What do a mother with cancer, an elderly grandmother, a best friend with fibromyalgia, and lots and lots of kids all have in common?
ME! and massage.
I graduated from the Institute of Bodywork Studies‘ 500-hour massage therapy program in early 2009, and received my license in March of that year. In the course of my work as a massage therapist, I have noticed a strong correlation between the clients I tend to gravitate toward (and those who gravitate toward me) and my own life experiences:
♥ My mother was diagnosed with late-stage, already-metastasized cancer long before I began my massage journey. “Given” 16 months, she sadly passed away much sooner, remaining with us only six. In her memory, and in the memory of the plethora of friends and family members who had, have had, or currently live with cancer, I have chosen to “major” in oncology massage. I attended my first oncology massage workshop in November 2014, which decidedly affirmed the course of my career. My second oncology massage course in February 2019 resulted in even greater dedication to my chosen path.
♥ I grew up knowing only one grandparent; indeed, that amazing woman raised me from the time I was thirteen. I shall always owe her a debt of gratitude for all that she poured into me, even through my rebellious youth. When she became ill and no longer able to care for herself, I was determined to find a way to take her in to my home, as she had taken me in during my childhood. I had the unparalleled honor of caring for her throughout her final two years of life, and to walk with her, as far as I was able, as she prepared to step over the threshold of this world and into Eternity. I am always mindful that this population deals not only with the effects of aging, but also the myriad of medications that usually go along with it, which often require adjustments to ensure a safe, comfortable massage session. Every time I massage a member of her generation, I am grateful for the opportunity to “give back” a little.
♥ Being best friends with someone with fibromyalgia had its challenges (I say “had” because she passed away a few years ago), as well as its great rewards (she was an awesome friend!). Some days, she was rip-roaring ready to take on the world; other days, she barely had the energy to call me and reschedule whatever we might have had planned for the day. I soon found myself figuring out ways to adjust her massage session for maximum results while not “overspending her spoons” (read about The Spoon Theory here), mindful not only of the condition itself, but also of medications and other relevant circumstances - all crucial to a safe, effective massage.
♥ As the mother of the nine most incredible people in the universe (I might be just a *teeny* bit biased here), along with three I never had the opportunity to meet, I have experienced quite a lot of “what comes with pregnancy”– so jumping right into prenatal massage was the “easy” part. I signed up for a 21-hour certification course in prenatal massage almost the moment my massage license was approved by the state, and I have enjoyed every minute of every prenatal massage I have given ever since! I love helping my Mommies-in-Waiting get comfortable (sometimes for the first time in "ever") on my table, and how often they tend to fall right asleep as I soothe their aches and stress away.
Words cannot express how much I love massaging, nor especially how much I love, love, love working with my “special clients”. Each and every one of my clients is “special”, by the way– even you otherwise-healthy people who come to me just to relax! As I continue along this journey, I pray that I will continue to learn and grow every step of the way, and that I will never, ever lose the wonder and awe that I experience each time I get to “lay hands” on someone and watch the stress, anxiety, and pain fade into oblivion!
Renee C. Houston LMT