My first exposure to massage therapy was during my mother’s fight against breast cancer. She was especially comforted during her last few weeks as massages helped her relax and cope with the pain much more successfully than any of the medications. After her passing, I could not forget the positives of massage therapy for my mother and thought that I would like to be a part of those kinds of experiences for others. So, I contacted Heritage Institute in Manassas, VA.
Although I already held two college degrees in Computer Information Systems and Business Administration, I was still driven to move forward with my studies of massage therapy. It was not easy. I was holding a full time job and dealing with financial difficulties, but the financial aid office assisted me with a Pell Grant and student loans. And Heritage allowed me to set up a schedule that fit my other responsibilities. My admiration of massage therapy only grew as I began my classes. Although I did occasionally think I could not continue to balance additional schooling with my other demands and responsibilities, my instructor, Deana Bower, as well as the encouragement and friendly energy of the administrators, other faculty, staff and classmates at Heritage kept me engaged and focused. I learned so much about the human body—every muscle and organ, every system and the fascinating way they are all connected. And then to learn how massage therapy can be used in so many settings beyond the medical setting I had first experienced, including sport massage, relaxation massage and traditional Chinese medicine. I was totally hooked! And there was great fun along the way, as well.
I worked with the best professional athletes in the world, the NFL Washington Redskins, at their training camp (yes, I am a big fan) in August 2009 and continue today to provide massage therapy not only to the players but the coaches, too. Volunteering at the annual Washington DC Marine Corps Marathon in October 2009 and being part of setting a new Guinness World Record for the most people (167) being massaged simultaneously in one location is an experience I will never forget. After completing my training, Heritage career services arranged for me to complete my internship with Massage Envy and I became a full time employee right after graduation.
By January of 2010, I had passed my national exam and received my Virginia license as a Certified Massage Therapist, an accomplishment that will always rank as one of my greatest personal accomplishments. Now my goal is to help as many people as I can feel better and lead healthy lives with massage therapy, one massage at a time.