The Top Three Most Influential Factors in my Decision to Pursue Massage Therapy – Lauren Steward

Lauren StewardHello! My name is Lauren Steward.

I am approaching 29 years of age.

I have a precious little three and four-year-old and a wonderful husband of 7 years.

When I was a young girl, I lived in what I perceived as a very limited world with limited resources.

I lost sight of who I was and what I wanted to do.

Therefore, I changed my major several times in college, took a year off, and went back to become a teacher.

I chose this at the time because after losing multiple jobs.

And not being able to pay rent, and having his car repossessed.

My husband began to build his own business.

I was terrified of our finances and decided.

That I needed a secure job that was going to provide what we needed a month to month.

Moreover, I decided that working in public school.

I wouldn’t have to worry about this aspect of providing for my family and paying the bills while having enough left over to save and travel.

It was a simple solution for what I thought we needed at the time.

Over the past several years through teaching in different avenues.

I have broken a lot of chains that held me back in my past – “Lauren Steward“.

I have grown exponentially in my personal and spiritual development.

And I have been fortunate to break out of a limited perspective of life in rediscovering who I am.

Passions, Desires, And Interests A Part Of My Life

And how I can make my passions, desires, and interests a part of my daily life and career.

I had been living my life in a box for years, shutting down all my potential to be any sort of creative.

And I didn’t believe at all that I was capable of doing anything on my own.

Especially something that could make me so happy in reflecting my heart of hearts.

I made it my mission to begin creating a life where I can be my most authentic self in living holistically.

When I decided to overcome my fear of stepping out into the unknown and to learn how to run my own business.

I chose massage therapy to follow my calling in helping people learn to operate holistically in a beautifully balanced world of mind, body, and soul.

This career move is a choice that will allow me to reach my potential as a wellness advocate by infusing my passion and interest for anatomy and physiology with natural living and holistic processes.

I fully believe that my path in education and administration equipped me for the tools.

I need to be able to step out successfully into this new realm.

The top three most influential factors in my decision to pursue this path – “Lauren Steward“.

Flexible Of Work Schedule – “Lauren Steward”

That includes the flexibility of making my own work schedule.

And to connect with others in my community to help raise awareness for health and wellness, and to be true to who I am.

Going to school for massage therapy while working a full-time job and raising two small children has been no simple task.

And I am very fortunate to have such a strong emotional support system.

For the direction, I am going in my life.

I need to be able to have a flexible schedule to meet the needs of my clients, my family, and myself.

Eventually, being stuck in a school building for 8+ hours a day with no breaks no longer fit into my spiritual and physical well-being.

I had reached a place where I was ready to work hard to create a reality that would meet my needs.

And would give me space to make connections with my community to start building a clientele.

And dreaming of what I can bring to my family and community in this business.

I am very excited about building a business where I can thrive in doing what I love individually while working with other health and wellness minded individuals to host workshops, events, and retreats.

Some of my main questions and concerns about this career – Lauren Steward.

Include how I am going to protect my body in order to perform this physically taxing service as a full-time job.

And how I can maximize my income to continue to meet the needs of my household.

I foresee myself pursuing massage for as long as my body can perform. My goal is 20 years;

Probably, I know this is possible because as a healer.

I take very good care of myself first before I can work on others.

Therapists Life Cycle

Most therapists I know burn out by 6-10 years.

But I am fortunate to know some therapists who have been in it for 15-20 years.

And who are willing to help me learn correct body mechanics and build on my current self-care habits.

The most concerning part for sure is the income.

I am confident that my business sense will only get stronger.

And that every lesson I learn will be the best thing for myself and my business.

But getting out there and marketing myself to build a clientele to start off with making any kind of money to pay the bills is the biggest question mark.

As I approach graduation merely two months away – “Lauren Steward“.

I see practicing massage therapy as the tip of the iceberg on this new journey I have chosen to embark upon.

It will be the basis of my business as I incorporate essential oil classes and events, possible yoga teacher training in the future.

