More Than Relaxation: Speaks With a Massage Therapy Student

Oct 27, 2010

Are you a people person with a passion for healing? Consider a career in massage therapy! In honor of National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, spoke with a student training to be a massage therapist. Read on to learn what this preparation entails.

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By Megan Driscoll

Melissa Weems, massage student, Kaskaskia College

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Melissa Weems

Meet Melissa Weems, a 30-year-old massage therapy student at Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Illinois. Before starting massage school, Ms. Weems earned a certificate in office technology. Having her own healing experience with massage, though, showed Ms. Weems that a career in massage therapy was right for her. It's National Massage Therapy Awareness Week - what is the most important thing people should know about massage?

Melissa Weems: It isn't just for relaxation. Massage has many health effects, such as reduced anxiety, improved mood, improved flexibility, and range of motion. It also strengthens the immune system and provides assistance with chronic pain, fatigue, hypertension, fibromyalgia and more. What are your favorite styles of massage, both as a practitioner and as a recipient?

MW: It's hard to choose. As a practitioner, Swedish or deep tissue. As a recipient, Swedish or facial. How did you become interested in studying massage therapy?

MW: I knew someone who was an LMT and began seeing her for relaxation. But I found that it helped with my frequent headaches and boosted my mood. I wanted to give others the pleasure and relief that I felt. As a student, is it possible to specialize in a specific type of massage therapy? If so, what's your specialty?

MW: Yes, it's possible to specialize. I haven't really decided yet. My options are wide open, but at this point I'm thinking pregnancy massage, and I would also like to work with children. Can you walk us through a day in the life of a massage student like?

MW: Right now I have classes two days a week, all day. I'm also a wife and mother, so the other days are pretty busy, but I try to find about two hours a night for homework or study time. I like using notes and flashcards, and free time goes to family, massage, research and reading. Many of our readers may be interested in becoming a massage therapist. What is the most important thing they should know about studying massage?

MW: It's intense, and it's a lot of information to take in. Stay organized, manage your time well and practice every chance you get. Do you have any other tips for someone who might be interested in following this career path?

MW: Just keep your mind and options open. You aren't stuck with one thing. There are a ton of options and the education is ongoing. There's always more to learn. Finally, I'd like to give you the opportunity to share any information you'd like about studying massage therapy.

You work closely with your classmates and your instructors. You'll learn so much more about massage than you even thought there was and meet some great people along the way.

Good luck to all the future massage therapy students!

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