How massage therapy influenced my life and how I became one

The first experience....

It was my grandmother the loving mother of my mom whom we call Lola who was responsible for making me feel how a body massage can heal a sick child. I was 10. I remember I was lying down in a floor mat, (back then we didn’t have a bed yet)  was very hot and lying over a burning mat (that was what I thought and how I felt)  and moaning because of a very high fever. I was literally having a nightmare because I even thought the windows in front of me were alternately opening and closing.

My Lola who was sleeping in the same room with me and my sisters woke up and went to me. She gave me a tepid sponge bath and placed a cold compress over my forehead to lower my fever. After a while, I felt her caring hands working on the different parts of my body with an extracted coconut oil that she always have in handy.

Still vivid in my memory was when she placed a thumb pressure (trigger point) on top of my forearm near the elbow, then she massaged it in circular motion.  It was painful but in a different way, it was soothing. The next day I woke up sweating and feeling much better. I was healed.

In the old days, especially in the Philippines the use of hands to relieve an aching head, back or the whole body was a common practice. In our own native tongue, the one performing the healing massage is called "hilot or manghihilot".

Me and my siblings grew up with few of them. Whenever we had fever that does not heal within a few days, we will be brought to them and we will be given a back massage. And the next day we will be up and about. These people probably doesn't have the scientific knowledge or the education needed to perform the act like someone who does, but they knew how it is done through their many years of practice.

What I have become....

I graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1982 and became a registered nurse in the same year. I have worked in the hospital, industrial nursing and private practice, in geriatrics and in the academe for almost 8 years. While teaching I also took some units in Masters of Arts in Nursing.  What I love the most out of the different nursing roles I portrayed was when I was able to teach and impart my knowledge and skills to aspiring young adolescents wanting to follow our footsteps. It was both fulfilling as an individual and as a nurse dedicated in her calling.

Where I started....

In September 2001 I’ve obtained a certificate of attendance from attending a 2 days seminar in Iridology, Reflexology, Thai Massage and Swedish Massage. I’ve attended the said seminar as part of a continuing professional education program for massage therapist and nurses. Little did I know that it’s going to be a part of my life, not only personally but professionally.

In the said seminar, I and other attendees such as doctors, nurses, physical therapist and massage therapist learned a lot not only theoretically but practically.  We were trained by 3 respected people in the business. It was a  great training. And because we all belong to the allied medical fields, it was somewhat easy to understand and learn everything related to the 4 respective fields of study.  

We were also told that if we were to consider it as a profession it pays more than if a person is working as an employee especially in the US. I’ve always wanted to go to that part of the world and wishfully thinking if that happened I can combine both being a nurse and a massage therapist.

After the 2 days seminar, we were given the opportunity to work as trainees in the spa and massage clinic owned by Madam Mercy Tan Ong, the Proprietress and International Researcher and Investor of Mass Therapeutic Optimum (MTO) Research and Training Center where the training was conducted. We also practiced with each other and while doing that contemplated on making it as our second job.  

I immediately applied what I have learned from the seminar. Aside from the training at the clinic, I’ve practiced a lot with my family, to my parents but mostly to my mom, my sisters, my nephews and nieces. I was just having fun doing it especially when they were craving for more, telling me how good it felt. I like mostly doing Swedish massage and hand and foot reflexology.

Eventually it became my part time job. A friend of mine who was a physical therapy graduate and a massage therapist convinced me to work with him conducting seminars about massage therapy and promoting massage machines. We even went house to house educating the public about the importance of massage as part of a health regimen. Back then marketing and promotion was more of a personal thing unlike today that we have social media that easily reaches tons of people.

With his help and my own initiative to study, learn and understand more about it, I’ve become more skillful. I’ve acquired more techniques, and along the way I’ve also learned about Acupressure and Shiatsu massage, merging this techniques with Swedish massage.

Because he was having a pool of clients and can’t accommodate anymore clients, he gave me some of his clients and from there I’ve developed my pool of regular clients. Most of them belong to the upper middle class family who can afford such a “luxury" which is not but a health necessity,  something our body needs to relieve it from tiredness, pain and stress just to name a few.  Some of my closest friends, colleagues, and their family  became my regular clients too.

I was also hired as a massage therapist on call in a famous facial center where I lived. It eventually became a second nature to me. And since I was a single mom, the earnings I got from it  had helped me with meeting the needs of my growing children, Justin and Isabel.

From 2001 to 2003 before I plunged into teaching again, working part time as a massage therapist while being employed as a Sales Consultant in an insurance company and while being engaged in a small business was likewise fulfilling and rewarding.

I started teaching again in 2003 until August 2009 and continued working part time as a massage therapist but only to a number of vast clients who cannot just live, as they say :) without my caring  and healing touch and whom I can’t just say no whenever they text or call me.

I have earned their trust and respect and vice versa. They had so much belief in me and in the healing benefits of massage.

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