And learning other types of mind, body and soul work.

I could see myself possibly teaching massage at an accredited school at the end of my practicing career as I (Lauren Steward) will be very close to “retirement”.

Also, I use this term loosely because my love for this lifestyle is a reflection of who I am and I do not see myself ever being truly done with massage therapy.

I am excited to dabble in some other types of therapies as mentioned above.

But my passion for the human body and my love for education go hand in hand as a future teacher of massage.

In conclusion, I am so thrilled to finally be here looking out into a universe of immense possibility, healing the world one message at a time!

My Journey in Exploring the Different Styles, Influences and Traditions of Massage Therapy – Erica Esham

Erica EshamMy timeline is a windy road with twists and turns – “Erica Esham.”

I have always been in therapies which involved and healing modalities.

Before pursuing a career in massage therapy.

I most recently earned my 500 hour certification in tantra yoga while studying in an ashram abroad.

Here, I also had the opportunity to work closely with a massage therapist who specialized in abhyanga massage, shiatsu and traditional Chinese medicine.

I had the opportunity to give massage and teach a massage-therapy method for the first while working in the ashram.

It was something, I had a deep interest in pursuing further.

Previous to this, I had continued my self-study of herbalism and enrolled in Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal correspondence course.

I have been a photography professor in the university setting, given children’s art classes and taught continuing education for adults as well.

I love for my work to enrich the lives of others that I interact with!

It wasn’t until I became pregnant that I understood the intrinsic value of massage.

Following news of my pregnancy, I was thrust into a whirlwind of change and uncertainty.

I was living abroad with my partner and was forced to quickly leave the country, abandoning my life, business and many of my personal belongings to return to the States.

It was a tough time and one of the most significant challenges I have faced in my life.

I am now a single mother and a survivor of domestic abuse.

Since returning to the states, I have sought out traditional, psychological therapies as well as less Western.

And more therapeutic-based therapies to aid in recovering parts of myself I felt were lost in this process.

One I have a particular interest in is Mayan Abdominal massage.

I have found this modality to be particularly helpful in restoring balance to my gut and realigning my organs.

Which has shifted following pregnancy?

Throughout The Nine Months Of My Pregnancy – “Erica Esham

One of the therapies I found to be most helpful and supportive was massage.

I begin to regularly see a massage therapist during the last months of my pregnancy.

And I believe wholeheartedly that it changed the outcome of my daughter’s birth positively.

My job at the time was entirely physical.

I would sometimes stand on concrete floors for 10+ hours a day and sit at a computer or photograph for 9 hours straight.

By the 4th month of my pregnancyErica Esham.”

I had developed carpal-tunnel, severe back pain and my hip would often dislocate.

When I started receiving massage weekly or bi-weekly I felt a tremendous difference in my physical state.

The mental benefits of massage also became very apparent to me.

Due to my current situation; having left an abusive relationship, moving abruptly and dealing with stress surrounding my ability to support a child lacking much support.

I experienced difficulty encountering clarity surrounding my path.

My anxiety and racing thoughts were slowed when receiving massage.

And this quiet time I had given myself provided an opportunity to sort through the “chatter” in my mind and encounter a space of tranquility.

Emotionally, I was better able to release pent-up negative emotions I had been holding on to as a result of my situation.

There were times I felt like crying for weeks and was unable to do so due to being so busy.

I felt like crying many a time for weeks and was unable to do so due to being so busy.

I Only Slept And Worked, Often Working 50+ Hours A Week

There were times I would schedule a massage in the middle of my workday and go on my lunch break.

If it weren’t for these little breaks in the constant forward movement, I would have felt like my days were merely being swept away.

They always gave me the “recharge” that I needed to continue moving forward thoughtfully.

I suppose I hadn’t recognized the real healing power of massage previous to my pregnancy because I had never felt “in need” of it.

Before, I valued message, but thought of it is a “treat” or occasional gift to myself – “Erica Esham.”

