Many people ask when I knew I wanted to be a massage therapist. I always laugh and say I don't really know! My first memory of having an interest in massage was when I was very young– 10 or so– when I was in a summer gymnastics camp between 4th and 5th grade. I had a camp counselor by the name of Amy who was about 16 and my idol.
One day she asked me if I could rub her shoulders and since I adored her, I excitedly said yes as I sprang up from my chair. Of course I had no real idea what I was doing, but I distinctly remember her saying “Wow! That feels really good!” Her reaction made me feel so happy and I believe that was the seed that planted my passion for massage.
As I got older, I wanted to be many things when I grew up: a marriage counselor, a wedding planner. While working on my school newspaper I convinced myself that I was going to be the editor-in-chief of the Chicago Tribune! But when I realized my friends would eagerly sit next to me because I would start massaging their feet, hands or neck, it became apparent to me that there was really something to this whole “massage” thing.
By my junior year in High School, I had decided I was going to National University of Health Sciences, in Lombard, Illinois. I started in September of 2008 and graduated in December of 2009 with over 800 hours of education and elective classes. I had also practiced on dozens of people before graduating to get as much hands-on experience as I could before working my first massage job.
I started as an LMT in a Healthsource office, a chiropractic franchise, where I worked with a team of healthcare practitioners. I became a Certified Injury Prevention Instructor (CIPI) and trained other massage therapists to work in a way that reduced their risk of injury and burnout. After moving to a different town, I worked in a private Chiropractic practice until I moved to Florida in March of 2012.
Starting out in the Sunshine state, I worked with two Chiropractors until I decided I wanted a change of pace and began doing Chair massage at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. After working a rough few months during the graveyard shift (I really enjoy sleeping at night!), I moved on to working at Tampa Bay Downs continuing with Chair Massage.
While working at the Downs, I decided I wanted to get back to working in the chiropractic setting and started working at Bode Chiropractic one day a week. When the other massage therapist there decided on a career change, I was offered the full-time position and said goodbye to Tampa Bay Downs after 2 and half years!
I have now been with Bode Chiropractic for over 4 years and recently have started doing private session on my own. I love the balance of working in a fast-paced, busy Dr’s office and working by myself. It’s the best of both worlds!
I have taken continuing ed classes in Active Isolated Stretching, Medical Massage, Swe-Thai Massage and am currently learning Traditional Thai Massage. I make it point to keep learning new techniques to keep my skill-set ever-expanding and fresh. Plus, it keeps it interesting for me and ensures that I don't get bored!