Facebook Page: For Body and Mind Therapeutic Massage Become a Fan!
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/forbodyandmind
Networking for Integrative Health
Events and discussions for Integrative Health professionals
On Meetup: San Francisco Integrative Health Networking
On Facebook: San Francisco Integrative Health Networking
- MSTCM – December 13, 2008
- Tui Na – September 15, 2007
- Tai Chi – December 21, 2000
- Advanced Massage Therapist – December 19, 1999
- Therapeutic Seated Massage – April 19, 1998
- Advanced Massage Techniques – March 22, 1998
- Specific Low Back Massage – March 6, 1998
- Specific Neck & Shoulder Massage – January 6, 1998
- Relaxation Massage – November 16, 1997
- American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Eastern Way Martial Arts – member of Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong’s Plum Blossom Federation
- American River College
- California Institute of the Healing Arts & Sciences
- Wellness & Massage Training Institute
- Health Enrichment Center
- Purdue University
My training as a massage therapist has been somewhat eclectic. I entered the health & fitness industry around 1996/97 at about the lowest rung of the ladder I could, as a janitor at a health club. I got into massage therapy after the club had gone through three massage therapists over a period of three months. I figured I could do that, and the owner of the club gave me the opportunity to give it a shot.
Not wanting to get pigeonholed into Swedish relaxation massage, I started with an instructor who approached relaxation massage from a sports therapy background. From there, I took workshops in specific therapeutic techniques. I also began an Oriental Studies program at the Wellness & Massage Training Institute that gave me an introduction to the philosophy behind Chinese medicine. While I wasn’t able to immediately pursue this course, I knew it was the direction I wanted to go.
From my initial certification in November 1997, I practiced for a little over a year in Lafayette, Indiana before moving to Sacramento in 1999 to get some additional training. After completing my Advanced Massage certification, I did massage on the side while selling exercise equipment at Sacramento Exercise Equipment Center. I fell in love with Tai Chi at Eastern Ways Martial Arts. While in Sacramento, I also took a couple of classes at American River College.
By the end of 2002, I considered getting back to school to complete my bachelors degree to build a more financially secure career. As I began to research my options, I found schools for Chinese medicine, and the timing just clicked. In April 2003, I began taking courses at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco.
During my time at ACTCM, I completed my Tui Na certification, interned at St. James infirmary, the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, the Auricular clinic at ACTCM, as well as the ACTCM community clinic. I completed 451 hours of training in the Tui Na program and over 3200 hours in the Masters degree program , which included 843 clinical hours. Since I began training as a massage therapist, I have been exposed to myofascial release, sports and deep tissue therapy, cryotherapy and heat therapy, active and passive stretching, lymphatic drainage, as well as others lost to the fog of memory.
I have been many things in my life before earning my Masters degree in Chinese medicine. Grad student, amateur photographer, massage therapist, massage therapist/tech support, sales manager, salesman, pizza delivery man, facilities maintenance supervisor (read glorified janitor), security guard, and temporary labor. In many of the professional roles above, the work tended to be labor intensive without a lot of compensation. As a massage therapist and as an acupuncture intern, I’ve treated many who are in similar situations. I’ve also treated some who are more well off. One of the impressions that both of these types of experiences have left me with is the importance of health maintenance services that are financially and psychologically accessible. Services have to be affordable enough that people are able to use them when needed. Sometimes people need not only to know what services are available that can be helpful, but also feel comfortable enough to give themselves permission to make use of those services.