After graduating from college, I tried many different jobs. They each had their pros and cons. It wasn’t until I went to massage school that I found my calling both professionally and personally.
I came to massage therapy first as a client. In my early twenties, I worked as support staff at a remote scientific research station — a demanding physical job that was notorious for causing repetitive motion injuries. An experienced co-worker suggested massage therapy as a form of preventative care. I started receiving weekly massages, and I believe regular massage is the primary reason I made it through that job without any lasting physical damage. I also learned first-hand about many other benefits of massage: overall stress reduction, mental and emotional support, trauma resolution, and an improved relationship with my body. Even after the job ended, I kept receiving bodywork.
In 2012, I left an academic research career without a clear idea of what my next step would be. I just knew that, while I enjoyed some parts of my work, I didn’t want to be sitting behind a computer crunching numbers 40+ hours per week. I had fond memories of my earlier position, [working with my hands and interacting directly with people](LINK TO: Switching to Massage School from a Four-Year University), but I knew I needed something less grueling, more sustainable. My partner was applying to graduate school programs at the time and we weren’t sure where we’d end up, so I also needed [a job I could do anywhere](LINK TO: Massage Therapy Training as a Professional Safety-Net). That’s when I decided to go to massage school. I spent six months acquiring all the basic tools I would need to become a professional massage therapist, and immediately followed that with 100 hours of Continuing Education to specialize in Neuromuscular Therapy.
Three years in, my favorite thing about being a massage therapist is that massage is all about supporting the health of the whole person. That means your OWN health as well as your clients’ health. In massage school, I learned how to prioritize self-care and really come into a deep relationship with my own body. As a working LMT, I’ve been able to bring these lessons into my work with clients. I feel like I’m giving something valuable back to my community, as well as making a highly-informed commitment to my own health long-term. I’ve had the good fortune to work with a very diverse client base — people of many ages, sizes, ethnicities, genders, ability levels, backgrounds, and in different places on their own journeys — and each one of them teachers me something new and fascinating about the experience of having a body.
So many jobs wear us out and grind us down over time. I feel lucky that I can make a living doing something that makes me healthier and stronger every day!