Friday, September 10, 2010

Why I Became a Massage Therapist

Some people ask me why I chose to become a bodyworker and to leave behind an established and promising career in another field. It was a big shift in direction for me. The thought of becoming a massage therapist never once crossed my mind until about two years ago. I always appreciated massage therapists but I was on an entirely different path; one on which I had already invested significant time and other resources.

My reasons for becoming a massage therapist are multi-layered but it came down to asking myself: what do I hold to be true, and how can I make a contribution to the world that I find meaningful, given that our time here is limited and unknown and regardless of spent resources. The answers I came up with were: I see bodywork as fundamental connection and for me, connection is about as meaningful as it gets.

The word connection can have multiple meanings, but in this case, I am referring to a connection to self and to mankind. Other than math, touch is our only other universal language. It gives us with the ability to relate, to communicate, to understand, to draw conclusions and ultimately, to connect. That sort of connection is vital for our health and well-being.

There are many reasons why massage is good for us, (which I will also write about later). My experiences thus far in the field of bodywork have proven to me over and over again that the power of touch yields tremendous healing benefit. Little in my field affects me as deeply as working on an elderly person. I see myself in an 85-year old woman that responds to circulatory work as if it were the best thing that's happened to her all year. I wonder what she has experienced in her life and how much touch means to her given how I understand it for myself.

The effects of a massage may seem temporary, but what isn’t?  There is evidence that shows massage does create long-term positive biologic changes in the body. I see bodywork as progressive healing, one gift we can give to ourselves that does have an effect that can build in to something more with continued and committed practice. For that matter, that’s the connection I have to yoga as well, since I understand yoga to be a form of self-massage. Of course, in the case of yoga, rather than having a massage therapist do all the physical work, it falls on us to help ourselves.

At the end of the day, I come home from work feeling like I made a positive difference in someone else's life and that is a something that contributes to my own health and well-being. That is a motivating factor as well. Another reason may be: why not?

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