Helping people with their ailments has always been something that Carl Sowden was interested in.
Sowden worked in the Five Hills Health Region for nearly 30 years in many different capacities, but has always had the idea of massage therapy in the back of his mind. This is a desire that began in a very unconventional way.
"My next-door neighbour was the middle linebacker for the [Caronport High School] Cougars and asked me to give him a back rub one day," explained Sowden. "I told him that I didn't know how to give back rubs but he said, 'I don't care. I'm in so much pain that anything will help.'"
That one time massage turned into a massage after every football game. That one client turned into a handful and Sowden realized that he enjoyed helping people out in this way.
However, Sowden’s experience in massage didn't stop there. When he was in nursing school, a friend of his who was a Registered Massage Therapist found himself in need of a massage. Instead of paying a massage therapist for something that he himself was a professional at, he taught Sowden how to properly massage and would trade Sowden for massages once a month. This deal continued for 10 years.
When Sowden was eying retirement from nursing, he returned to school in 2004 to become an RMT. Once he was in the last legs of his schooling, he found a need in Caronport that fit his talents perfectly.
"My last year of school I needed volunteer hours, and my son Shane was the Athletic Director for [Caronport High School]" Sowden shared. "He put me in touch with Nolan [Weinmaster, coach of the] the women's volleyball program so I worked with them that winter. The next fall I graduated and Shane was coaching the women's basketball team and [asked me] to come help out."
Since graduation from the RMT program, Sowden has put in seven years of work with Briercrest athletics, and now goes into his ninth year treating all six of Briercrest's College teams with pre and post game mini-treatments as well as year-round treatment for anyone interested in his services.
Once Sowden began putting more time and effort into his massage business, Caronport was a natural choice take root in once again. Not only was the move to Caronport good for Sowden, but it also made much more sense logistically for his clients, 50% of whom were based in Caronport.
"The drawback when I was [working] in Moose Jaw was that a lot of [college aged clients] don't have vehicles," Sowden said. "To get there [from Caronport] was a bit challenging."
"Come September, there's going to be 100 more athletes within 2 blocks of me and 500 more students," exclaimed Sowden. "I don't think I'm going to be bored!"
The move to Caronport also facilitated the opportunity to work with a former client in Monica Crocker.
"My year [in Caronport], I was on the basketball team and [Carl's] son Shane was my coach," Crocker explained. "Carl came and would do massages for us...So when I came back in town, he found out I was an RMT, contacted me and offered for me to help him with the current athletes."
Sowden always cared about making people feel comfortable, so adding Crocker to his fold was an easy decision.
"I really like working with Monica. For one thing, it shares the load. For another thing, it gives people the option between male and female [massaging them]."
When it comes down to it, family was perhaps the biggest reason that Sowden relocated his business to Caronport.
"I really wanted to be closer to the grandsons and we are four houses away from the elementary school," Sowden said through a smile. "There's not a lot of grandparents that can say that!"