~ The Future of Massage Therapy is Wide Open ~
I see myself as an educator first and a massage therapist a very close second. My passion for each of these aspects of my life and career came about when I wanted to find my particular calling -- my niche -- in the world. At that time, almost a decade after I had completed an undergraduate degree and had started a family, I decided to investigate massage therapy.
Having earlier sworn that I would never go back to school, I surprised myself by enrolling in Elgin Community College’s first massage therapy class. I never knew learning could be so much fun and so wholly engaging. I didn’t know instructors could be so personable and interesting. I was hooked – this massage therapy stuff was so exciting. Learning about the body and how touch can affect all body systems gave me so much insight. It solidified for me how massage actually encourages the body to heal what our life and culture punishes – this amazing and adaptive structure we call our body. How did I not know this fact about this body I had been walking around in for decades?
I graduated in 2003 and started a small private practice. I worked with chiropractors and had a corporate seated massage business. Working with some of my past ECC instructors, I began to assist in their classes and eventually began to develop additional curriculum for the program I had completed. Subsequently, I was involved in achieving COMTA accreditation for ECC in 2007 and then continued to maintain that status to the present time. Passing my National Certification Exam in Therapeutic Massage leading to my NCTM and license in the then newly-licensed State of Illinois in 2005, was a milestone personally and professionally. It solidified my place into my profession, my niche.
While I continue in my private massage practice, I have also stayed in the teaching/learning environment at ECC, moving from program coordinator and instructor to my current position as Massage Therapy Program Director. Teaching, continues to be exciting and fulfilling for me. I love being with the students, watching the passion spark in them, guiding them toward understanding concepts that are new to them. My goal is to create an atmosphere in the classroom where questions are asked, curiosity is rewarded and learning is experiential.
What I have found in this amazing journey that I’ve been on is that this passion and excitement for teaching and practicing massage therapy has opened innumerable other doors for me. For example, one of my instructional mentors, Terry Martin, gave me the opportunity to write a surface anatomy lab exercise for his Hole’s Human Anatomy and Physiology Series Laboratory Manual. This opportunity led, in part, to review massage therapy textbooks for about eight years. Also, I am currently on the advisory board for Trail Guide to the Body, one of my favorite textbooks.
I have been a member of both ABMP and AMTA. I have attended conferences, workshops and classes all over the country, continuing to learn more about massage therapy, teaching and administration. My favorite experience so far has been attending the International Massage Therapy Research Conference. The amount of research-based information was overwhelming! The future of massage therapy is wide open and I couldn’t be happier that I get to see what comes next!
Whether I am in front a new group of students, reading a current article or in a treatment session with a client, I am inspired by the power of touch and the healing impact of massage therapy on all of us. My greatest desire is to see massage therapy education brought to a level that demands more from its therapists, in knowledge as well as passion for the subject matter.
~ Lurana Bain