When Rhianna Bridgett, 28, was an eight year old girl practising her massage skills at home, she never expected it would eventually lead her to a fruitful career as a myotherapist with a management role supporting one of this country’s most loved Australian AFL/VFL football clubs.
It took Rhianna eventually working out what she didn’t want, to gain the courage to embrace the career she’d always been fascinated by. After being slowly worn down by shift work in a supervisory role with a serviced apartment chain, Rhianna recognised something needed to change and fast.
“I was 22 years old and having to deal with a lot of confrontation from customers in my job. I ended up feeling physically sick at the thought of going to work every day, and it eventually triggered in me the realisation that I didn’t want to feel like that for the rest of my life,” Rhianna said.
When considering her options, Rhianna came back to her childhood love of massage and decided to follow her heart and throw everything she had at pursuing a manual therapies career. She started off completing a Certificate IV and Diploma in Remedial Massage before enrolling in Endeavour College of Natural Health’s myotherapy degree.
“Enrolling at Endeavour was a big deal as I was the first person in my family to go to uni, let alone successfully obtain a degree. I had been told numerous times growing up by my peers that I’d never be smart enough to go to uni, and it felt good to prove those people wrong,” Rhianna said.
“While I was studying I was lucky enough to pick up a cadetship with the Western Bulldogs AFL team and was asked to stay on afterwards. At the same time one of my lecturers offered me a spot at his clinic as a remedial therapist, and I also got a job at a physiotherapy clinic. I’m proud to say I kept all three jobs throughout my studies with Endeavour.”
Rhianna said as soon as she started working in the industry she knew she was in the right place.
“It felt like home straight away, and my confidence continued to build as I gained more experience,” Rhianna said.
Since graduating from Endeavour Rhianna has continued to work closely with the Western Bulldogs AFL team, currently in her fourth season as Head Trainer for their VFL division.
“My role with the Bulldogs sees me work closely with the team’s physiotherapists and doctors and managing other trainers to ensure the players have all the support they need to flourish on field. A highlight for me was when both VFL and AFL teams I work with won their premiership – it was so rewarding, having worked with the players so closely,” Rhianna said.
Rhianna also works at a popular Melbourne physiotherapy clinic called Physio Plus as the only myotherapist, a role she relishes.
“It’s like my second family there – we’re a close knit group. I treat a lot of athletes and office workers, and it has been wonderful to see so many of our physios refer clients to me for additional cupping, dry needling or other manual therapy work,” Rhianna said.
Rhianna has also become the master of multitasking, currently halfway through Endeavour’s Honours program and making impressive headway into her project dedicated to the efficacy of dry cupping on Australian athletes.
Her love affair with manual therapies has now gone full circle, with Rhianna recently accepting a tutoring position at Endeavour to help educate Australia’s next wave of myotherapists.
“I’ve loved every moment working as a myotherapist, and now to be giving back to the profession is an absolute career highlight. We are such a unique modality with so much to offer clients with musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction, and I love watching our industry come into its own.”