Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions

It's always funny to me when websites have a FAQ section that sounds completely contrived, as if nobody has ever actually asked a question. Through my 8 years of massage therapy practice, I have encountered several frequent questions that I still don't have clear answers for, at least during a short conversation with a new client. So now, here, I intend to flesh out some of my answers to explain how I got where I am today.

"How did you get into massage therapy?"

My first exposure to any type of massage therapy was when I was 16 years old and started dating my 1st girlfriend. I met Girlfriend through my older sister's college bible study group at our church where we were very active. Girlfriend was 19 years old. She had read some books about massage techniques and we "practiced" on each other to be affectionate and intimate, in lieu of more typical sex oriented teenage behavior. After 3 months of that I was hooked- perhaps for some of the wrong reasons, but definitely hooked on the idea that massage was more than a collection of techniques.

Aside from being in the marching band at whatever college I went to, I had no clear direction for a lifelong career to pursue. I liked University of Central Florida for several reasons (especially the Marching Knights), applied, was accepted and started looking at majors. Physical therapy was the only thing that answered my interest in bodywork but there was a 2 year waiting period to get into the program and my high school experience was too heavily weighted in band classes to compete with the math and science types who were trying to decide between pre-med and PT at UCF, so I marked it off the list in about 5 minutes. I chose Psychology because it was easy for me, there was a tiny spark of interest and the one positive thing anyone said about it was that it was a good choice for an undecided major to get pre-req's out of the way.

Psychology lead me to Criminology to correspond to my job as a police dispatcher and potential career in law enforcement one day. I knew the guys who had a bachelor's degree made a bit more money than the 19 year olds who left high school and went straight to the academy, so I took full advantage of the PD's tuition reimbursement program and aimed my sights at police work. When 9/11 happened, while I was sitting in a Psychology class having been up all the night before on midnight shift, I discovered just how insane police work could become. Our tiny little unrelated city in Florida got racist, paranoid, and irrational in a matter of hours and it stayed that way until I left a year and a half later. I was already burned out on studying the criminal mind. That combined with working 50+ hours a week in a high stress job BEFORE anyone would have a reason to shoot at me, lead me to the other end of the spectrum of public service. 

Massage is a job in a softly lit room with as few noisy distractions as possible. Massage is a job that helps people cope with their stress and builds health in a positive way. Police work, as I saw my ability to participate in it at that time and place, was high stress, high risk, and largely ineffective at helping anybody. The one good thing about frequent, mandatory, overtime as a police and fire dispatcher is BIG paychecks. As a single dude living with my parents at 21 years old, my bills were nominal and my bank account was swollen with money I had no time to spend.

I took my money and paid for massage school at Space Coast Health Institute in West Melbourne, out right. After the first 6 months of school, I quit my PD job and finished the last 6 months. Then I focused on my new career full time. There are certainly no regrets about my Psychology schooling or my experiences at Cocoa PD. Every bit of those experiences progressed me into the therapist I am today.

Perspective is extremely valuable to me and I sincerely believe God has put me in each job I've had and introduced me to each important person in my life to enhance my world view, to become a more effective healer.

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