Bridget Todd, 47, of Huntingtown, Maryland, graduated from the College of Southern Maryland in December 2015 with a certificate in therapeutic massage. Part of her education was funded by a $1,000 grant from the Successful Hands Grant Program, sponsored by Biofreeze, Massage Envy Spa and Bon Vital'. Todd was one of eight massage therapy students who won the grant by submitting a 200-word essay on “What being a successful massage therapist means to me.”
“It means keeping up with current research and always continuing to learn,” Todd wrote in her winning essay, “whether it be conferences, following a mentor, or seminars and workshops to keep abreast and current with the best information to help your clients achieve and maintain optimal wellness.”
FutureLMT.com interviewed Todd, who had been a nurse for more than 20 years when she became a massage student, to find out how she plans to use her new skills.
When and how did you decide massage therapy was the right career for you?
[As a nurse,] I’ve been involved in health care for a long time. I’ve been thinking about massage for a few years, and finally got to the period of my life where I was able to go back to school; the timing worked out right. I’ve always liked alternative medicine, and being in health care, I know that a lot of times people have to take medicines to fix things. Massage is something people can do as an alternative to decrease the medication they take.
I’m still going to keep nursing, because I really love what I do. I feel like massage is a good supplement, and it might work to my benefit to do something in the hospital where I work, or maybe a chiropractic office.
What areas do you plan to specialize in?
I’m more interested in the non-spa type of settings; therapeutic massage, bringing massage to people who have an injury. That’s probably the area that I’ll focus on.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a massage therapist?
[I] just graduated, but [I] did have a lot of experience with our clinic. At the college we would have volunteers come in; most of the time faculty at the college would volunteer to get massaged so [the students] didn’t have to just practice on each other. Honestly, I think the most rewarding thing is seeing how people feel afterward, and knowing that I’ve adapted the massage to what they need. They get off the table and they’re really happy, and you can tell they’re probably going to have a good rest of the day.
In your essay, you talked about keeping up with current research in massage. How do you plan to keep up with the latest?
[I didn’t have] a lot of time to read journals while I was in school, because I have my full-time job as a nurse; there wasn’t much time for additional reading. In the future what I will do is definitely read journals and belong to organizations, professional organizations that are related to massage. I also think continuing education is a key factor because it always seems like there’s something new. I feel like [with] massage therapy, there isn’t a whole bunch of research data out there that shows support for a lot of the [massage techniques] that are being done.
In five years, where do you see yourself and your career?
I would hope that I’m at the point where I can open my own private practice. I think I’ll have enough experience working for somebody else to be able to run my own business.
About the Successful Hands Grant Program
The Successful Hands Grant Program™, developed through the collaborative efforts of Biofreeze®, Massage Envy Spa® and Bon Vital'®, supports professional massage students and their schools. The 2016 program, which launched March 1, allows students to apply for one of eight $1,000 grants. In addition, each winner’s school will receive a $500 grant and a $500 product package.