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 live in Alpharetta GA. I am currently not in practice because I am at home with my toddler and new baby. I have since having my children focused on the book that was published in the massage field ~ Stretch Therapy: a Comprehensive Guide to Basic and Assisted Stretching.
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 always wanted to go to massage school but what held me back was that you could do it right out of high school and with a college degree in hand, I felt like it would be somehow taking a step backward. Then when I began to receive massage from several amazing people I began to envy them. I
still wasn’t planning to turn my life around and go back to school. I had just finished my first year teaching high school health and PE and knew somehow I was not going to be returning. I didn’t like it. Even though I had signed on for the next year, I knew in my gut it wouldn’t actually happen.
I was 28 and went to see Doreen Virtue (Angel Therapy writer) and I got in line to ask the one question of “what am I supposed to be doing?” the angel reader looked at my hands and looked me in the eye and said “your gift is your hands. Go to massage school and do Reiki.” I told her I was already attuned to reiki and she said “now, use it!” The following week I found out several of us were let go from teaching, and I signed up for massage school that very week.
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.
4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?
I finished clinical massage school from the Atlanta School of Massage and within a few months of graduating I began training at the Dr. Vodder School for MLD/CDT. The factors to my success without a doubt is that I am specialized. Two: I hold myself like a professional-there is no room to guess what kind of therapist I am. Three: I believe wholeheartedly in what I do and why I do what I do.
5. What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?
I have worked with people who have faced the hardest challenges-usually post cancer, post surgery, lymphedema primary and secondary. I also do a lot of emotional release work using the MLD, Reiki, Massage and my God given intuition.
6. What do you not like about what you do? Why?
It can be very taxing on the body, the emotional body, the energy if you let it. It also requires for you to be willing to put a lot of people and their schedules above your own while you’re making your way into a full time self- business.
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 teach the world at large how sacred massage therapy is-that would mean take out the ones who taint our industry. I would want everyone who learns massage therapy to truly have a depth of knowledge of anatomy and physiology. The people who chose this path for ease of hours or for other various reasons other than to truly be of service just do not resonate with me and what I believe is the highest path for this vocation.
8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?
I plan to get back into a serious practice once my kids start school. I also plan to write more than my single book and teach workshops based off it.
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?
Writing, publishing and being a mother.
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 don’t know about mistakes but I would say to figure out as quickly as you can if you want to work for other people or for yourself. If it’s for yourself, you have a lot of work in front of you and do not give up. It takes a long time to build a business.
If you are happy to work for a place and enjoy not having to get your own clients, like the benefits that come with it and are happy doing that then my advice would be do as much continuing education through them as you can so that you can do several different modalities in your practice.
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?
Every school has a different intention. If you are clinical based, go for a school that is in line with that. If you are into body wraps and facials, find a school that is right for that. Do your homework.
Do not listen to which ones your friends tell you to go to unless they are someone you aspire to be like and they do what you plan to do. I will say it again for effect: do your research, do your homework-visit the schools first. Visit more than one school.
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?
I think it all comes down to why you want to pursue massage therapy. That will take care of the rest. What is it you really want and what are you willing to do to get it.
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?
Become specialized. Do not ever stop learning. Go to the avenue that makes you incredibly proud of what you do.
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, reading, writing…LEARNING.
Emily A. Francis is a clinical/neuromuscular Massage Therapist, Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist, Dr. Vodder Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Combined Decongestive Therapy Therapist, Sivananda trained yoga instructor, author: Stretch Therapy. NCBTMB Provider for Stretch Therapy and can be reached here.