The question that often follows “How long have you been doing this?” is: “How do you like this work?” The answer is pretty easy. I love it.
I’ve tried several other careers and even done well in a few, yet none of them held my heart and my interest like massage therapy. This particular work is, for me, a fantastic blend of several different jobs. I am a massage therapist, which means I am:
It started in school where I did a deep dive into the anatomy of the muscular system, and started on the path to learn more about Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology. It continues now as I try to connect everything I do with some understanding of the working of the human body, and with information from the latest research I have been reading. It is my job to be curious, to ask questions and to continue learning and discovering.
I learned a skill that I perform with my hands. After my period of learning and apprenticeship (at the student clinic) I started practicing this skill and I work every day to further perfect and advance my skills. I have apprentices (students) of my own now, and as I am guiding them through how to work with their hands, I am finding better ways to work with my own.
Given the chance and the interest, I will talk to every client about what I notice and what that could mean for their particular body. I will also take the time to talk through what massage might be able to address and what might need a different kind of support.
As I said to a client this week, I may be the “expert” in the room on muscles and soft tissue, but each client is the expert on their body. I am here to learn from them.
Every human, every human body, is unique. Every day and space that body moves in is unique, so every time a person walks into my office it is the time to create something that never existed before. Massage does not, for me, happen by formula. It happens by being completely present in the moment so I can make something new that will never happen the same way again.
I have the opportunity to be all of these things, and sometimes more besides. This week some asked me, “Have you always been a massage therapist?” I’ve had lots of occupations, and this is the one that lasts because it pulls in all of those jobs. It asks the most of myself and give the greatest rewards.