The Gravitational Pull of Massage Therapy by Emily Louise McIntosh

Emily Louise McIntoshI have been considering Massage Therapy as a career choice for quite a few years. During those ‘few years’, I dropped out of college, traveled to Ireland, Arizona, New Mexico, Maine, Texas, and most recently, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Between and during travels I’ve held a plethora of jobs and volunteered on multiple organic farms. I’ve had moments of intense peace and presence, I’ve had complete mental break downs, oh yes, have tasted the sky atop mountains, have questioned my beliefs, my sanity, my purpose, I have grown, I have seemed to un-grow in my stumbling’s, I have been quiet, I have been loud with laughter and loud with sobs.

It has definitely been a power-play between unease and despair at my lack of a career, and enjoyment and peace in the footloose. Even through all of that, as mentioned, Massage Therapy was always in the back of my mind. I suppose it has kept me grounded, while my head floats above the clouds, much as gravity keeps my bare feet happily stuck to our earth home.

Even without that sole connection, I’ve always have had a deep attachment to this home. I grew up in rural Michigan. My love of all things natural, all things earth, all things outside, has definitely influenced me in many ways. It has guided my curiosity and interest in science, the arts, and in a spiritual and compassionate lifestyle. My wavering between career choices exemplifies this.

Thus, some examples of degrees I have contemplated (albeit from afar), are Environmental/Sustainability Studies, Creative Writing/Poetry/Illustration Studies, and also Psychology/Counseling studies. I feel so blessed then to have recognized my draw to Massage Therapy as a profession, for I feel it is really a remarkable combination of all of these on its own.

Environmentally speaking, the body too is an ecosystem, with all its different systems and organs, etc. that must work together for the overall survival and health of the body. To me, balance is a science. Balance is earth’s natural state, even natural disasters are the give and take, the tide of a planet striving for equilibrium.

It is mankind that has disrupted the natural processes. So we also disrupt the balance in our bodies, where it is also crucial. Massage of course is incredibly helpful in clearing the body of bent up emotions, muscular tightness and pain, etc., and guiding the body back to this health and clarity of balance.

Massage guides both practitioner and client in attunement of the body and mind. And I believe, that when we are in tune and listening to the environment that we ourselves are, we are also more aware of the home outside our bones that also needs our care and attention.

Besides being a science, Massage Therapy is also such an art and creative process to me. Even just considering the beautiful path and flow of hands and fingertips over a body to promote healing. In that way, it is like an interactive art, inducing a moving serenity, as one moves about another’s body, kneading and massaging as needed, performing a dance of sorts around the massage table.

And as all things are connected, movement itself is linked to a growth of creativity. So not only do I appreciate Massage Therapy as a moving art (the action and the feeling both, certainly), I believe it will only encourage and support (financially and creatively, certainly) my other artistic endeavors outside of work. Those include, as mentioned, creative writing, Poetry, and sketching.

Speaking of sketching, now let me draw this for you. A web. A web of vibrant, often invisible to the societal eye, connections. All that I have mentioned thus far, are passions, all interconnected as traced here. Here, now, a passion for compassion. My greatest attraction to massage is its holistic healing, its promotion of peace in the mind and body, its creation of good energy.

I have craved in a career for a long while, one that daily asks that I give of myself to aid others. To learn the skills to alleviate the pain, suffering, tension, or anxiety of another individual other than myself (but coming from a place of compassion for myself) is incredibly important and beautiful. In this way I behold massage therapy as more of a lifestyle than an actual career.  For I hope that through it, I will continue to become and be my best and true self, more capable of sharing and helping and connecting with others.

I do not know how long I will be a licensed Massage Therapist; I haven’t even begun the program! All this is dreaming, but also the definite beginning of manifestation of said dreams. It is also probably evident that I am a dreamer. Still as such, I not only dream, but I trust this is what I want right now, whatever the future may hold. I am very thankful for the chance of scholarship and also thankful for the required essay. For as I outline my reasons over and over again, I feel more grounded in that trust. So, thank you.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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