My journey with Massage started in Virginia where I grew up. Back in 2002 I just kind of happened upon an ad for a massage school in the jobs section of the newspaper. I decided that I would go and hear the spiel, having no idea how I would feel about what I was about to hear. That day before leaving I put down a hundred dollars toward the school. It was the first decision in my life I made without consulting with others first. It felt great!
Shortly after I graduated, life threw me some curve balls and I made a decision to move to Buffalo for a new beginning. After I was settled I began looking into the requirements New York State has for its massage therapists and found out I was about 500 hours short. Back to school I went. With the highest of standards it turned out that none of my hours of education were transferable. I was starting from scratch like everybody else only with a slight advantage. I graduated from the New York Institute of Massage in Buffalo and passed the boards in New York State in summer of 2006.
In the spring of 2007, I was packing up my stuff to Rochester to be with my long-distance boyfriend of 3 years (now my husband). As I was going through some boxes, I found my senior paper from 1998. The topic was careers. We were supposed to pick three jobs and research them, interview professionals, and prepare an oral report too. I remember the speech I prepared and all the effort that went into it. I had chosen Psychologist, Journalist and Teacher. I even cracked some joke about how I could be all three: a Psychologist that teaches journalism or something to that effect. I laughed out loud then quickly stopped, breaking out into goose bumps as I read the next line: “Who knows what I’ll be when I grow up, maybe I’ll say goodbye to all this and become a massage therapist instead.” It was my closing sentence and I never even remembered writing it…
After 3 years of working for others I tried my hand at being my own boss. Just 2 and a half months later I became pregnant and for a little while my career has taken a back burner to my two children. And here I am now ready to get back to massage; excited to be of service to others, helping them to heal through the power of relaxation. This is my calling, this is my purpose, and apparently I knew it all along.
What surprised you about massage therapy in general?
What surprised me most is how soothing it is to the spirit not just aching tired muscles. Whether I was emotionally drained, mentally exhausted, or both, having a massage seemed to relieve me, leaving me feeling comforted, positive, and recharged. I wasn’t expecting to find the peace that I discovered with massage.
What is your favorite trick or tool as a therapist?
Stretching. Definitely stretching. It helps to loosen things up and restore some range of motion.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you as a therapist?
I had a first-time client (new to massage), on my table. I knocked on the door, awaited the signal, then began to enter. Just as I did, this horrible odor hit me so hard I almost forgot what I was doing. My client, a very sweet elderly lady, sheepishly looks over her shoulder at me and says, “I am so sorry. I fart when I am nervous.” I smiled back at her and told her that it was fine, and that these things happen. As I placed my hands on her back, her body continued to unload these horrendous fumes. I reminded her that it was okay as she apologized over and over again. After a while, I asked her if she had been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. She was surprised by this question and said “Yes, how did you know?” “Oh it’s just a lucky guess.” I managed to work through the rest of the massage with the lovely symphony of flatulence and plethora of smells, all the while treating her with love and respect as if she were my favorite Aunt. I was saddened that I couldn’t have made her more comfortable. Then again, she really didn’t have control over her condition. In the end, she was pleased with my service and it only took a half hour to air the room out. I figure if I could get through that with flying colors, I can get through just about anything.
What is your best marketing advice for other therapists?
Network, Network, Network. Get out of your shell and meet people! You never know when and where inspiration may strike, or a lead on a new job. Not just with other Massage Therapists, all professionals. Get your name and face out there!
Are you nationally certified?
I was, I let it lapse. I wasn’t using it. I just liked the challenge of getting it.
Did you have a mentor when you first started your business as a massage therapist?
No, I didn’t. I do now and it has made all the difference. I already feel successful and I am just getting started.
What is your favorite sound?
Wind in the trees or the quiet whisper of snow falling late in the evening. It’s a toss-up.
What is your least favorite sound?
Ugh! People mowing their lawns. It’s total noise pollution to me. Though when it’s far enough away in the background it’s kind of comforting. A reminder that life goes on.
How many clients do you see in an average week?
I am just getting restarted. Ask me 2 months from now.
Do you have any healthy obsessions? (shoes, Johnny Depp, chocolate…)
Fabric, I love buying fabric. I feel so inspired being surrounded by all the colors and prints. I just wish my sewing skill level was more equally matched with my level of creativity! hehe!
What do you wear on your feet when massaging?
I am either in my socks or barefoot. I feel more connected and grounded that way.
What massage music do you prefer?
Piano with ocean waves, sometimes wooden flutes, but the most powerful is to have no music at all.
What music do you crank up in the car?
I gravitate to music that speaks to my emotions, so what I crank-up is whatever suits my mood at the time. It’s really varied.
Carnivore, vegetarian, or vegan?
Swiss or Cheddar?
Between the two, cheddar, but my love is Mozzarella!
What is the last book you read?
Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten
What is the last movie you saw?
My youngest daughter and I watched Annie recently. It was a nice break from The Little Mermaid.
What is the last Continuing Education course that you took?
Myofascial Release in 2008
Who is your greatest inspiration?
I don’t know that I have just one. I am inspired by all the stories of people who know what they want and go after it. Pass or Fail, Win or Lose. Moving forward no matter the challenge. That’s inspiring.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself with a thriving practice. Perhaps in my own building with therapists who rent from me. Eventually teaching I am not sure what, but I see myself giving lectures, guiding others, passing along information. Time will tell.