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 name is Cathy Amenta LMT, NCTMB, and I am the owner of Crestone Massage in Crestone, CO. My office space consists of a professional waiting area and one treatment room conveniently located in downtown Crestone. I reside in a very remote part of Colorado, next to the Sand Dunes National Park.
Crestone is known for its spiritual centers and for having some of the highest quality holistic health care practitioners in the country. The current year round population is about 1800 people but in the summer months during retreats and tourist season it can climb to 6,000 +.
My clientele range from locals, to people from all over the world who come and visit here. My specialty is neck, shoulder, low back, and hip pain, along with the application of hot and cold therapy. I am also a Reiki Master and specialize in energy work and sound therapy using quartz crystal singing bowls for a complete healing on all levels: Body, Mind, & Spirit.
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 chose to enter the professional career as a massage therapist back in 1997 after receiving a whiplash injury in a car accident. At the time I owned my own cleaning business in Keystone, CO cleaning condos and houses for a living. I received my first massage sessions after my injury, and it was miraculous how much it helped and ultimately cured my neck pain.
It literally changed my life and it was then that I knew that this was my calling. I did not hesitate with my career decision and began to seek out the best massage school I could find. I was thrilled at the opportunity to make a good living while helping others to live a life free of pain. It was an easy decision for me to make.
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.
Some of my main questions and concerns upon entering the field of massage therapy are probably common for most people. My first thought was, what will the cost of schooling be? Also, I needed my school to work with my work schedule at the time. I had a full time job and classes needed to be flexible to work with my situation.
Another factor while looking into schools was the number of hours the program offered. It was important to me to have the best education with as many hours that I could find. As far as the massage profession itself, I did not have any concerns about pursuing this as a career. I knew this is what I was called to do.
4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?
My specialty is whole body integrated healing. I specialize in Neuromuscular and Trigger Point therapy, along with energy work, sound therapy, and the use of hydrotherapy in my sessions.
The top three contributing factors to my success today are integrity, professionalism, and continuing education courses.
5. What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?
What I like most about my specialty is that I get results. The many modalities that I have molded together over the years create a session that encompasses many levels of healing. The client gains physical benefits and also becomes more centered within themselves.
I think in general that is what I love most about my career. I love that I make people feel better than they have ever felt, and in return I receive all that good energy back. It is a very reciprocal profession.
6. What do you not like about what you do? Why?
For me, what is difficult about this profession is the wear and tear it can have on your body. I have been in practice for over 16 years and because of this, I have learned that taking care of my physical body is imperative if I am to continue to operate at an optimal level.
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?
I would change the perception that western doctors have towards professional massage therapists. I would want them to prescribe massage therapy as a valuable health benefit for almost everyone.
I would also like to see more massage therapists in hospital settings. Benefiting both patients and work staff to heal faster and provide much needed stress relief. Having a spa wing in the hospital would be amazing and brilliant. A concept I hope to see that in my day.
I would like to see franchise massage therapy businesses pay their therapist a fair rate. I also think there should be a maximum of sessions a therapist is asked to perform in a day. Doing many sessions in a day at these establishments is very hard on the therapist and creates burn out very quickly. We need to nurture our therapists if we want them to nurture others.
8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?
I plan on continuing in this profession on some level for many years to come. I think this will always be a part of my life. Hopefully as time goes on, I will have more travels and adventures thrown into the mix too.
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?
My career as a nationally certified massage therapist is my full time job.
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?
This career has taught me so much about self worth and setting healthy boundaries for myself. I don’t believe there have been mistakes made, because I believe “there are no mistakes, only lessons.” But overall I have learned not to overextend myself. To give only what I am capable of giving, and to take care of my body first and foremost.
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?
For me, I think the number of hours the school is offering is very important. If you want to be effective and knowledgeable in this field you need to know the body and how it works. Anatomy & Physiology and Kinesiology are important foundations to have in your toolkit to build upon. This is essential knowledge for the concept of function and form of the human body. From there, the possibilities are endless.
It’s also important to go a visit the schools you are looking at. It’s the only real way to get the feeling of the school and what they offer. After that, go with what resonates with you.
12. What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?
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?
My three biggest points of advice for aspiring massage therapist today would be to first, invest in your education. It is the single most important factor in establishing your success in this profession.
Second is to take care of your physical body. Your body is the most important instrument you use as a massage therapist. Take care of it and it will take care of you.
My third piece of advice would be to continue to add to their tool kit with continuing education. It is important to stay informed about the latest techniques and advances within our profession. If you have an opportunity to attend a national convention, do it! It is a wealth of information and can open the door to many possibilities.
14. Any open thoughts / comments – anything else that you’d like to share about yourself, the massage industry, profession, future, etc? If nothing, make one prediction for the future of massage?
I predict that massage therapy will be honored and integrated in all of our medical establishments.
15. What is your passion outside of massage? What are your hobbies and interests which you pursue when you are not working? Tell us why you enjoy what you enjoy.
Outside of my career as a massage therapist, I love being in nature. I am an avid Telemark skier, hiker, backpacker and mountain biker. I am also a member of the Saguache County Search & Rescue team.
You can reach Cathy Amenta LMT, NCTMB, Reiki Master on her website here.