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?
I have been in private practice continuously since 1999. It was my primary focus when I first graduated from massage school and began working in 1999. However, since 2001, it became a secondary pursuit to my passion for teaching, running a massage school, or otherwise being engaged in the development of the profession of massage therapy.
I specialize in several types of energy work including Bodytalk, Emotion Code and Emotional Freedom Technique, am a Reiki Master, Aromatherapy expert, Flower Essence practitioner, Manual Ligament Therapy practitioner, Zero Balancer, etc. I live and practice in Bellevue, Washington.
In 2001 I began teaching Massage Theory & Practice and still teach to this day. I am adjunct faculty in Physical Medicine at Bastyr University and created the summer massage intensive for Bellevue Massage School where Bastyr students become Licensed Massage Practitioners over the course of a summer once they have completed prerequisite work.
In 2008 I helped launch Find Touch and put in a year as the Executive Director expanding the reach of the online massage jobs community to states besides Washington. I performed PR for the Massage Envy co-op of Washington, a collective of all Western Washington Massage Envy owners.
I was able to provide jobs to quality massage therapists during a downturn in the economy and give them a reliable income source. In 2009, I launched a treatment based modality to LMP’s in Washington called Manual Ligament Therapy. Currently, I was involved with the new purchase of Bellevue Massage School and am the acting Director.
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 go to massage school based on direct guidance from my intuition. I was 27 at the time and simply hadn’t found my passion. I had always been in the service industry and later admin/office. I wish I had heard about massage school in high school, but the first time I heard about massage school was around the time I decided to go. I knew that I wanted a career where I could be connected to my inner Source and earn money.
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.
My decision to go to massage school in 1997 was so emotionally and intuitively based that my mind did not interfere with doubts. Looking back and knowing now how I round out my intuitive guidance-I would invite anyone looking to go to massage school to genuinely ask themselves if they have the physical attributes necessary to be a massage practitioner, the energetic boundaries to be a clear channel and ethical professional and lastly, enough support and grounding to follow through with an intensive if relatively short education. Since massage training is somewhat short, I invite all massage students to consider continuing education as a much needed investment in constant and never-ending improvement-a necessary quality/core value in a therapist.
4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?
My specialty is teaching massage and the three factors that contribute to my success:
- Honoring the wisdom within each person and cultivating the space for that wisdom to guide that person’s education and evolution.
- Structure and advance preparedness combined with solid intuitive guidance.
- Constant learning and education to increase my knowledge base and skill set.
5. What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?
I love the exchange of vital ideas whether it is from practitioner to client, teacher to student or peer to peer.
6. What do you not like about what you do? Why?
At times, the massage profession can involve drama, burnout and flaky people.
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 like to see the massage profession do a better job getting the word out about the benefits of a massage career beginning in high school. Massage Schools should promote the field at college fairs.
- More focus on self-care, longevity and true body mechanics
- Better understanding of the benefits of massage in the integrative medical model/western medicine field so that insurance companies can get better about massage as preventative medicine
8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?
I plan to practice until I retire, probably around 65 or 70 and then I will write even more than I currently do. Currently I have written several articles and a massage manual.
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?
Currently I am full-time in the massage field but over my 15 years I have definitely been able to juggle other pursuits with my practice. Massage is a flexible career where I am always reinventing myself.
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?
I caution massage practitioners to not overwork right off the bat after beginning to practice. It’s like a workout and one needs to build up strength and stamina but also energetic stamina. It’s taxing to constantly be an emotional support and thus find ways to replenish.
I have found yoga as an essential part of my life and practice because I end up stronger, more balanced and better able to be my best. My evolution and level of consciousness determines my success-meditate, cultivate personal stillness, and most importantly, practice what you preach-learn to tap away blocks with EFT, get bodywork, walk your talk.
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?
Follow your intuition on the school that feels right for you. Talk to teachers and alumni. Get a feel by actually visiting. Find professionals that you would like to emulate and then work backwards-what school/program did they attend?
12. What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?
Go to a larger school that takes Title IV funding and pay it off like any other student loan over time.
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?
Learn to ask for what your gifts are worth-it’s easy to give massage away, practice the language you will use to charge people and develop a solid business plan even if it’s only to become an employee-research spas, clinics or chiropractic offices and figure out the environment that most resonates.
Don’t take on other people’s stuff-you can’t actually transmute for someone else anyway-they have to do their own work. Stay clear and stay grounded. Most importantly, be ethical and professional-be a credit to the profession. Never mix sexuality with massage.
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?
My predication for massage therapy is that it will be taught as part of every child’s education in schools-positive touch and energy basics will be a small but critical part of every middle school child’s health class.
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.
Yoga is my true passion because it is a time for just me. The breath-work is truly life-changing and the poses are just one small benefit-your body is fit and strong and beautiful while you learn what focus really means, that there’s always more to learn, to enjoy the journey and community. I also love reading everything from fantasy to self-help. I love movies and hiking/walking in nature. My family means everything to me!
You can reach Dana Pellegrini, LMP, Reiki Master on her website here.