Hi! Welcome to my blog! I thought it would be a great idea to start this blog because many of my clients have inquiring minds of me and Massage Therapy in general. I will be writing my perspective on Massage Therapy and hopefully providing you with some helpful tips and information on massage and being well.
I have been asked many times Why Are You a Massage Therapist? Most of the time this question is followed by a tone and strange expression when the person finds out that I am also a registered nurse and have been for 19 years now. Most people don’t understand why I would give up such a good stable career and follow this new path of uncertainty. This was a very thought out process with failures and my inner voice trying to talk me out of it all together along the way. It took me another 18 years to commit, let go of fear, and take the plunge with Massage Therapy.
The doubt of my choice of career began in my first year out of Nursing School. I was working on a Colon Rectal Surgery Floor. I also worked on this division 2 years prior to graduating as a Patient Care Technician. My patients where extremely sick recovering from bowel surgery related to colon rectal disease or cancer. These patients had multiple drains, IV’s, open wounds, ostomy appliances and so forth. I took care of 8-10 of these patients nightly and with charge nurse duties attached. Being a charge nurse means handling any crisis’ that come up, new admissions, teaching float pull nurses working on my floor (many which have no idea of protocols or how to care for colon rectal patients), creating assignments for the next shift, and making sure we have enough staff to cover those assignments.
I clearly remember one of my patients who I took care of as a Patient Care Tech before I finished nursing school. He was in his early 40’s with dark thick hair and brown eyes, beautiful smile, and extremely pleasant. His was diagnosed was Colon Cancer. I remember first meeting him and saying I needed to take his vital signs starting with his temperature. We didn’t use ear thermometers on my unit instead we used long probes that go under the tongue, axilla(armpit), or rectum. He turned his head thinking I was going to take his temp per his ear… I laughed and said I don’t think you want me to stick this in your ear or anywhere else. We had a good laugh and I never forgot him. Almost a year and a half later I finished nursing school I took care of him again, this time as his RN. The man I saw was not the man I met originally… he was thin and so frail… his skin was dusky in color, his eyes had lost that brightness they once had replaced with cloudiness, and he was in soooo much pain. You see the cancer had now traveled to his spine and brain consuming his body bit by bit. He was being medicated around the clock for pain, so much so that he would become confused at times, or he would just sleep. I witnessed firsthand what this cancer had done to this man and his family and it broke my heart. This young man’s life would soon be over and in such a horrible way.
It was emotionally hard on me and it showed up physically in my body. I was sick all of the time and ended up one night after a 12 hour shift with a blood pressure of 160/110. I was then put on blood pressure medication by my family doctor. Here I am a 20 year old now on blood pressure medication because of my job. Just insane… BTW this is a good time to add ‘Say Thank You’ to a Nurse! Because they put everyone else ahead of themselves because they care and love people. So many people take that for granted.
It was at this time I started looking for possibilities of a new career. I remember one night one of my patients telling me she was once a nurse, but had changed her life’s path and became a flight attendant. I have to admit I entertained this idea for a while. The idea of traveling and seeing the world while doing my job sounded pretty amazing. As soon as I started thinking about changing my life’s course I somehow talked myself right back out of it.
I have to mention it was during this time that I received my first massage. It’s funny I can’t even remember my first massage, but I know it happened in this time period and I know I walked away feeling the best I had in a long time. I do remember the best massages I have ever had. One, was in San Francisco and I had a Thai Massage. OMG! This was actually a turning point for me when I started looking seriously at massage and researching some massage schools in the area. I had never felt so good and so energized as I did that day after my Thai Massage. The second-best massage I ever had was on vacation in Maui. The therapist had a massage table in her condo facing the ocean. The warm air flowed through from the ocean into her condo combined with her excellent skills in massage resulting in the most AMAZING experience! I did call this woman years later and thanked her for the massage and told her she was an inspiration for me in pursing massage therapy as my life’s path.
