What made me interested?
I started a career in cosmetology after I graduated from a technical high school and got a job at a local salon and spa. I received my first massage at my place of work with an awesome massage therapist! I felt so at ease afterwards and thought “Wow. This is something else!”. I worked there for about 4 years and got to know the massage therapists who sub-contracted at the salon and spa. I focused mainly on esthetics, facial treatments in particular, which included a facial massage as well as a hand and arm massage during the masque treatment. It was always great to see my clients express how wonderful they felt after their session. I thoroughly enjoyed performing the massage portion of the facial treatments and really emphasized on that part since I knew that massage helped with muscle tone and circulation of important nutrients for skin health. During the time working in the salon and spa I became interested in energy work and received my Reiki I&II.
I loved the aspect of energy work, but knew from studying holistic health that the physical body needed addressed too. That was when I started thinking seriously about the possibility of getting into massage therapy. Even my at-the-time facial clients asked if I was a massage therapist and when I answered no they would say with enthusiasm “Well, you should be!”
Who inspired me?
I would say that the amazing massage therapists I have been treated by are the ones who inspired me initially. They were always dedicated to helping their clients feel better and improve their quality of life. I saw that they were full of passion for their career and helping others!
My clients were also my inspiration, of course. They saw potential in me and a few would even ask me every month when they came in for their skin treatment “Did you start going to school for massage yet??”. I knew people were out their who needed my help and they were definitely asking for it! Not to mention during the time I was looking into massage therapy and while attending school, there was (and still is) a shortage of massage therapists out there!
When did I officially decided to “jump the gun” and just do it?
It wasn’t until I started at a new place of work, another local spa and wellness center, that I fully committed to applying to a massage therapy program. At that point I felt like my career was stable enough to be able to go to school while still working, and the owner of the spa was fully supportive of me doing so! That is SO important when you want to go back to school while working. I don’t think I could have made it with all the support I had from people including my instructors and classmates. It was definitely a challenging time and felt so scary going back to school.
How did I choose the massage school to go to?
I did a bit quite a bit of research on massage therapy schools in my area as well as asked what schools the (knowledgeable and talented!) massage therapists I have seen attended. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a program that wanted to get you in and out like a factory just to show how many graduates they had and threw you into a class of 40 or more other students who were at a different part of the program than you. I wanted to attend somewhere that had a smaller number of students and you were with the same group throughout. I felt that was important because you could have a support system together while at the same step as everyone else. It would also benefit to have more individual attention from instructors with a smaller group. The quality of education and percentage of graduates passing the Mblex (massage & bodywork licensing exam) was also very important to me because it would show that they wanted to help these students become successful professionals.
I actually looked at a massage therapy school that I was really interested in with the standards I set, but found out that they did not do any financial aid, which is something I needed at the time. At that point I got very upset since there were not a ton of options in my area and thought it wasn’t meant to be….until ALAS! The program I actually ended up attending was brought to my attention by an incredible massage therapist who owns a wellness center in my area. I had an interview with the program director and was totally sold! I was assured that they were accredited and that they had over a 90% pass rate for their students taking the Mblex exam! Their class maximum was 20 students for full-time day program and 12 students for part-time night program at the time and most of their instructors had about 20 years experience in the massage industry with varying backgrounds in specialty.
So that’s my story on how I got into massage and became a licensed massage therapist! For any of you who are thinking about joining the massage therapy field, going to school for it is a big commitment learning ALL about the body (kinesiology, anatomy &physiology, pathology), ethics, business, etc. But it is also an AMAZING journey in which you will grow in ways you wouldn’t expect. I hope to inspire upcoming massage therapists just like the therapists who inspired me, that they will see the joy in working with the human body and how simple touch can benefit peoples lives in all sorts of ways! I started this blog to educate clients and massage therapists alike. I hope to share with you my experiences as a professional and as an ever continuing student while studying my specialties. For now, I hope you’re INSPIRED!