We all experience pain in our lives from time to time and the pain can come in a variety of ways; emotional, spiritual, physical. At times, it is severe and we don’t know how to cope. As strange as this may sound to some, pain can also help us. Without getting into the subject on a philosophical level, suffice to say, pain and hardships can help us by strengthening, renewing or restoring our life. It can also open up doors we never thought of opening. This is exactly what happened to Gerard Rowley.
Gerard was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England and as a youngster, the family moved around quite a bit. “It was difficult because to visit my friends, I had to travel quite a bit but if you wanted to keep in touch, that’s what you had to do,” he said.
His father owned a steel fabrication business and from the time that Gerard was about 13, he began his working career. “I actually started on a farm. I milked the cows, cleaned up after them; I’d let them out because in those days they were out on the pasture and they had to come back in twice a day to be milked. I also delivered milk,” he explained. As if this wasn’t enough, he also had a paper route. “I needed the money so that I could spend it on clothes and records and stuff,” he laughed.
The middle of three children, Gerard didn’t particularly enjoy school. “I didn’t understand the importance of it. I liked to have fun. Many of my teachers were too Victorian. I think that if they had made learning fun, I would have enjoyed it. I was always keen on history and I did enjoy reading, though.”
He attended technical college for four years after high school, where he studied mechanics. “I worked in a garage after that and then got into welding and then fabrication.” He married Julie in 1986 and four years later, the couple immigrated to Canada to get away from the hustle and bustle of the English cities as well as the downturn in the British economy. “After we arrived here, looking for work was rather difficult. No one recognized my qualifications so I had a decision to make. I could either go back to school and train for the same thing or retrain altogether,” he said.
Then, Gerard injured his back and the pain resulted in a major change in his life. “My back injury resulted from moving a couch into an elevator. I heard my back click and pop and then came the numbness and pain. For six months I was in extreme pain. I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit, and I couldn’t sleep. There was just no comfortable position,” he recalled. Gerard began receiving massage therapy and one day he began telling the massage therapist that he was looking for work; preferably in the medical field. “He recommended that I look into massage therapy and once I looked into it, I realized that it was everything that I wanted. The other thing was that because of my injury, I had a good perspective of what people feel when they’re in pain,” he said.
In 1995, Gerard returned to school and two years later graduated from the West coast College of Massage Therapy. “I started as a Registered Massage Therapist in early 1998. It has been a good career and very rewarding. I like to be able to help people out,” he smiled. Gerard was working out of the Chilliwack Chiropractic Health Clinic but as of July 3rd, he moved into his own premises on Chilliwack Central Road, just east of Prest Road. “I was with the Clinic for 13 years and they were good people and the staff was great but sometimes it’s just time to move on and do your own thing,” he said.
Gerard is a very calm, kind and straightforward guy; a demeanor that undoubtedly helps him in his career. When he has some down time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two lovely children and admits that he still loves his books.