1. Tell us a bit more about you and your practice as it is today? i.e. are you a solo practitioner or a business owner? If solo, what kind of an establishment do you work for, how large is it, what is the clientele like, what is the specialty offered? If it is a business that you own, kindly include the same time of relevant information that will give the reader a good idea about your establishment/practice. Please also include where you live and work?
My business right now is mainly teaching Equine Massage Classes. I recently opened 2 new facilities in TN and Utah with LMT’s to teach there. My specialty is teaching how to find the CAUSE of pain, and then to help create groundwork/under saddle exercises to help to rebuild those areas-I call that my ‘Rehab Strategies’ . I live and work in Milan, IN. My business is Midwest Natural Healing for Animals.
2. Tell us why you chose to go into massage and at what point in your life did you decide to do so? What were you doing at the time? Where did you first hear about the massage career? What factors influenced your decision? What were you looking to get out of this decision?
I started after working with a top equine chiropractor from 1997-1999, what he was able to do with horses using chiropractic practices / acupuncture was incredible, and he encouraged me to become Certified.
I was looking to be able to help horses like he was doing. I have since that time impressed him with a lot of the work I have done.
3. What were some of your questions and concerns before further pursuing your massage therapy goals?Talk about concerns with school and the profession itself.
I just wanted to learn how to help horses, I really had no concerns. The main thing that is lacking in schools these days are the hands on work, and making sure the students are correct, as well as what I call the ‘outside influences’ what caused the pain to begin with? No other schools teach that.
Along with instructors that have no experience, they go to classes, then hang their ‘I’m an instructor’ sign! Putting even less knowledgeable Equine Massage Therapists out there and making our profession a joke.
4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?
My specialty, Certifying the Best CESMT’s, people that go out and know what they’re doing, know how to help the horse, and get it better-when others cannot. My Rehab in particular-and several specific massage modalities that nobody else has.
Contributing factors? My riding instructor, my chiro, Dr. Mark Haverkos, and Dr. Nancy Nicholson-equine Biomechanics expert.
5. What do you like about your specialty? I can help horses when nobody else can, can provide them with relief. What do you like about what you do in general as a career?
I developed this information myself, most of it-by trial and error, proving myself along the way. Why? I have a sense of pride of what I’ve accomplished! Nobody else has figured out things I have.
6. What do you not like about what you do? Working with people who think they want help, when in fact, they want a quick fix. Why?
Most times, it’s the owner that is the problem, or causing it-and getting them, or their trainer to change is very difficult.
7. If there were three things you could change about your work or the industry as a whole what would they be? Why would you change them? What would you change them to?
A little more regulation on who can teach, what their qualifications need to be and showing what their students are doing now. Without that last part, how can people make an informed decision on what school to go to?
8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?
As long as I can! and after, I will mentor my students (as I already do) and my instructors, so we can continue putting the BEST CESMT’s out there for these majestic animals we are privileged to work on.
9. Do you currently have another job or business whether full time or part time? Tell us a bit more about it and how you are able to juggle that with your massage career?
This is all that I do right now, teach and mentor. I have a few regular clients I do work on.
10. What are some mistakes you made in your career pursuit that you’d like to warn other students about so they can learn from your experience and avoid it?
Never give away your secrets in your first class, there is always someone out there who will steal them, call them their own, and teach them. yes it happened to me.
11. What would you advice someone who is looking at massage therapy schools? What do you recommend they look for and how? How do you recommend they determine whether the school is the right one for them?
Experience and knowledge of the instructor, the curriculum-what is taught? Is it ‘just massage’? Because if that is all-then its not enough-not for the Equine. Look at what the students are doing. Contact the school, talk to the instructor-see what kind of feedback you get in your first contact with them. Do they reply quickly? Are they open to speaking with you that day? If not, what happens when you go home and have questions? Who will you call? Will they respond quickly, or at all?? Will they leave you hanging without a ‘safety net’? I don’t, in fact I have a secret group on Facebook too for all my students to go on there and help each other.
12. What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?
Get a loan! most times, you will make the money back in 3-6months.
13. What are your three biggest points of advice for an aspiring massage therapist today? What should they do/not do? What should they think about and consider?
Work correctly, save your shoulders. Work in your comfort zone, don’t lie to people, if you don’t know the answer, tell them you’ll find out. Keep prices affordable for people to come to you-Dad always said, 10% of $100 is more than 0% of $1000…:)
14. My prediction for the massage profession is that I think it will become more strict with laws and training. I believe that those who are teaching will have to have more credentials to teach someone else.
15. My other passions include ballroom dancing! Love to cha cha, swing, and waltz.