A luxury rather than something necessary.

I had also been wary of the expenses it incurred.

And even though I recognized the benefits, sometimes the financial obstacle was too much to overcome.

This is why I am interested in developing ways to make this healing art more available to those in need that may not necessarily have the funds to afford it.

Now, having organized training workshops for Thai Yoga Massage and working closely with several massage therapists.

I recognized the intricacies and differences between modalities of massage.

Most importantly, I believe I couldn’t see that previously.

Because I hadn’t had an opportunity to work with massage therapists closely and understand their craft.

I am excited to explore the different styles, influences and traditions of massage therapy in the program I am attending at the Avenue Five Institute in Austin, Texas.

Also, I know that with this deeper exploration I will find the modality or modalities.

That honestly speaks to me and “flow through me.

My Journey in Exploring the Different Styles, Influences and Traditions of Massage Therapy

” I look forward to sharing that with others and being proud of the work I do.”

“I am a truth seeker and passionate about pursuing paths that call to me.

But I withdrew myself from the program when I found out I was pregnant.

And I was enrolled in a massage program in 2016.

Following this news, I was thrust into a whirlwind of change and uncertainty.

Throughout the nine months of my pregnancy “Erica Esham.”

One of the therapies I found to be most helpful and supportive of the constant changes in my body was massage.

I began to regularly see a massage therapist during the last months of my pregnancy.

And I believe wholeheartedly that it changed the outcome of my daughter’s birth positively.

Not only were their physical benefits to the therapy, but the mental benefits were apparent as well.

After a massage, I felt as though I had some time to filter through my thoughts; I reduced my anxiety.

And I was capable of focusing on planning for this new life to enter into my world.

I hope to study massage therapy and focus on making these benefits more available to those in need.

Families that are without insurance are low-income, geriatric patients, and immigrants, amongst some new demographics.

And are in need of this supportive and therapeutic therapy just a much as the rest of us.

Erica Esham” With my education in the healing arts.

I hope to combine my new skills with my passion for herbalism and teaching yoga to provide services for those indeed in need.”

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Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination

Firstly, If you have recently graduated from massage therapy school and want to obtain a license, then there is a good chance that you will have to take the Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx).

Administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), the MBLEx was designed to provide a minimum standard for entry into the massage therapy profession.

Hence, If you live in the state that has the regulatory agency or board, the chances are good that you will need to take the MBLEx to obtain a state license.

Of the rules that regulate massage therapy, only New York and Hawaii use Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination for their state test.

Nearly all of the other states with regulations require or accept the MBLEx as an examination for board licensing.


In 2005, the FSMTB was founded, in part to establish a “valid and reliable licensing examination”.

And to “bring commonality in licensing requirements to assist with professional mobility.”

(  Before that, many states administer their licensing examination or relied on the certification examination conducted by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).

As of 2014, possibly the NCBTMB no longer offers an entry-level licensing examination.

MBLEx Content

According to their 2017 Handbook, the MBLEx test questions cover Anatomy and Physiology – the structures and functions of the bodily systems; Kinesiology – functions and concepts surrounding muscles and joints;  Pathology, Contraindications, Cautions and Special Populations – knowing when you should not do massage or what precautions to take under certain circumstances, including knowing what medications may affect your client’s response;

Benefits and Physiological Effects of Massage –  physiological and psychological effects as well as different techniques and their effects;  Assessment, Re-Assessment, and Treatment Planning – organization of a session, client intake, data recording, types of assessments, and clinical reasoning; Modalities, Culture and History – overview of history, types of skill sets used in different settings, and different modalities that are incorporated in massage and bodywork;

Ethics, Boundaries, Laws, and Regulations – knowing how to maintain professional boundaries, work within your scope of practice, communicate professionally and maintain client confidentiality; and Guidelines for Professional Practice -hygiene, safety and business practices.

The handbook also contains a bibliography of texts that you can study to prepare for the MBLEx.

