My plan was to blog weekly about my new endeavor. Seems my plans were sidetracked by my lack of motivation and utter exhaustion. So here’s my feeble attempt at starting out….. (4 weeks late).
It’s now the middle of week 4 and I must say that working full time and going to school are draining my life force faster than I would have imagined. At the begining of the month I started my year long journey into massage therapy. While I’m really excited about all there is to learn, I have a tad bit of concern about how well I will do physically. I’ve had a lot going on recently though. Many events, along with all the tasks and stress that come with it, so that is partially to blame. Now that June is around the corner, I can look on my calendar and see that my schedule has lightened up significantly.
Sounds a bit like I’m whining. *slaps self on hand*
Not my intention. There’s no whining in massage therapy. Sounds like a saying you’d find on a discount t-shirt website. But no, there is no whining. I’m happy. After being in the IT field for over 20 years, I feel that I’m finally learning more about myself, where I want to be and what I want to do. And so, the adventure begins!
Let me back track now and pretend that I started this blog on a weekly basis and summarize the past few weeks…..
Actually, let’s start before the first week. It took months of looking online, reading articles, talking with friends and family before I took the first step in contacting local schools. I already knew which school I wanted to attend, but in all fairness, I made appointments at two schools. I visited both, discussed the programs they offered and took a tour of each. School A seemed very cold and clinical. Although it did have quite a professional look to the waiting area and offices, it did lack that warmth and welcoming feeling. School B had a more of a putting-it-out-there feel to it. Kind of like opening its arms and saying here we are, come in and see what we do. From the initial impression, School B was a step ahead of School A. Even though I knew which school I was choosing, I noticed another very apparent difference. The School B contact kept in touch with me, provided additional information and was readily available to answer any questions I had. The School A contact was never heard from again even though they were to send me additional information regarding tuition and changes they were implementing.
After a few more months of giving it serious thought, I filled out the paperwork for School B and I was on my way.
Monday was the opening of a new chapter for me. It had been 10 years since I went to school and now I was starting all over again. I went to the school to pick up my books, fill out final paperwork and get my locker assignment. Like a proper school girl, I went on my lunch hour to pick up a lock so I was prepared when I arrived.
Tuesday was the first night of class. We met most of the teachers the first night and then jumped right into Swedish Massage. The week continued with Satvic Polarity, Anatomy and Physiology and ended the week with Philosophy of Natural Therapeutics. It was an awesome week! There was so much information to absorb. It was really exciting.
Week two started out with A&P where we started honing in on our palpating techniques. The clavicle was easy to find, but some of the other bony landmarks and muscles were not as easy to locate. It makes sense when you are looking at a book or a skeleton, but feeling through skin and navigating through the underlying tissue, muscles, etc, makes it a bit tougher to know that what you think you are feeling is what you are actually feeling for. It definitely is a challenge.
Following A&P, we did some review in Polarity and went over the techniques we learned from the previous week. The first time we practiced on each other I felt really relaxed. This time though, I had a different experience. I started feeling a bit naseous during certain hand positions. The teacher said that I was experiencing a release of of emotional energy. It did not feel too pleasant, but I suppose it was what my body needed to do and experience.
Before our next Swedish Massage class, we learned T’ai Chi Chih. I didn’t know that some of the movements were integrated into our proper body mechanics. It made much more sense when we put what we learned into pracice. We had two SM classes this week. The first one we learned about draping which included a modified version for the classroom setting. Since all the tables are laid out in a wide open classroom, there are different ways to drape and make sure your client is covered so that they are not exposed to the other therapists and clients in the room. Thankfully we practiced the draping techniques fully clothed to get the hang of it.
The second SM class we were given our first massages by graduate students. They lined up at the front of the room and talked about themselves, experiences and what modalities they preferred. All of us students were able to pick who we wanted for our massages and then off we went to do a live-run of our draping techniques. I think we all successfully managed to stay covered up.
I learned a few things on this night. One, I like straight vanilla massages. Two, I really like the knead-me-like-dough massages. Get the picture? 😉
The reason I say this is the school that I’m going to teaches quite a few modalities besides just swedish massage. There’s polarity, core synchronism, shiatsu, etc…. This is why I chose this school. I want to learn all these things and more. However, all I’ve ever known is regular massage and that’s what I’m used to. My feeling is this…. I believe that all the modalities are beneficial in their own ways, but it comes down to the level of expectation. When I think of massage, I think of having my muscles manipulated to provide relaxation and stress relief. Mixing modalities on me breaks that expectation and suddenly I’m laying there wondering why my arms were not massaged or why little attention was paid to my calves. During my massage though, I did not ask the therapist to change what she was doing. I allowed her to switch between the different modalities so that I could experience them.
Needless to say, I was somewhat disappointed in the overall experience because it did not meet the preset expectation in my mind. It was a learning experience though. I learned what shiatsu felt like. I recognized some polarity moves. Most of all, I discovered what I like and don’t like personally. I believe, though, that as I learn the other modalities, I will have a greater appreciation for them and their uses.