Heather Murray's boss at Bedford PT Health jokes that being a massage therapist is similar to waiting tables: you're there to serve the public—it's just a different kind of table and service. Clients aren't always at their best when coming in: they're dealing with injury or aches, and it's the knowledge and enjoyment of being around people that makes you suitable for the job.
Heather takes on this helping profession to improve her clients' quality of life. It's a continuous challenge, but there's always something to learn.
The School of Massage Therapy at ICT Northumberland College gave Heather the chance to complete the fast-track program in 18 months; she wanted to go in and get back to the working world as quickly as possible.
"It's very specialized and the teachers are registered themselves. You're learning from other people who have done the same job, and have the personal experience to pass on," says Heather.
The program at Northumberland College is filled with theoretical and practical work, where the students play client and therapist with each other before moving on to work on members of the public. It's beneficial to both parties because the students get to learn, and the people have access to cheaper massage therapy, as long as they don't mind a slower, learning process.
"It's a lot more challenging than people expect. It's knowledge-based and there are different avenues that you can go into like myofacial courses and cupping. There's a never ending supply of learning," says Heather.
Heather found her current job through a career fair at school, and has coworkers to bounce ideas off of from all different backgrounds. It's an eclectic mix of those who are just out of school, fresh with the latest theory, and others who have 30 years of hands-on experience from years of application.
Heather sees beyond the job aspect of massage therapy. As much as it is based on the knowledge, she focuses on connecting with her clients and creating a dialogue within her therapeutic relationships.