Updated: Apr 4, 2022
What defines an individual? Unfortunately, many argue that it is a traumatic experience or an experience that has completely changed one’s being. Life can
alter in a split second when an unanticipated injury or disease hinders someone’s normal daily life. I think there’s a lot we can learn from the stories of our past experiences —if we tell them in such a way that enables us to hear what they
really have to say.
When I began looking into colleges and careers, I never thought I would end up
where I am currently (today). Initially, I submitted my tuition fee for cosmetology
school online beginning of 2020. I had just put in my two-week notice at a bar where I was serving as a waitress and bartender for a couple of years after graduating high school. I was excited about this new chapter. Not only that, but I always had an idea of what I wanted to do; if plan “A” didn’t work out, I always had a “B” and “C” for backup. However, being a massage therapist was never in my mind until an unexpected life event took place.
Soon after applying for Cosmetology school, I started experiencing physical
pains and unnatural occurrences. The symptoms started to get worse with chest
pains and multiple neurological issues. I ignored them because I thought it was
from being on my feet and working late into the AM. One day, my legs completely
gave out, followed by chest pains I couldn’t bear. I was rushed to the ER, where
multiple tests were done. Unfortunately, the doctors had no conclusive answer to
what was going on. For two months, I was unable to walk, and my heart rate
stayed in the 160-180 bpm range (stationary/lying down). I feared my life would
end before it got started.
Slowly I started to “recover”. I could walk with assistance and although some
infection symptoms disappeared, I gained many more neurological issues. After
months of going to multiple doctors and testing, I finally had an answer - Chronic
Lyme Disease. This condition is an inflammatory and autoimmune disorder
affecting the neurological system as well as the body as a whole. I had to put my
dreams on hold in order to focus on my health. Without having health insurance, I
had to take a different approach, a holistic approach.
I was skeptical with holistic approaches, yet I felt I had nothing else to lose.
Massage was one of the first modalities I used to relieve and help with my
physical pain. I then had acupuncture treatments and took herb supplements and
bioactive peptides to help ease the symptoms of Lyme disease. I was completely
amazed by the results I experienced. The human body is an amazing, beautiful
and complicated organism that I was intrigued by. There are so many ways to
assist the human body physically, emotionally and energetically, and I didn’t want
to just manipulate one of these synergies but embrace the being as a whole. This
is when I decided I wanted to become a Licensed Massage Therapist.
A Licensed Massage Therapist is the person who is there for their client as well
as the duration of pain management and provides an oasis for them. People are
frequently a victim of a traumatic experience, or an injury, or are afflicted by a
debilitating disease. The emotional distress can typically be as trying as the
physical dysfunction. By showing compassion toward someone, you show that
you are there for them throughout their journey, whatever it may be. Whether it is
healing, self-love, pain management, or an escape from the real world, I
personally feel when working with someone, you gain insight on their body and
their specific needs. An ability to listen to patients and understand is also very
important for success.
There is a saying, “If you don’t heal your trauma, you will develop a physical
illness or idiopathic pain.” This happens to a lot of people, yet I find that it is rare
when someone talks about their disease or chronic condition. Often, it isn’t until
we lose something that we realize what we had, such as the value of our body’s
ability to take us through each day. It takes pain to identify someone else’s pain
and it took me being physically ill myself to understand what it’s like to be in a
chronically ill person’s shoes every day. My goal is to help the chronically ill
community because they suffer from both physical disease and also mental
health issues. I yearn to help those that hide in the dark, those who suffer in
silence, those who don’t know where to go, and those that feel lost, but I know
are not forgotten.
I was recommended to attend Avalon School of Massage by my massage
therapist, who is very successful himself. Avalon amazed me with their teachers,
curriculum, atmosphere, and professionalism. To take care of my future clients, I
am furthering my education to be an Ashiatsu massage therapist with additional
modalities such as cupping, acupressure, sports massage, reiki and most
So far, the school has given me a profound learning experience. I am building
and learning from my classmates and I know that through our mistakes, we can
only benefit our future. A smile of relief from my classmates after I finish
practicing on them is what motivates me to help others even more. Not only does
massage therapy make them feel good, but it also makes me feel accomplished
for the day. That is why I’m pursuing my passion to be a licensed massage
therapist, not only for myself, but for others as well.
If you are an Avalon student interested in applying for the Dr. Sophie Rydin Scholarship, please click here.