As many students begin their school year, tomorrow I will finish with mine.
Through an unlikely series of events, I was able to earn my licensure for massage therapy in the state of New Jersey through my county college.
While I am grateful to be able to enter this field, I am excited to be finished with school. I am excited for an end to anatomy and physiology classes at 8 a.m. I am excited for the end of tests.
I really hate 8 a.m.
I am most excited to get my license and start working.
Massage is a scientific yet artistic profession. It gives health benefits. Massage therapists have to know how the body moves, which body parts are where, what to do and what not to do. On top of that, massage therapists are also artists. As each person’s body looks, acts, feels, and responds differently, so each massage is a little different.
The human body is depicted in all other art forms: sculptures, paintings, drawings, writing, lyrics. Massage therapy is no different. The massage table or chair is my easel and my client is my canvas. My job, as an artist and a therapist, is to allow my canvas to represent relaxation, good health, and beauty.
Before becoming a massage therapist, I regularly received massages. I found the best massages I have ever had were given by therapists who treated my body like a canvas and not just a routine. I’ve even written that on follow up surveys!
In class, we are taught routines. We are taught many specific ways to massage muscles. Routines are helpful, and being taught specific moves allows therapists to have many different tools for our tool belts.
Still, different therapists give different massages, even though we learn the same thing. My professors liken this to paint brushes and strokes. We can all paint to match the same image, but the paintings look different. Some strokes might be firmer strokes or gentler. Some colors or shades might look different. As a writer, I liken it to grammar and vocabulary. We all learn the rules of grammar, but some writers like to use fragments, run-ons, or complete sentences. Some writers have a strong vocabulary while others keep with the common vernacular. And some of us cannot spell. However, we all learned the same rules, or at least similar rules.
The human body is truly a work of art. The intricacies of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and the very fact that each one works is simply amazing! Fun fact: a muscle that works opposite of another muscle is often called an antagonist, like in literature where the main character’s opposite or advisory is called an antagonist. See? It is art!
Physical touch brings awareness to both the therapist and the client. The sense of feeling allows the client to acknowledge the tension or pleasure of a touch. Therapy allows release of tension and sometimes even a solution to that tension.
I can go on for days about the importance of massage, the importance of art, the importance of touch, the importance of stretching, the importance of good posture. I encourage every living thing that comes across this blog to get a massage. It’s okay to splurge once in a while on yourself or someone else. I encourage it. We are so busy day to day, distracted, disconnected, and stressed. Promote human connection, promote relaxation, promote body awareness and solutions. I encourage each one of you reading this to find a massage therapist/artist as soon as possible and take care of yourself, even if it’s just to simply relax.
I know I will. Not only am I getting a massage really soon, I picked the perfect profession for relaxation. My office will often be a dimly lit room with relaxing music playing. I hope to see some of you there!
Megan Andreuzzi is an animal lover and a traveler from the New Jersey Shore. She earned a degree from Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA in Liberal Studies with a dual concentration in writing and a minor in theater.
Background photo by Cristian Newman