I had a late night discussion via chat with a teenaged family member, M, the other night, where she was asking about massage therapy and her future. In my home state, where M lives, the public schools administer career placement tests, so that guidance counselors can advise each student on the path towards what they’re interested in doing. M’s placement exam suggested she would be good at massage therapy, or other types of therapy careers.
I was straight with her. Massage therapy isn’t easy – this is very physical work, a good workout. It’s easier to hurt yourself as a therapist than it is sometimes to help the client on the table, especially if the therapist isn’t mindful of one’s body mechanics. And getting a degree in Applied Health isn’t a piece of cake either. Anatomy classes require dissection – if you’re squeamish about bodies or organs, you have two choices: suck it up and participate, or move on to another career. These are the same choices if you have a problem with touching feet, or nude bodies. Either you live with your choice and overcome the squeamishness, or you move on, because massage isn’t right for you.
On the other hand, my time as a massage therapist has been some of the most rewarding moments of my life. It thrills me to answer questions my clients ask. To be able to educate someone on how the human body works is an amazing feeling, and is something I’m incredibly passionate about. The human body, to me, is this truly awesome vessel that I get to work on. Each client is such a vessel, where you have the same basic structure as every client before and every one after, but each is home to a unique, amazing person and each body needs something different. Each body reacts a different way to the manipulations of massage.
To me, this is the miracle of life – celebrating each special form, and being an integral part of that form’s path towards a healthy, happy life. As a massage therapist on my own life path, these opportunities propel me forward and allow me to truly enjoy my time, my career, and I believe this is evident through my work.
In the end, my advice to M was simple: Life isn’t easy – sometimes, it sucks – but it’s the people we love and choose to surround ourselves with and the paths we take that make life worth living. Find something you enjoy, something you wholeheartedly love, and regardless of obstacles, go for it. Do what sets you free.