Ex Respiratory Therapist Jeff Bockoven Became a Massage Therapist After a Vehicle Accident

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?

My practice is in a clinic behind my home. 2 treatment rooms, changing room, office, entry area, and full bath complete with a hot tub and shower. My clientele is very well established and take only new clients that are referrals from current clients. I offer most modalities. I suppose if I had to pick a specialty it would be deep tissue/sports massage. I have been in practice since 1995. I live and work in Des Moines, Iowa.

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 went into massage after a vehicle accident and a gift certificate changed everything. I was a respiratory therapist prior to going to massage school.

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 stigma still existed when I first entered the profession and as a male was a concern too. I wanted something in the health field, but also needed enough income to support my family.

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

See number 1. The three factors would be drive, belief in what you are doing and persistence.

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

I love helping all of my clients with all the modalities and helping them see what a difference massage can make in their lives.

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

NOTHING! I love it all!

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 like to see more acceptance in the medical community, acceptance of all insurance and true National credentialing enabling therapists to be able to practice massage in any State.

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

I tell my clients I will probably give massage up to 3 days after my demise…simply out of reflex. Honestly, I hope to do massage until I die.

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 have my own clientele, teach some coursework at the school I founded and teach continuing education to licensed therapists.

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?

Choose your massage school carefully. Check with BBB, State offices, see if you can sit in on classes prior to enrolling, contact previous graduates all before enrolling. Also, find mentors so you can get ideas from them and not make their same mistakes.

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?

See #10.

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

Beg, borrow or steal. Maybe pre-sell gift certificates so others can invest in your future. Make sure they understand you cannot redeem the certificates prior to licensure/certification. Just do it. One of the few professions you can still get your education and equipment within a year and recover those costs within the first year of practice if you work hard.

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?

It is a lot of work either working for someone or yourself. Be prepared for this commitment! Perhaps networking and working with an established therapist? Every person they come in contact with needs to know they are a massage therapist and want to help them feel better!

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 hope to see credentialing for National practice.

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.

Music, fishing, hunting and family. Not necessarily in that order. The biggest enjoyment is seeing clients feel better after the massage though!

Jeff Bockoven is a LMT, RCT, CRTT, LLC and CEO at Iowa Massage Clinics. You can find him on his website 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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