I knew from the beginning (since I was 5 years old lol) that my life’s work involved people, caring for them, and promoting wellness. I feel gratitude for having this insight at such a young age since from my experience most people don’t know their life’s purpose till they are older or some just never figure it out. So, I ended up moving around in the nursing world looking for something that gave me meaning to my purpose and would make me happy. I worked in the OR for a few years in plastic surgery doing all kinds of procedures from skin cancer removal to nose jobs to breast reconstruction. I actually really liked this job and every OR case was extremely interesting to me. But again, it didn’t fill that want I was searching for and on top of it, OR personal are extremely hard people to work with and think a great deal of themselves. I guess it’s required to have that kind of personality to work so closely with people’s lives in your hands. You know what I am talking about it you have ever worked in these 3 areas of nursing The OR, The ER, and Labor and Delivery. I worked in the OR and Labor and Delivery and my father was the head nurse for over 20 years in the ER. So I am confident in my opinion of these areas and the people that work there. Don’t get me wrong, they are all extremely knowledgeable, talented, skilled, and capable people and I would go straight to them if my life was on the line. It just wasn’t for me.
I did eventually find my niche in Nursing when I started working for a Joint Replacement Surgeon. I was as high as I could go in my field without going back to school to become a Nurse Practioner, Manager, or Teacher. This was a challenging position with the level of knowledge required and the amount of responsibilities I received. I had several duties, I went to the OR and assisted in surgeries, I taught Joint Replacement Classes, arranged my surgeon’s surgery and clinic schedule, handled pre-and post op surgery issues, and I even was involved in research projects. I have two published papers in highly esteemed medical journals. One of which caused a lot of controversy in the medical world because it proved how dangerous a drug was if used in combination with a Hip Replacement. The drug company wasn’t too happy with us and I got cornered one day by a board member of this drug company when I was showing our research at NAON (National Organization Of Orthopedic Nurses). It was funny my booth was right across from his booth and I wonder if this was intentional at some level. He was intent on trying to get me to admit that we had errors in the numbers and our research was wrong. That was fun! I loved this job and I loved the doctor I was working for… he appreciated me. That action of his and having my own autonomy in my job helped me excel.
After a few years, he moved away and I was assigned another new surgeon. A young, extremely talented doctor, super eager to get going and build his practice fast. During this time management was also changing some rules and parameters with my job. I was required to do more and faster. We did an audit of my incoming calls in a two-week working period and I received over 200 calls to my phone! Now factor in time to listen to these calls, returning all of the calls, and making outgoing calls not even related to the calls I just got!! This was not even including the over 10 hour clinic days twice a week, working on research patients, going to the OR, Teaching Joint Classes, dealing with insurance issues, post-op issues, pre-op clearances, 50-60 hour work weeks….. it just goes on and on. I felt unappreciated, lost in paperwork and duties, and that I had lost my purpose totally this time. It was no longer a joy to me, I felt like I wasn’t helping people at all, and I was extremely depressed.
I became increasingly unhappy with my job and it displayed physically again. This time with crying and panic attacks before I even got to work. I was sick all the time with respiratory infections. I thought this is it… something had to change. I looked back at massage again. Here was a career that I could have a direct impact on someone and be an aid to actual healing. So I got to work…. I applied to a Massage Therapy Program in St. Louis called A Gathering Place. If you are ever interested in pursuing massage as a career this is the place to go! The universe directed me to this school for a reason which I will get to a little later.
Some of the classes and school hours where during the day. This was a challenge to figure out how I would attend because of work. My manager was unwilling to work with me on changing my schedule so I ended up saving all of my vacation and sick days, using these days off to attend school during the day. In the evening after work I would head up to school for classes from 6 pm to 10 pm. This was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, being that I was also a single Mom at the time taking care of a 2-year-old. At one point I even quit the program because life was beating me down and I talked myself out of my dream again.
About 6 months later things changed in my life and I contacted my mentor Cindy at The Gathering Place to see if there was a possibility of coming back and finishing what I started. I explained what was happening in my world and she was extremely supportive and enthusiastic about helping me finish the program. The universe knew from the beginning that I needed her and her school to reach my dreams. I really couldn’t be more grateful and thankful for her presence and influence in my life’s path! ❤
I finished the program and graduated from The Gathering Place on May 8, 2013!
