One of the questions I always get during a massage (or even in casual talk in my personal life) is: How did you get into massage therapy?
I was literally conceived in the industry. My mother used to be a “cleaning lady” for the massage school, California College of Physical Arts (CalCOPA), in Huntington Beach, California. Back then, it was only a one room classroom with a jacuzzi and shower. She was pregnant with me when the founder of the school, Roland “Rollie” Clark, threw a baby shower for her.
As a toddler, my parents purchased a business in Huntington Beach called Huntington Sans Sauna. This was where my earliest memories of receiving massage begin. The spa included 2 showers, 2 bathrooms, a dry sauna, and about 5 or 6 massage rooms. My mom used to take me to work with her and have me either sit in the lobby and be quiet as sessions were going or stay in one of the back rooms with all my toys and coloring books. When I was allowed to sit i the lobby, sometimes regular clients got to know me.
During the times I got to sit in the lobby, I had access to the water cups and would get excited to fill up a Dixie cup with water to offer the clients who were finished with their session. They would always seem delighted to see the three-year-old child giving them water, service with a smile.
When, I became a young adult, I was my mother’s receptionist. She needed someone who spoke great English to answer the phones and book appointments, while she and her employees were busy. I did this for a couple years, and some of her massage therapists were continuing their education as laws and ordinances began to change in the county. Sometimes, I was asked to be a practice body for their upcoming tests for licensure. As I received massages, I enjoyed every minute of it. I also thought, “I can do this.” My mother offered to send me to massage school.
Sitting on the thought of whether I should go or not, I decided to go to school. I attended CalCOPA just like my mother did. At the time, I only needed 200 hundred hours to get my license, but by the time I finished school, ordinances changed again, bumping the least amount of hours to 500 at the time. At first, I was a little discouraged. I wanted to earn money, not keep spending it on courses.
It went by quickly, and I was earning money, and I eventually started paying for my own classes as I continued education every year. While in school, I was told the average career span for a massage therapist is 6 years. I have been a massage therapist since 1998. I owned a spa by the time I was 24. I didn’t like “owning” a business, but that’s another story. Though, I have had breaks in between my career, because of moving and needing to work, I took on jobs in other industries (retail and real estate), I have always considered myself a Massage Therapist.