According to the manual, the literature will not be provided in future editions because it is not all-inclusive of appropriate texts.

Books Included In The Current List:

Beck, Mark F. Theory, and Practice of Therapeutic Massage. (5th edition).

Clifton Park: Milady, 2010.

Benjamin, Ben and Cherie SohnenMoe. The Ethics of Touch. (2nd edition). Tucson: Sohnen-Moe Associates, Inc., 2014.

Biel, Andrew. Trail Guide to the Body. (5th edition). Boulder: Books of Discovery, 2014.

Braun, Mary Beth, and Stephanie Simonson. Introduction to Massage Therapy. (3rd edition) Baltimore: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2014.

Fritz, Sandy. Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage. (6th edition). St. Louis: Mosby/Elsevier, 2017.

Fritz, Sandy. Mosby’s Essential Sciences for Therapeutic Massage: Anatomy, Physiology, Biomechanics, and Pathology. (5th edition). St. Louis: Mosby/Elsevier, 2017.

McIntosh, Nina. The Educated Heart: Professional Boundaries for Massage Therapists, Bodyworkers, and Movement Teachers. (3rdedition). Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2011.

Moore, Keith, Dalley, Arthur and Agur, Anne. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. (7th edition). Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2014.

Salvo, Susan G. Massage Therapy Principles, and Practice. (5th edition). St. Louis: Saunders/Elsevier, 2016.

Sohnen-Moe, Cherie. Business Mastery. (5th edition). Tucson: Sohnen-Moe Associates Inc., 2016.

Werner, Ruth. A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology. (6th edition). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer, 2016

Studying For The Test

In addition to the resources above and any assistance your school provides in researching, the FSMTB also sells a study guide for about $30.

Furthermore, there are other study resources available as well.

Most of all, ABMP offers an online exam coach to its members for about $75, and AMTA has a free study program.

Also, you can find some independent study guides at online booksellers such as and

MBLEx Logistics

To take the MBLEx, you must first apply.

Applications can be made by mail or online at

By using, you are attesting you have education and training in the areas of the examination.

You may be asked to provide evidence of your knowledge.

After your application is received, the FSMTB will process it within five days and send you an Authorization to Test (ATT).

Once an ATT is received, you can schedule your examination online or by phone.

The testing is done at Pearson VUE testing centers.

You must take your test within 90 days of receiving your ATT.

After you receive an email confirmation, you can make the test at your appointed date, time and place.

Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination

What Happens at the Testing Center, may need Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination.

Remember, when you arrive at the test center (at least 30 minutes before your test is scheduled), you will subject to some security protocols.

You will have your photograph was taken, and a biometric scan is done to confirm your identity.

Importantly, not allowable to leave the building until the test is complete.

If you do not get to your test site by the “report time” on your confirmation notice.

So you will not allow taking the test and will forfeit your application fee. However, Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination helps.

You will have to provide two forms of identification, at least one of which has your photograph on it.

Because expired documents will get refusal.

Make sure that your first and last names on your identification match exactly the name on the ATT.

Not allowable to bring any possessions into the testing room with you.

You will be provided a locker to put your belongings in before the test.

If you are wearing eyeglasses, layered clothing or accessories, they might get examination before the trial when it’s especially relevant.

The Test Is Taken On A Computer

It is 100 multiple choice questions, and allowable to 2 hours to complete it indeed!

Moreover, the questions must get an answer in the order you see them.

The test is an adaptive computer test, meaning problems get progressively more difficult as you answer correctly.

And then once you get one wrong, they get more comfortable again.

Unless you get approval for individual ADA testing accommodations, the clock does not stop if you need to take a bathroom break.

If you take a break and leave the room, you will have to undergo security protocols when you go and enter the room.

Once you complete your test, you will be given your results when you leave the room, therefore, you shall know if you passed right away.

If you failed, they would provide you with information on how you performed in each category, therefore, you shall know where your weaknesses were.

If you failed,  FSMTB allows you to re-take the test after 30 days, also, there is no limit to the number of times you can take it.