I quit my job as a Nurse and worked for a Chiropractor and at Massage Luxe right after graduation. I was going towards my dream with my end goal in owning a Wellness Center. I realized while in massage school that I not only wanted to be the best F%$#@ massage therapist around but I also wanted to own my own wellness center.
I was discouraged right away with my new career. I hated Massage Luxe… I was physically working my butt off making very little pay. While I am grateful that places like Massage Luxe educated the public on Massage, normalizing it… I am not happy how they work their therapists treating them almost like a fast food assembly line, undervaluing the skill and knowledge levels of these therapists. I quit there after just two weeks and started working for a chiropractor. I liked working here because it was medical massage based and not just fluff massages. After 6 weeks though the flow of clients was slow and I knew I would have to pick up a second job to stay afloat. That inner voice crept in again and said “What are you doing? Do you know it’s going to take years to get to your dream at this rate? You have a nursing career, go back to what is safe. You were crazy for doing this.” It went on and on… my inner voice won, and I quit Massage Therapy and went back to Nursing.
Sadly, 2 and ½ more years past before I thought about pursing my dream again. That same unhappiness and empty void resurfaced again as soon as I started Nursing again, but I shoved it way back inside until I couldn’t take it anymore. This time my mind frame was different. I needed this and I owed it to myself to complete this and get what I want. So many times, in my life I have given up things or put it aside. Not this time…. First things first my company needed a name. At first it was called Sole Massage, but I changed it eventually to Cloud Nine Massage.
I started massaging friends and clients in a massage room I made in my house. I made announcements on Facebook offering Massage. I started getting clients. 😊 3 months later I thought I need to take this even further, so I decided to rent a small massage studio from another massage therapist in Kirkwood. I would book my massage clients on her day off. Again, I worked hard, putting out Facebook Ads and Groupons. I was still working as a Nurse during this time as well. I would work 7am to 4 pm Monday through Friday and massage Thursday-Friday 6am -9pm and Saturday 10 am-5 pm. I knew what I wanted and I kept putting it out to the universe what my dream was… I saw it in my mind and this time I was not letting go. About 6 weeks later I saw a post on Facebook by a girl I went to Massage School with. She owned a 4 room Massage studio on O’Fallon, Mo. She was selling her equipment and client book and looking for someone to take over her lease because she had moved out of state and could no longer run her business. When I first saw it I couldn’t believe it! Is this real?! This is exactly what I needed to get to my dream and fulfill my life’s purpose to give Love and be that person who helps you heal and stay well. So I contacted her and took a huge risk. Quit my job again as a Nurse a few months after moving into this studio once my income was established.
Now here I am! On my Path in-line with the universe and the beam. Using my Purpose to help others heal.
The PROUD owner of CLOUD NINE MASSAGE!!!!!!
This has been the most amazing experience! I have learned you need to have a goal and figure out what your purpose is and actually realize it…. Wake up to it and let go of that fear. You can have anything you want in this life! I had my dream in the beginning I just kept letting my sub-conscious and that inner programed voice talk me out of it. It is a struggle every day… that inner voice still attacks me especially on days we are slow or I run into business obstacles.
I have learned:
In order to get your dreams and for your life to get in line on the beam… You need to love yourself first. Let down your shield and allow that inner light shine. You are powerful.
Just do it! as Nike would say. Don’t think too much on how you are going to reach your goal because that allows those inner thoughts to take control. FTH!
Every day is a struggle with those inner thoughts bringing you down! Don’t give up! Stay Positive and look around you for what you have to be grateful for.
Gratitude – express this every day as often as you can. Thanking the universe and all that it provides.
Make an alliance with someone you know that can help you reach you goal. I have made several alliances and they all served me in getting to my dream.
Make a commitment and keep it. When we break commitments to ourselves we allow discouragement, disappointment with ourselves, and a whole bunch of other negative thoughts creep in and take over. This for me led to depression and extreme unhappiness.
Surround yourself with likeminded people that support and love you.
Work hard and give extra in everything that you do.
Win-Win. Remember we are powerful and we should use this power in love. Give to someone out of love but also love yourself in return with a reward.
Thank you for reading my blog today!
I wish and send you all Much Love!