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 do not own my own business; however, I work for Evolve Salon and Spa. Evolve Salon and Spa is a full service day spa in Saucon Valley, Pennsylvania – where I currently live.
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?
Back in 2007, I was suggested to get a massage by my nurse practitioner. She said, “Maybe all you need is a massage. You should try it.” She left me pondering about the decision all day because; I have never gotten a massage. I have never known it was beneficial. I had never imagined it was a “real” practice. I’ve only seen massage from cruise ship commercials here and there. And I honestly thought it was just simply laying stones and flowers on a persons’ back. So I started looking up spas that offered massage.
As I read spa menus on the massage section on the internet- I was truly in awe. I stared at the screen wondering why I have never known about massage and its healing wonders. So, instead of getting a massage I decided to go to school for massage instead because, for many reasons I saw myself as a massage therapist. My brain surgery postponed my starting massage school, but just after 3 months of recovering I started massage school and never stopped learning since then. My brain surgery made me even more ambitious for this art and knowledge.
3. What were some of your questions and concerns before further pursuing your massage therapy goals?
My concern came about, as a massage student performing clinicals. My forearms felt as if they were no longer mobile. And I did not want to end up with a repetitive strain injury or overuse injury before being able to become a Massage Therapist. However, I never questioned if I wanted to pursue another career. I knew what I wanted to keep doing. Through the rest of my clinicals my forearms healed thanks to the work of one of my instructors. And now my forearms have not been in pain since 2010
4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?
My specialty is deep tissue. I believe that I am still successful today because I keep up with my continuing education. I am a versatile and adaptable therapist, because every client is different.
5. What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?
I like deep tissue because of how specific it is, how very effective it is when a muscle or an area of the body finally “lets’ go”. I really enjoy my career because I can help some people out of unnecessary surgeries such as frozen shoulder or carpal tunnel or knee surgery. If it has to do with their muscles and/or surrounding soft tissues that can be worked on. Working on a problem that is not contraindicated can work OUT the problem.
6. What do you not like about what you do? Why?
I don’t like it when there are people that have a contraindication and- they tell me its nothing. I don’t like it because I find it rude that they are taking their skin, my hands, my skin, and more- lightly. Its’ a time when they should be at a dermatologist or doctor. Not at the spa.
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?
If I could change something in the massage industry it would be the length of time for massage school. It would be longer. I would like for medical massage to be a two year course or more. I would come up with a Massage Education BA degree that would count towards continuing education. A current Massage Therapist can become better prepared to become a Massage Instructor.
8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?
I plan to practice massage therapy for years to come. Maybe when I’m elderly I’ll take on touch therapy if massage is too tasking.
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?
I just started very recently as a Part-time Massage Instructor. I am able to work at the spa and at the school because I cut my hours at the spa. Going from one job to the next can be exhausting. And I did not want to overwhelm myself so I made that decision. I’m a mom. I need time and energy for my little ones too!
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?
Make sure you always use product that does not stain your sheets! It looks very unprofessional when there’s oil outlines on washed sheets. They still look dirty and as if the sheets were never changed nor washed.
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?
This question for me is difficult because I went to two different massage schools. I liked them both very much. And I believe the school I am teaching at now part time is also a great school. And they were all very similar in classes and even with some massage books.
12. What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?
I would recommend that they apply for scholarships, grants, and financial aid.
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 advice for an aspiring massage therapist would be:
- Don’t believe you know everything about massage. Stay humble and always continue to review your books.
- Don’t let your license and certification lapse. You invested your time and money and possibly more to just let it all go to waste or, to just invest more unnecessarily is not a wise thing to do.
- Find a modality to specialize in. Or, like Erik Dalton says, “You’ll end up being Jack of all trades- Master of none.”
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?
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 massage I spend all my time with my children. We take long walks on nature trails and parks and enjoy the outdoors. We go to the library for arts and crafts activities and story time and, another of their favorite is movie night.
Hi, I am having difficulty finding out what courses are needed for becoming a massage instructor. Can you shed some light on this. I would appreciate it.
I have practiced massage for almost 20 years now, solo. I have worked in spas and with chiropractors in the past.
Michelle – this depends on the state you are in. contact the massage schools near you and they will give you a full list of requirements. you can use our search box to locate all the schools that are near you