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“I was a new rider without a lot of experience, and I got nervous and hit the front brake, turned the handlebars, and went flying. Boom! “
  • Calvin Canales
Feet Back on the Ground: Calvin

Master of Massage: Calvin Canales

The sequence of events that guided the trajectory of Massage Therapist Calvin Canales’ career path are interconnected in a fairly straightforward way, though the first couple were nearly tragic. Those that followed, however, were fortuitous.

It Begins with a Crash

“It began when I was 19,” says Cal. “I was involved in a motorcycle accident. I was on my way to school during my second semester. It was 11:30-12:00, there was nobody on the road, and I was kind of joyriding (speeding) as young kids will do. I blew past a state trooper hiding in the hills. A quick glance to see if he’d noticed me meant that by the time I looked up, I was heading into the wall of the overpass. I was a new rider without a lot of experience, and I got nervous and hit the front brake, turned the handlebars, and went flying. Boom! With a dented helmet (without which I’d have died), shredded riding gloves, and a severe case of road rash, I got up and looked for my phone so that I could call somebody—fortunately, someone who had pulled over called 911. I had a pretty bad concussion for about a month, but nothing broken or fractured. My Halloween costume that year was…well, I didn’t need one because of the rash.

Then that December, I got into a bad car accident. It was snowing, and an elderly woman decided to make a left turn (though I had the right-of-way) at the last minute. Again, long story short—the car was totaled, but once more, nothing broken, nothing fractured.”

One Thing Leads to Another

At this point in the narrative, things begin to take a turn for the better. “I saw a chiropractor, then I saw a physical therapist, and finally I saw a massage therapist. We got to talking, and I was immediately interested. I asked her about her practice, how she became a massage therapist, and what she liked about her career choice. ‘I’m my own boss,’ she said. ‘No one tells me how to perform my treatments, I get to meet new people every day in addition to my regulars, and I can set my own hours. Come and go as I please.’ I was, like, ‘That sounds amazing!’ Within a week, I’d visited the school she had attended and got some information, and instead of just walking away with the info, I signed up then and there.”

Coming to Incentives

Cal became aware of Incentives through a friend who was both a gym member and a spa customer. “A client of mine from an earlier job placement, actually,” he says. “She asked me if I was interested in another job. ‘If it’s right for me, of course!’ I answered. I spoke first to Maria (Hogan) then (Incentives Manager) Heidi Manzo, and here I am!”

Whatever It Takes

Cal prides himself on his versatility. He doesn’t identify a favorite approach to treatment or specialty but instead describes himself as highly adaptable and responsive to the client’s needs. “Whatever you need me to do, that’s where I will direct my focus,” he says. He does allow that he is fond of Deep Tissue work. “It can feel like exercise,” he says. “Something close to a workout.” It’s not a surprising response; Cal presents as a powerful, extremely fit individual who is himself no stranger to the gym. So there’s something about the process of transformation that strongly motivates him. “Something about observing as the body moves from a stressed state to a relaxed state,” he explains. “It’s incredible. I’ve been doing this for nine years now, and it still amazes me. It’s crazy. As soon as you’re done, the person is so relaxed…’ a wet noodle’… it’s just incredible to see that transition from start to finish.”

“I’m the type of person that tries to be as present as possible,” he continues. “So for me, it wasn’t as though I planned to be a massage therapist; it kind of developed according to what seems to me to be a natural sequence, with each stage of the journey developing from what came before and leading, again, naturally, to what would follow. I’ve always been good with my hands, always helped my father with construction projects and jobs around the house, so just hands-on and handy that way—plus, I just don’t see myself as a ‘desk guy.’ Moving around, talking with people, the personal touch, and the hands-on aspect has been very satisfying to me. It has led me to a place where I feel like I can excel.”

Impressive Impression

The impression one gets speaking to Cal is that of a thoughtful, powerful professional possessing the sensitive hands that deliver the discerning, diagnostic touch therapeutic massage requires. When asked what makes him unique, without hesitation and with a smile, he says, “My pressure! But really, it’s my in-depth knowledge and understanding of the body. When I’m working, I can feel the areas of tension and the areas that are more relaxed and can direct my efforts where the most attention is needed. I can ‘read’ the body and focus my efforts accordingly. And, in all reality, a lot of it comes down to the client. The better they are at communicating what they are experiencing and what they want, the better able I am to help them.”

About The Author

Paul Smith
  • Paul Smith

Paul Smith manages member communications and graphic design for Fitness Incentive and Incentives Spa. He is a frequent contributor to Fit to Print.

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