Some wonderful words of wisdom from Lorna Maughan
The words Massage and Therapy individually are immensely descriptive. Likewise they are also very personal and distinct for every person describing their relationship to them. As a permanent student starting with receiving my first massage at 18, to current day Practitioner, there has never been a completion to my intrigues or investigations.
By nature, every aspect of massage pushes the boundaries of all limitations that have been placed upon it. Perhaps that is why Massage attracts so many individuals from all walks of life the world over.
My personal contribution to the world of massage has been shaped by my life’s experiences and surrounding circumstances. At present, I enjoy educating fellow students of massage through my physical office location with amazing clients, as well as an ever-evolving mission to create the ideal online massage curriculum review resource at Massage-Exam.com.
When I finally decided to entertain the idea of becoming a Massage Therapist, I researched every angle of what that might entail according to my knowledge at the time, which scope was very limited. I know now, 10 years later, that lack of knowledge on where to begin or focus my attention was not an isolated incident.
I started my inquiries of the profession with one of the students of massage who introduced me to its existence and also incidentally took part in my first massage, my beloved sister. If ever there was an igniting force for the passion of the World of Massage, you can find it in spades with Janell. Her modality preferences include CranioSacral Therapy, Reiki as well as Deep Tissue and countless others that shaped her personal, professional touch.
My first massage was truly a potent experience. I just so happened to become a roommate of my sister and three other students of Massage enrolled at UCMT in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their homework assignment was to work on applying a modality they had learned to release emotions trapped in the tissues.
Needless to say, my primary experience was immensely powerful. I had four practitioners initiate latent emotions and guide me through releasing them. Yes, it was very intense and performed with love. There was never a dull moment in that house of learning.
After my massage experiences with my roommates, they knew I would love to be a Massage Therapist. Of course in my need to find my own path, not siding with the masses, I stated that I didn’t know what my profession would be, and Massage was my sister’s bag, not mine. Only to prove them right ten years later by enrolling at Ashmead College in Vancouver, WA (now Everest) in 2005.
I had gone through all of my prerequisites for Nursing at a community college, and as a single mom it took me several years to do so. When it came time to enroll in the program, I was informed it would be close to 1 or even 2 years on the waiting list just to get an interview for entrance into the program. My course of education was taking too long. Our corner of the world had heard and answered the call for more nurses. While in school, I did my English research paper on Acupuncture and in turn I was directed to the possibility of Massage as a profession.
I started asking around and approached students of Ashmead College to find out how the curriculum and teachers were. I also asked some MT friends how they liked what they were doing and why. I found some new MT friends and received and gave massages for feedback and research purposes.
Going to school would be a yearlong full time endeavor and I wanted to make sure it was going to be worth my time and effort. I also worked full time so that would put a strain on my daughter and our relationship. However I also knew that if I were able to make this work it would be a beneficial income and flexible schedule for many years to make up for the losses now.
My hard work and determination paid off. However I found out I should have asked more questions of Ashmead concerning the loans and payment expectations/schedule and what their hiring procedures where for their Instructors. There is no possible way you can be a student of massage school one month, graduate, and then become an instructor of massage in that school the next month without having at least 2-5 years of practice of what you are going to teach. Other issues arose with an instructor that had inappropriate relationships with students, grade giving for favorites, and ignoring questions all together if you were not liked. That instructor was let go, and my class struggled to catch up for the next three months.
After that rocky beginning with instructors, the rest of my Massage education was with awesome instructors, who loved Massage and what they taught. That alone made a huge difference. We had a few guest speakers that came and answered more questions about life after school. These practitioners helped to shape my desires for my professional practice.
I knew that I wanted to rent a room instead of become an employee or travel to customers. As well as the desire to rent a room in an acupuncture office, I spent time in clinics with just massage, and at a Chiropractic office and knew exactly what would work best for me. It took me three months after graduation to find the perfect location to rent, and yes it was in an Acupuncture office.
There were a few times I was tempted to rent a room outside my desired parameters, however what I was looking for was longevity not a temporary solution. The research I did during school about owning my own massage business also prepared me for the time it would take to establish a thriving business.
I knew I needed to work for the first year after graduation to support my family and start my clientele. Fortunately I had an awesome Administrative Assistant Job that allowed some flexibility in my schedule. I started working Thursday and Friday each week at 2pm, and then after the year was complete as an Admin. Assistant, I opened my massage schedule starting at 9am.
Also, within that year, I worked on creating a question base for Massage-Exam.com. Doing the research and creating content has kept my knowledge of the body fresh. I love instructing my fellow Massage students and giving them insight about where to look for information and what to expect from state Massage Boards. I have created each state page and update the links and page information every year. I also have an insurance comparison page and several other resources along with our online study tools to support inquiring minds. Massage-exam.com is always evolving and keeps me on my toes, I LOVE IT!
Currently, my hands on work with my clients is very Therapeutic, I utilize heat packs, Japanese Hot Stone, MFR, Orthopedic Massage, and all the awesome Swedish and Non-Swedish I learned at school. I have taken an average of 16 CE’s a year and incorporated each class within my sessions depending on what the client’s needs are, and how their body/tissue reacts. I am attracted to modalities that give big results from little manipulations that will not harm my body. I plan on being a practitioner for the rest of my life, so I must treat my body right.
A few key things I learned from my sister before becoming a therapist; always keep your body in alignment with good strong stances and no pain during work. If it hurts, you are doing it incorrectly, adjust and improve. Anytime anyone asks for help, direct them to your office with all your equipment or give quick advise on what they can do to change the pain cycle.
While in school start thinking about what kind of treatment work you want to give and how your clients will receive it. This advice gave me an AWESOME clientele base. My most favorite thing is to work on people who help themselves. When I give homework, they appreciate and try to implement the changes, making their next treatments more potent and lasting. Nothing gives me more Joy then to hear the words, “I did what you suggested, and it made a huge difference”.
On top of this advice, I would add; Ask questions and seek answers, new connections can be made if you are actively looking for them. Be consistent in your location after you graduate. 3 months is not long enough to establish clients. One or two clients may follow you, but why start over, and over again, looking for the perfect place?
Create the perfect place and stay put. Be realistic in your goals. Research and find what you are able to handle. Not everyone is cut out to own his or her own business. Keep your eyes open to all possibilities and your own professional pattern will emerge. If you are attracted to it, try it out. Shape your ideal work environment to keep you in a positive state of well being so you can efficiently help others.