My Story –
I have had a variety of jobs in my life. I have worked in convenience stores, warehouses, hospitals, nursing homes, copy shops, hotels, and 3 years in the Army (not in this order). Most recently were the hotels. I started as a night auditor and worked my way up to assistant manager in about 9 years. I was then recruited to be a subcontractor working with a large hotel chain. My job was to travel around north and south America to install the computer networks, trouble shoot, and assist the staff to open a new hotel or convert from another brand. Needless to say, this was all very high stress.
While I was still on staff as the assistant manager of the hotel, I woke one morning with pain in my neck, my head bent to one side, and I couldn’t move my head. After a trip to the doctor, x-rays, and MRI’s, I was diagnosed with two herniated discs in my neck. They were so bad that I could easily see them in the MRI myself. I still have the MRI films.
I was sent to a surgeon and told that my only option was surgery to correct the herniated discs. He explained the surgery to me and scared the hell out of me. The main thing I heard was he wanted to cut my throat in the next couple of days. My reaction, I have obligations at work for the next few weeks and cannot take the time off. So, what do we do in that time? I was prescribed steroids and decompression therapy. They put my head in a “rack”, applied weight and stretched my neck. The pain was gone instantly, but would return during the day. I did this three times a week and I did get progressively better and I kept working.
On my own, I took the MRI films to the chiropractor that I had been seeing for a number of years for back pain. He studied the MRI films and told me that it was possible that he could help. There was also the possibility that it could paralyze me as well.
I considered my options for a couple of days and decided to let the chiropractor do his thing. I had seen him for a few years and trusted him because he had helped me so much before with lower back pain.
The chiropractor took me into the adjustment room, placed me on the table and carefully made one adjustment to my neck. I immediately felt and heard a very loud pop. I was still in pain, but could feel that pressure had been relieved. That was all that was done that day. I continued the decompression therapy and saw the chiropractor every day for about two weeks. Eventually, the pain was gone and I could move my head the full range of motion. Although I improved, I continued to see the chiropractor regularly for a long time.
After taking the position where I traveled all the time, I was not able to see the chiropractor as often as I should. I was in airplanes and sleeping in different beds and different pillows all the time. Lots of stress and the pain in my neck started to return.
I was in Trinidad on one of my trips. It was a large hotel, so there was a group of us working. I had time to do other things, so I decided to have a massage. I booked it at the hotel spa. I had never had a massage before and I was nervous. After all, I was fat, out of shape, had no idea what to expect, and the thought of laying naked on a table with a stranger rubbing on me was intimidating. I decided I could do it. I was not only out of town, but out of the country. So I would never see this person again.
The therapist began to work on me and paused. She told me that I was so tight that she couldn’t work on me with her hands. She got a large mechanical massager and worked on my back, neck and shoulders until I was loose enough that she could use her hands. She also suggested that I get more massages and learn to relax.
After that session I felt better than I had in years. So I started getting massages as often as I could. I was still traveling and didn’t know when or where I would be from week to week. I did not know people in most of the places I was going, so I started internet searches for massage therapists. I did find many listed, all with similar information, and a wide range of prices. How do you choose? I would often pick one that was as close to where I was going to be staying just so I would not get to lost in strange cities or who would come to me. Let’s just say I learned that there is a great deal of difference in the massages. During some of the massages I thought that I would like to learn to do this. During others I knew I could do better than this.
Then the economy dropped. I continued to work and travel for about a year, and then I was laid off. No one was building and opening new hotels. I was on unemployment and looking for work with everyone else. A year into this I thought about massage and that I had thought I could do this. So I looked into it: requirements, school, working for a spa, being independent. So while I could still draw unemployment, I went to school to be a massage therapist.
Seven months later, license in hand, and determined not to be one of the therapist that I knew I could do better than, now what to do? With the help of my partner, I rented a small office in a not too bad part of town, and begin to advertise. I built up a small clientele in a year and a half, enough to move to a better office in a better part of town. I lost a few clients and gained some new clients. I have learned that my clients are from many different walks of life and needing help with different problems. Young and old, thin and fat, active or not, I have learned to help many people and continue to learn more every day.
As a benefit for myself, getting up from the computer and being more active myself, I have lost between 60 – 70 pounds. I am in better shape, stronger, and healthier than I have been in years. Many of the little aches and pains that I thought were just part of getting older have gone away. I am still not where I would like to be, but I didn’t get in bad shape over night and I won’t get into good shape over night. For me, massage was and is a great place to start. This is what I want to share with my clients.