my strength and conditioning and movement expertise, and a manual intervention that I could help people get better really fast.
Now, one of the fun things about being a chiropractic assistant in Oregon is that you can give 30 minute deep tissue massages under a chiropractor’s license. I got hired by a different chiropractor to do that during my last quarter in massage school, which was a great opportunity to be able to put into practice what I was learning, and get paid for it, before I was actually out and licensed on my own. This is where I also started on my journey to being self-employed, because I thought, “Okay, sure, he wanted to tell me how I was going to practice, and I said sure, ‘I can take direction.'” I was wrong. I can’t take direction on how I do my job in here. I need to do my own thing, and that wasn’t a good fit.
Fortunately, my wife got into grad school, we moved here to Madison, and I went to work pretty much right away, at Therapeutic Massage Center of Middleton for Carmela Wiese, while I was holding down a part-time job. I’m really grateful to Carmela for that opportunity. I got a lot of experience working with patients, or working with clients, and doing intakes, and being a good therapist, without having to think about any of the mechanics of being a business owner first. But, as is becoming a theme here, I was not a good independent contractor either, so I decided, “Okay, I have to open my own shop.” I opened my doors on November 2nd in 2015. My second child was born on November 10th, 2015, which is really a good life plan. I’ve been here in the Quarry Arts building here in Madison ever since.
All right. Well, that’s my origin story. That’s the origin story of this podcast. Thank you so much for listening today. If you liked it, and you want to get more just like it, you’re excited to hear about these guests I have coming down the pike, please be sure to subscribe on iTunes, and if you liked it, give us a five star rating on iTunes. Leave a positive review so that other people can find this podcast, and help it reach as many people here in Madison, and around the world I suppose, as possible. My name is Scott Robison, I’m a licensed massage therapist in Madison, Wisconsin, and I look forward to seeing you next week. Take care.