A Labor of Love
By Nancy Dail
Thirty-three years ago we started our school around our kitchen table. It was a labor of love to develop an art and science that has transformed into the residence of our 8,000 square foot building. As an independent massage school owner, we are now a minority. Now the market is shared with community colleges, trade and technical schools, beauty schools, and corporations with multiple campuses. Many independent schools have sold to the larger corporate businesses. Education and its venue have changed. Technology allows online courses to be the normal avenue to project information. Massage therapy classes have a practical component that has to be experienced in the class room. Technology can not replace the experience of touch – receiving and giving. Independent massage schools still provide that type of education.
In some ways the comfort zone of the kitchen table education is the experience of the independent school owner. One-on-one teaching is not unheard of and the individual is not a number but a name in the class room. Massage Therapy education is not just about the ability to provide services for the public. It is taking the sense of touch and developing an understanding of why we need to experience close human contact. It is about learning the benefits of touch and massage for each age group in almost any circumstance from birth to old age. It is about intent and realizing the potential for accelerating healing energies.
When I think about all the safe touch that our graduates have provided over the last 33 years, it warms my heart and continues to promote our mission here at the Downeast School of Massage: to train individuals in the art and science of therapeutic massage for and entry-level professional career, for continuing education and for personal growth. The personal growth part is not what adults usually sign up for. It comes irregardless of plans but as a part of the process of becoming a massage therapist and in-class-room course work.
Self-care is not part of the education of all health professional fields. As care givers, health professionals are often taught to expend their energies at the expense of self and not reserve stores to replenish healthy stock. This leads to unhealthy practices and eventual burnout in the form of depression, disease, or even injury. Massage therapy can not afford to not teach self-care as the therapist will otherwise not last in the profession. The independent school owner embraces this need as the focus of the school is about the student and his/her success.
The Downeast School of Massage starts its Fall classes next week. It is not too late to enroll and become part of the rewarding career field of Massage Therapy. This career needs individuals to perpetuate growth and provide services to people of all ages. Massage Therapy is not an obscure profession anymore but an accepted part of health care. Our complete integration is upcoming and part of the near future. After being a massage therapist for almost 40 years I choose to be part of the future of this great career field and will continue to provide safe touch for my clients and touch education for my students. Join us in this adventure! www.downeastschoolofmassage.net
Nancy W. Dail, BA, LMT, NCTMB has been a professional practicing massage therapist and a member of the AMTA since 1974. She is the founder and director of the Downeast School of Massage in Waldoboro, Maine (USA) (1980). A leader in her field, Nancy presents workshops internationally, is certified in Orthopedic and Sports Massage, and has developed the working philosophy of Dimensional Massage Therapy as lead author in Kinesiology for Manual Therapies published by McGraw-Hill. Her BA in Health, Arts, and Science from Goddard College helps her balance her administrative duties as Director with teaching Dimensional Massage, Advanced Skills, Kinesiology, Ethics and related subjects at DSM.