I’ve been regularly asked by my clients why I chose massage therapy as my career path, since the work is so hard on the massage practitioner’s body. The reality is, there were many reasons, including schedule flexibility, good pay, and job demand(everyone always gets hurt or is stressed out, right?). One reason in particular that always stood out in my mind was making a difference in peoples’ lives. Granted, that difference may impact some people more profoundly than others, but when the work is done, I feel good knowing my efforts can alter the shape of someones day.
During my late teens and early twenties, I had spent many years in sales. The monetary reward had been pretty good, but I still didn’t feel a strong sense of accomplishment. I decided to go back to school to find my path. Eventually, after a few talks with Dr. Mitch Ellis- a lifelong best friend, and eventual business partner, I chose to study massage. Little did I know at the time, it turns out massage therapy and chiropractic kind of walk hand in hand(pardon the pun).
In school, the year-long curriculum began with learning basic Swedish Massage techniques like effleurage, petrissage, and tapotements. We also studied introductory kinesiology, anatomy and physiology. The anatomy and physiology class covered the musculoskeletal system and each individual muscle movement. It was a great learning experience, and as a bonus, it was pretty nice getting a massage three times a week too.
As the year progressed, we learned more advanced treatments such as deep tissue massage, myofascial release, PNF, and even learned a little bit about Chinese Medicine. The anatomy and physiology class went more in depth, covering the rest of the human body’s systems- nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, lymph, digestive, urinary, integumentary and reproductive systems.
The last third of the massage curriculum was spent in clinic. It was time to apply the skills we learned on real clients. The clinics taught us real-life scenarios, and gave us the opportunity to work on clients with a wide variety of ailments and conditions. It was challenging and rewarding at the same time, and it gave us all a glimpse of what was to come.
I graduated in November of 2003, and was licensed three months later. Shortly after that, I started my own practice at a wellness spa in Puyallup, WA. What an eye-opener that was! I quickly realized that it takes incredible effort to build a private practice from scratch. I was very fortunate to work with some fantastic ladies at that spa, and they shared their own experiences and knowledge with me.
Two years later, Dr. Mitch Ellis and I opened Ellis Chiropractic, and to this day, we’re still going strong! I feel great knowing I help people achieve their health goals. Massage therapy has taught me so much about my own personal health. With what I’ve learned, I can relate my own past personal health challenges (both physical and mental)and apply those experiences to my clients’ problems. Studying the body/mind connection has been critical as I continue to learn and absorb everything related to good, healthful living.
The greatest thing about the business of healthcare is that the landscape is always changing- it forces you to continually challenge yourself to learn. In today’s age of information, new research continuously presents itself in all forms of media- including video, blogs, and web seminars.
I hope to continue in practice for many years to come, and despite the hard work and challenges that come along with being a business owner, the rewards outweigh them exponentially. The personal satisfaction I get from building the relationships with my clients, and their successful treatment, leaves me completely fulfilled, and forever humbled and appreciative of their support.