Being an Emergency Medical Responder to Massage Therapy: Shawna Cote

Shawna CoteMy name is Shawna Cote.  I grew up in Southern California with my parents and younger brother.

My brother had lots of allergies and health problems as a young child, and that is when my family first began to learn about natural remedies.

We lived in the city of Moreno Valley until I was a teenager, then we moved to the outskirts of town.

My mom had always wanted to live in the country, and in Southern California less than one acre with a 1950s house was about as close as we were going to get.

We were able to keep our horses right at home instead of having to board them, and also got some chickens and goats, another one of my mom’s dreams!

My mom home schooled me and my brother from Kindergarten through High School, and we both went on to college, although my brother took it a little more seriously than I did, pursuing advanced math and recently earned his Master’s Degree.  I never knew what I wanted to do “when I grew up,” so I took some music classes at Riverside Community College, studying violin and voice, and earned a Certificate in Music Performance.

Music has always been a big part of my life.  I started playing the violin when I was 5 years old and grew up playing in church and in the Redlands Youth Ensemble of Strings.  Later I played in the RCC orchestra and in several community theater orchestras.

I also traveled all over the U.S., as well as Great Britain and Jamaica, with the Continental Singers on 5 different tours between 2005-2007 as a performer, audio technician or leader.

In 2006 I had surgery on my vocal cords because of growths caused by a virus.  There was damage to my vocal cords caused by the surgery and I was unable to sing after that.

I had two more surgeries, the last one in 2009, to remove additional growths and for vocal cord reconstruction.  I am now able to speak normally, but still can’t sing anymore.

In 2008 I moved from Southern California to northwest New Mexico.  I have been working at a locally owned office and school supply store since then, but will be quitting my job to attend massage school. 

My husband and I got married in 2014 and we both serve as volunteer firefighters in our community.  We would like to move to Las Vegas, Nevada in the near future.

I have always been interested in doing something in the medical field, but not something “ordinary” like being a doctor or a nurse.  Since I was a child I always enjoyed learning about muscles, bones and first aid.  While I was in high school I was considering becoming an equine veterinarian.

Currently I’m a licensed Emergency Medical Responder serving with the local volunteer fire department, and I’ve had enough experience in emergency medical to know that’s not what I want to do for a career.  It’s just not for me.  I have casually considered other options in the medical field also, like becoming a pharmacy tech or a dental assistant.  Those options just didn’t really excite me.

Massage therapy is what I keep coming back to, so I decided it was time to just go for it!  The number one reason I have decided on massage therapy is because of the health benefits of massage.  These days everyone always has something to do or some place to go and we don’t have time to make health a priority.  I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience how much better they feel after receiving a massage.

Neck and back pain would ease, headaches would vanish, and they would feel better overall.  Many times I have gotten a massage and never realized how tight and sore my muscles were until the therapist began to work on that area.  Usually it was painful at the time, but I felt so much better afterwards!  I am planning to incorporate essential oils into my massages, as well, for additional wellness benefits.

Another reason I have chosen massage therapy is because I believe I will be good at it.  I have strong hands and a muscular build, and I enjoy being up and on my feet.  I also have a good feel for finding tension and knots in muscles.  At least that’s what my husband tells me!

When I massage him, I can find his “sore” spots without him telling me where they are.  I hope this natural intuition will help me excel and become successful as a massage therapist.  The final reason I have chosen a career in massage therapy is very practical.  It gives me the freedom to find a job almost anywhere I live.

As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I are planning to relocate soon.  He is fortunate enough to be able to do his job from almost anywhere, and it would be great if we both had that same freedom.

I am a bit concerned about being able to find work as a massage therapist.  I’ve had people tell me they have known massage therapists that couldn’t find work and had to find other career options.  I’ve also had people tell me they wish they could find a place to get a good massage, and we need more massage therapists in the area, etc.  With the recent economy being so unstable, it’s difficult to predict what the job market will be like once I graduate and get licensed.

I’m also concerned about my own health and fitness.  Being on my feet all day will take its toll on me, I’m sure.  I have the same concern in regards to my hands and arms getting fatigued.  I will have to be conscious of making my personal fitness, health and well being a priority.  I can’t help others if I’m not taking care of myself properly.

I would like to work in massage therapy for as long as I possibly can.  I’m still young, so as long as my health holds up as I get older, I should be able to massage for the rest of my life.  I’m planning to start out my career working for a massage company or clinic to get some experience in the field.  After a few years I hope to start my own practice.

I would like to have a massage room set up in my house, and also offer a mobile massage service so clients can schedule an appointment for me go to their home or office for a massage.  I like the idea of being able to set my own schedule and hours, but the downside to that is also having to take care of the business side of things myself, like taxes and insurance.  I currently have a retirement account that will go with me as a change careers.  I’m planning to continue saving for retirement, but I don’t have a certain age in mind for retirement.

I enjoy being active and will work for as long as I can, at the same time preparing for when I can’t work anymore.  After I get established in my career, I would like to continue to pursue music.  I miss playing violin in community orchestras and would like to start doing that again.  I also enjoy traveling and would like to see more of the world in the future.

My name is Shawna Cote.  I’m from California and currently live in New Mexico with my husband John.  We both are volunteer firefighters in our community, and I work as a sales clerk at a locally owned office and school supply store.  I will be quitting my job to attend massage school.  My husband and enjoy traveling and are planning to relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada in the future.

Posted in Aspiring Massage Students

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