So, how does a girl go from "I'm going to get an MBA" to "I'm going to go to massage school"?
My interest in bodywork actually started my senior year at NYU. Like any good senior, I was looking for a better way to procrastinate, and ended up at the New York Open Center's open house, in a free shiatsu class taught by Marianne Fuenmayor.
I'm always up for learning something new, and always up for doing something relaxing. But Marianne's class was a little bit life-changing. First thing she taught us - both giver and receiver support each other in shiatsu. It is a concept that is reflected in the Japanese symbol for "human being":
It's a wonderful concept - human being is all about supporting and letting yourself be supported by your fellow humans. I loved the spirit of community that Marianne fostered in her classes. Between that, my knack for picking up all things physical (see: dancing, yoga), and the way that Eastern healing philosophy just made sense, I was hooked. My night of procrastination turned into a year's worth of study that only ended when I moved to NJ, but I was still searching for a way to further infuse that sense of community into my life.
And why oncology massage? While my mom was fighting ovarian cancer, she had a ton of severe side effects from her chemotherapy and the medicines that were supposed to treat the side effects of the chemotherapy. I suggested she try a more holistic approach - maybe acupuncture, to at least help with the pain. Being a physician, she was reluctant to try it. Even after convincing her that it was a good idea, she resisted, saying, "I don't know anyone I'd trust to do it." Which was a good point - even I was reluctant to use the shiatsu I knew with my mom, for fear of doing something wrong. So now The Institute for Therapeutic Massage has taught me how to do it right. Even if I can't help my mom anymore, I can help someone else's.