Your state board may have Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination limited other than those of FSMTB.

However, If you pass the examination, your results will report to the state regulatory agency and will be part of your license application file.

Hence remember that the MBLEx is only one part of what you must provide to the state to obtain licensure.

Alternatively, If you apply for a license in a different state in the future, then probably you can have your scores transferred by contacting FSMTB.

Pass/Fail Statistics

Also, statistics for 2014-2015 in the FSMTB Annual Report showed that 69.5% of first-time test takers passed the test.

And of those that re-took the test, also only 32.5% passed.


Most US states accept the MBLEx results as part of the licensure application for massage therapists.

Currently, the MBLEx is the only national licensing examination, so if you recently graduated from massage therapy school.

And that is the exam you will most likely need to take unless you live in Hawaii or New York.

However, if you are currently a massage therapist and previously took a test administered by the NCBTMB.

Then many states will accept that result when you are applying for a license in another state, also having Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination.

Finally, the MBLEx intends to be an entry-level examination for minimum standards for practice.

In conclusion, If you feel that you need additional test preparation beyond what you learned in school, there are some study guides and test preparation programs available.

Finding Healing Through Healing Work

I am originally from Maryland, just along the border with D.C. I come from a Chilean-British household and am a first-generation U.S.-born in my family and Finding Healing Through Healing Work.

From a young age, I have always circulated healing-oriented professions.

I’ve worked in the education system in many forms, such as camps, daycares, and primary schools, in both English and Spanish.

As I went to college, I began to develop a stronger passion for therapy and social work.

Which led me to a post-grad position working bilingually within a high school program oriented towards first-generation college students.

However, between my acceptance into this program and its commencement.

I not only began to dip my toes into natural healing modalities.

But I was also slowly developing uniquely tricky health issues that interfered with a standard, daily work and living routine.

Due to these circumstances, I felt both physically and spiritually unfit for the path I had set out.

My body was failing me, and I was starting to gain interest in working with it in a new way.

And through heightened awareness and gentle, loving care.

I gradually educated myself about herbal medicine, acupuncture, and nutrition and developed a newfound understanding of the connection between my body and mind.

Since this moment, I have continued to seek more knowledge about the body and its continuous functions.

Seeking proper health directed me towards doula work.

As I craved action in an empowering space that focused on autonomy.

Physical Therapy In The Fundamental Way

And advocacy for marginalized voices in the most fundamental experience.

Within the birth profession, I discovered a subtle yet strong inner voice that arose as a result of connectedness to the body.

After finding a new, healthy physical balance within my body, I relocated to Seattle to further progress as a doula and aspiring herbalist.

Within a few weeks of arriving, I was unexpectedly involved in a bike accident that left me unable to walk properly for several months.

And I continue to experience permanent nerve damage.

I sensed that this event would someday lead me towards a specific path around trauma and touch, and massage proves itself to be a sturdy door.

While I still struggle to allow professionals or loved ones to address the injured area.

I have received simple touch and acknowledgement of this space through physical therapy, dance, massage, and acupuncture.

The primary and intentional act of resting one’s hand on my ankle has moved me to tears.

To the point of me being reminded of and intrigued by the body’s ability to store unconscious feeling.

I hope not only to continue to work with my conscious healing through massage work.

But also to gain the knowledge to be able to address such themes more directly with those I serve in the future.

Although there is still work to be done around this experience.

The positive shifts I can feel revolve around a more profound desire to work with healing touch.

And to hold space for others overcoming the trauma of all forms.

Overcome Anger, Pain, Sadness, And Anxiety

I am now left with endless curiosity about the symbolism of our pain and trauma.

And how to move forward both consciously and with an openness towards excavating the unconscious.

Therefore, this event needed to occur for me to look beyond the surface of my physical body and finding healing through healing work.

And to delve into listening to it through a process of profound physical and emotional healing.

I cannot say that I have changed for the worse through this experience.

