18 Year Cosmetology Veteran Janice Jackson Entered Massage School at 50; Thrives in Her Career Today

Janice-Jackson1. 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 am a solo practitioner in a 2 story office building that has many other types of businesses in it. My clientele ranges from babies to seniors. I practice several modalities: Cranial Sacral Therapy, Cranial Release Technique, Therapeutic Massage, and Access Consciousness Bars (which I also teach).

I live and work in Naples, Fl, a resort town in southwest Florida.

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 was a Cosmetologist for 18 years and developed a frozen shoulder. I received massage therapy and rolfing to free this up so I could get back to work. However, after being introduced to these healing modalities, I decided to study Reflexology. This was a one year course of study for me at the Reflexology Institute in St. Petersburg, Fl.

In the state of Florida, you have to be a massage therapist to practice reflexology, so I entered massage school (at the age of 50!). I didn’t think I would like it but I actually did.

This led to my study of other modalities related to massage therapy.

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.

The first concern was, of course, money. How could I afford to do this? I checked out several schools and picked the one closest to home/work because I would need to keep working while attending school. Fortunately, massage schools offer a full time and a part time program.

4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?

My specialty is cranial sacral therapy. I trained at The Upledger Institute in West Palm Beach, Fl. Once I felt the cranial rhythm, I was hooked! It was simply incredible.

Three factors contributing to my success: 1) passion for what I do , 2) updating my skills constantly, and 3) a professional atmosphere and attitude.

5. What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?

I like Cranial Sacral Therapy because it is non-invasive and gentle. Everyone can benefit from it. In general I like my career because I get people out of pain and disability.

6. What do you not like about what you do? Why?

I don’t really care of keeping books for my taxes. Even though I use Quickbooks, I’m not really a fan of paperwork.

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?

Somehow make massage therapists accountable for their health so that they walk the talk and are an example for health.

I wish all therapists were as passionate about what they do as I am rather than just go through the motion for a “pay check”.

8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?

I plan to practice a long time because I like what I do. I keep on the cutting edge of some of the best modalities.

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?

No, I only do massage. I do, however, sell PowerStrips which are listed as a Class 1 Medical device for temporary relief of aches and pains and it is listed for OTC drug use as well.

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?

It can be hard to be in a practice with a lot of other therapists so be sure you know the people well and that you are grounded.

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?

I would look at the credentials of the teachers. Talk to some of the LMTs that have gone to school there. Visit the school during class if possible and then go on break/lunch with the students to acquire more information.

12. What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?

Many schools offer a payment plan as mine did. Next, check with your bank for an education loan. Relatives can also be a source for a loan, but get everything in writing.

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?

If you don’t LOVE it, don’t do it because people can tell and you won’t be good at it.

Treat this like a real business. Keep records. Do Intake Sheets. Abide by the Laws for massage therapy in your state.

Always dress appropriately and conduct yourself in a professional manner.

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?

I like to find modalities that are not main stream. The Cranial Release Technique that I do is not well known, yet it is a one minute technique that balances SO MUCH in the body. Everyone from babies to adults can get this (cranialrelease.com). And Access Consciousness Bars is the easiest technique you can do and your client sleeps through it. You can change limiting patterns and thoughts in an hour (accessconsciousness.com).

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.

I read constantly – mostly related industry journals or health books. I enjoy going to the beach with my husband and spending time with our new rescue dog, Maggie. We have a little over an acre of property with fruit trees and organic plants, so I spend time outside in our yard every day.

I also like live music since I am a musician (drummer) so we hear live music often.

You can reach Janice Jackson, LMT, NCBTMB on her website here or on her Facebook page here.

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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