From Okinawa Japan, to the Philippines and Now Ohio, Marilyn Dowers has Found Purpose in Massage

Marilyn DowersMy name is Marilyn Dowers and I was born in Okinawa, Japan. My mother is from Okinawa and my father was from Spain. I am the eldest of four children. Unfortunately, when I was six, my parents got divorced and my father married a woman from the Philippines.

He took my siblings and I to the Philippines and we lived with him and his wife for ten years. From a young age, I always enjoyed tending and taking care of others.

When I was 20, I moved back to Okinawa until I moved to the United States. In February 2014, my husband and I moved to Ohio with our three grown sons. My oldest son lives here in Ohio and the two younger ones are attending a university in Louisville, Kentucky.

My husband and I reside in Riverside, Ohio due to his assignment in the United States Air Force (USAF). Okinawa is a small tropical island surrounded by the ocean and is very hot and humid while Ohio is very big and cold. I was afraid I would not be able to adjust to the cold but ended up loving it.

I worked for the USAF in Okinawa for 23 years. Throughout my career, I had three jobs, a secretary, audit assistant, and a housing inspector. The one I enjoyed the most and stayed the longest was working as a housing inspector. Although I learned a lot and enjoyed being a housing inspector, I never felt the fulfillment in my heart.

I always felt a lack inside and always wondered what I would do after I resigned or retired from this job. In addition, the one thing everyone enjoyed about me were the massages I gave. I know I was good at it because I was strong and I could massage for a long time. As mentioned earlier, I always enjoyed tending to people.

For example, when I was twelve and living in the Philippines, we lived in a house that had a 15-foot solid concrete wall fence. Beside it, there was water tank for our house sitting on a solid structure higher than the concrete wall. Behind the wall, I always heard children laughing and playing which got me curious.

My curiosity was driving me up the wall so one day when my father left for work; I climbed up the steps of the water tank to see who these children behind the wall were. To my surprise, there was a family of three children and their parents in a plywood built shack. Their clothes were raggedy, ripped and mismatched and one of them did not have shoes.

At that time, I did not pity them because they were happy, but I felt the urge to get them cleaned up and put decent clothes on them. Hence, I found a way to bring them to my house. I bathed them, flossed, and brushed their teeth and even filled their cavities (which I’ve never seen at that time) with cotton so when they ate it would not hit and hurt their gums.

After I was done, all three of them smelled clean and looked nice in clothes that matched and were not ripped. We were so happy to become new friends and their parents were so appreciative. As a child, I did not think anything of it except I loved the feeling of seeing them happy and there was an unexplicable feeling of joy inside me.

Obviously, this story does not have anything to do with massage but sharing this shows how helping people feel good, relates to massage. It is not just about massaging someone because anyone can do that. It is about showing another person how you care about their well-being, about healing and making them feel better. When my friends and family members had aches on their head, neck, back, arms, or legs, I would give them a massage and always made them feel better after.

I was told that I had the gift of healing. As I got older, I developed a talent for hair and make-up and again, I would do makeovers just to make people feel good. For me, the best feeling and satisfaction with working on people was seeing how good they felt after any sort of relaxing treatment. I had a lot to give and share.

As life went on, my first marriage ended and I was a single mother raising three young boys. Life was hard and confusing. I had lost interest to help and work on people, which changed in me for the worst. I did not like it because it was not I. There was not anything in me to give anymore. I realized I had to get my passion back, therefore, I had to balance work and taking care of my loving boys. I married my present husband who was a blessing in our lives and I started picking up pieces of brokenness. Soon after, I was back on my feet again.

Time came where I was able to afford to be pampered and truly enjoy each relaxing treatment I received. Whether it was a massage, getting my hair done, or having work done on my nails, it all felt great. I believe it was the touch and the care I was receiving that made me realize that was exactly what I wanted to do when I was done being a housing inspector. The feeling of helping and working on people was dormant in me for many years that I almost forgot how much I enjoyed it.

Many ask me why the big shift from working with building structure to working with massage. In my heart, I know I get fulfillment and joy when someone injured, run down and tired, feel relieved from pain or feel good about themselves when I help and work on them with a good Sports or Swedish massage.

It is hard to pinpoint what I should have done to prevent events to have had an impact in my life. Everything in life, right or wrong, are all lessons we learn to chase our dreams, better our lives and have the opportunity to do what we want in life. I know God gave me this gift so I can help people. Going back to school as a massage therapist and learning the different techniques, movements and the science behind it is the best decision I made. Best of all, this is my passion and what I love doing.

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+

5 comments on “From Okinawa Japan, to the Philippines and Now Ohio, Marilyn Dowers has Found Purpose in Massage
  1. Christopher Savchenko says:

    She really is the best! when i lived in japan she was my second mom. she is the most caring person ever, always making sure everyone is taken care of and often putting others before her self.

    she truly is one of a kind!

  2. Wanda says:

    Marilyn is a very caring individual. I worked with her in Japan and she definitely has the talent to provide massages. I have reaped the benefits of her miracle hands.

  3. Melissa says:

    Good story! There’s nothing better than being a massage therapist helping people. It’s very rewarding when you can help people feel amazing!

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