As every part of it has led me towards growth, whether I took a wrong turn in my recovery or not.

Anger, pain, sadness, and anxiety have all passed through me throughout this healing journey.

But I have learned something at every stage.

Therefore, I believe that I have only grown by Finding Healing Through Healing Work.

And now am thankful to have been direct towards massage therapy as a result.

If I hadn’t gone through this experience.

I would have been passing through each day without a keen sense of what my body is trying to tell me.

And how I can work with the physical and emotional pain that comes my way through the course of my life.

I feel incredibly fortunate and indebted to the law of nature in its way of directing open participants to their callings.

MTSI – Finding Healing Through Healing Work

Massage Therapy Schools Information is something malleable and applicable to all those seeking growth, awareness, and healing as a result.

I see the act of massage as a healing journey for both the therapist and the client.

And look forward to the insight that should come my way as I step forward into a humbling, body-focused profession

“I am a 25-year-old birth doula, unofficial herbalist, and aspiring massage therapist.

Originally from a town just outside of Washington, DC, I moved to Seattle, WA to work more directly within the various healing communities that related to my path.

Since running, I have craved work that involves more intentional and educated touch.

And therefore am especially interested in studying massage to offer more in finding healing through healing work for those I support.

I hope to use the skills I gain from massage therapy training to further my studies of psycho-somatics and trauma, as addressed through both movement and touch”.

Starting Up a Massage Therapy School in Wyoming

In Wyoming state, the practice of massage therapy is currently not regulated.  If you want to start a new massage therapy school Wyoming, you will have to get a license from the Wyoming Department of Education.

A Private Non-Degree Grants A Post-secondary School Licensure

However, in order to obtain a private school license, you will have to apply using an online application form on the Department of Education website.

There is a checklist of items you will need to have to complete the application.

Most of all, when you start the application, you need to make sure that you have completed the list.

You also need to complete the online form in one session.

The materials you need to provide includes:

  • A $10,000 original performance bond or you can also offer a final letter of credit;
  • A $200 license fee;
  • A $100 fee for a registered agent;
  • A list of names of all administrators and staff;
  • An attendance record form or book;
  • A copy of your enrollment contract including your tuition, fees, and refund policy;
  • An academic discipline policy;
  • A copy of a description of instructional methods and outlines;
  • A course outlines for each class;
  • A copy of a current financial statement;
  • A copy of a mission statement;
  • Proof of compliance with the city, the county, and the state regulations;
  • A copy of a graduation certificate.

The state regulations require that your school should meet the minimum standards for Starting Massage Therapy School Wyoming:

  • You must only teach the approved programs.
  • You must have enough space; equipment; an instructional material; and instructional personnel.
  • The administrative, as well as the instructional staff, must be qualified to teach and manage your program.
  • You have to provide the state with the information listed on the checklist indeed!
  • You must give an award; a certificate; or a diploma to students who have completed your program.
  • A maintain adequate records on attendance; the progress; or the grades.
  • You have to enforce the satisfactory standards with relates to the attendance, the progress, and the conduct.
  • Also, must comply with the city, the county, the state and the federal regulations.
  • You do not discriminate by the race, the creed, the color, the sex, or the national origin.
  • You do not use the misleading advertisements.
  • Your administrators and personnel should not have been convicted of fraud; moral turpitude or other crime.
  • They should not engage in any behaviors that lead to revocation of a school license.
  • You should have a refund policy that complies with the rules of the US Department of Education refund policy especially when it’s relevant.

Most importantly, you should renew your license yearly for Starting Massage Therapy School Wyoming.

Summary For Starting Up a Massage Therapy School in Wyoming

Furthermore, the state of Wyoming does not regulate the practice of massage therapy.

Massage schools must be licensed just like the private schools by the state.

An agent must also be licensed if he or she recruits for the school and the cost of licensure is $200 per year.

In conclusion, you will be required to have a performance bond or irrevocable letter of credit for $10,000.


Wyoming Department of Education Private School Licensing