When life gives you lemons ... make sunshine.

Course on protecting hands

Deep Roots Massage was founded on a vision of a working culture that supports lifelong professional development. When Cassie "Sunshine" Sundstrom, a key member of our massage therapy team, suddenly experienced symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, her full recovery was not only a high priority but also a test of our ideals.

Our office staff immediately set to work rescheduling Cassie’s clients with other therapists for the duration of her recovery and filing for workers’ compensation to help recover her lost wages and medical expenses.
She’d been prescribed six weeks of light-duty work.

Six weeks of rest is an impossibility for many massage therapists. “Light duty” work often isn’t available when your product is hands-on bodywork. Our challenge was to provide Cassie with meaningful work while supporting her recovery and making sure she could return at 100 percent.

Mark and Cassie worked together to come up with a plan that began with Cassie studying comprehensive hand- and wrist-saving concepts for manual therapists and working out how she could apply what she learned to her own techniques. The culmination of that plan, a workshop with our whole massage therapy team that she would lead, was the subject of our most recent training lab.

So, instead of being out of work for more than a month, Cassie was able to take paid time to learn and create a workshop for other therapists to extend their own careers by taking care of their hands and wrists. And after adhering religiously to her recovery plan, Cassie has recovered at 110 percent. She's saved a career she loves and added a new challenge to integrate perfect mechanics into her own style. Her clients are really pleased with the results in addition to having her back. And now she's preaching the gospel of what she's learned and really fired up about what she’s doing!

This was just the most recent training lab our therapists have participated in. At Deep Roots, the staff trains together for more than 40 hours each year. Other recent massage labs included a shoulder anatomy and movement class with Paula Aarons, a dancer, Pilates instructor and movement specialist based in Keene, upper and lower body myofacial workshops with Kevin Comeau, professor of Advanced Massage Therapy at River Valley Community College and a cadaver anatomy lab with osteopath and muscular therapist, Vickie Branch at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

Cassie’s recipe for success
Cassie was fortunate to able to recover so well and so quickly and luck often comes to those who work hard
• Begin treatment IMMEDIATELY at the onset of symptoms.
• REST - usually a minimum of 6 weeks.
• DO physical therapy.
• CHANGE the way you work. Avoid or change certain activities, take breaks, spread out the workload.
• Keep using the rest of your body – EXERCISE!
• Do PT homework stretches/exercises regularly and faithfully.
• Wear the splint, all day every day.
• Get MASSAGE (Cassie received work from fellow therapists Sean, Stephanie, and Angie).

* The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include sharp pain, numbness, and tingling in your wrist, hand, thumb and middle fingers. Even small movements of your wrist can be extremely painful. Carpal tunnel is a debilitating condition that can end the career of someone who works with their hands and one of the many reasons why the national average career span for a massage therapist is less than 6 years.