For The Love Of Teaching Massage Therapy

FaceBookI started my teaching career January 2001, and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done!  I was hired on a Friday, received my books that day, and started teaching on Monday.  Let’s just say I didn’t sleep at all that weekend before I started, because I was reading all the books.  That first week of teaching, I kept asking advice from other instructors, and I got 100’s of different opinions on how to teach.

For the first month I taught right out of the book, will minimal lab in a technique class.  I only did it that way, because the person in charge of the massage program at that time told me it worked for her.  After that first month, I started to feel more comfortable and decided to add my flair.  Well, that was not acceptable to the Director of the program, and she kept having meetings with me to change the way I was teaching.

I was disappointed by most of the massage technique books at the time, that there were hardly any photos and mostly text.  How can you teach a technique class, with no instructions on how to perform massage techniques?  I decided to change that and started developing more techniques, besides the  ones I already knew.  I first drew the techniques (Not the greatest artist), but I knew what I was teaching, and it was easier for the students to remember them.  After a few years of using my drawings in one of my classes, I decided to up my game and took photos of the techniques.  That worked well, but some of my students were still having a hard time remembering them.  My last phase was to shoot videos of the techniques (2005).  Videos worked great, and I finally covered all my bases, so that my students could remember them.

CHOTHES117I quit teaching April 2012 to start working from home – managing social media accounts for many companies (The only reason I quit teaching, was because the director of the school was thinking about cutting the massage program).  It was a lot of fun working from home for the first few months, but then I noticed it was hard turning work off when I work from home.  I typically put in 14 hour days, and that was wearing me down.  My kids even text me…when they’re at home with me.  I’m more of an introvert, but I still need to be around people. 

Just a few months ago, a cosmetology school that was going to be starting a massage therapy program contacted me – and just last week that dream came true…I’m going to start teaching again!  I will continue working for the companies I now work for…plus adding more content to (Because I LOVE what I do), but I’ve had this small void in my heart for the past 3+ years, and it’s time to fill it with teaching!  The ONLY reason I started MassageNerd in 2006, was for my students and I will continue giving them the best education I can. Sleep, who needs sleep???

On a lighter note, my Wife wants me to get out of the house more. :) 

18 thoughts on “For The Love Of Teaching Massage Therapy

  1. I just read your teaching thoughts and they hit home. I totally understand where you were when you first started teaching, I was there too. Then you find your groove and realize how much you love opening doors for people and sharing this incredible journey with them. There is nothing quite like teaching for filling the heart with gratitude and really learning so much about the world from our wonderful students. Good luck for your return to the classroom. If you are interested I also wrote a blog about my experiences as a teacher, it is on my website:

    “The key to the knowledge door”

    Michelle Vassallo

  2. Your story, sharing of thoughts and insights on massage and touching lives reminds me up to this day, where i started my career as massage therapist and my first profesional teaching was on January 1991. It was a challenging…no sleep…gathering materials ( coz books then are the only source of tools..and colored glossy pages are expensive). No internet then…google.
    Sharing my skills in massage, tips techniques and so much more to thousands of people, makes me hype…i embrace the massage industry and until to my last stamina im keeping my bridge to teach…teach..share my expertise in massage just like you. Cheers to all Professional Massage Practitioner. God bless our mighty hands and our hearts for the love of massage.

  3. Ryan I am so excited to hear you will be back in the classroom. You are an amazing instructor and mentor for teachers new and seasoned! I don’t know how I would have survived that first quarter without your guidance and support! Best of luck to you and I look forward to more students hearing your contagious laughter in class

  4. Congrats ryan. Very excited for you. I was a student at the school (2004 graduate) you taught at but went in the evenings so i had other instructors. You where very respected by my instructor and my classmates. I have those hand drawn manuals and referred to them to this day. We need instructors like yourself to teach the craft & not just a fast track program your students are lucky to have you as their instructor. They will be great therapists because of you.

  5. I couldn’t have heard better news today! Congrats on taking hold of what brings you joy, and seizing the opportunity! You’ve made a huge impact on my life and all the students I’ve been honored to share what you passed on to me. – an old Oakdale MSB student :)

  6. YAY! I am so glad that we got you as a teacher in 2001! Your hand drawn pictures were the best (and I still have your book of them!) I still remember the first day that you brought them in to class and we all razzed you a bit about your drawing skills…we teased because we adored you! Without you, I would not be the massage therapist that I am today…I am glad that our class didn’t scare you off. Also glad that all of the craziness that was going on in the program at the time didn’t scare you off either! Your new students will be just as blessed as we were, I am sure of it! One day we need to go get coffee or tea and catch up! Huge hugs and an even more huge CONGRATULATIONS!

    • WOW, Jennifer…you really made my day! I honestly wanted the quit my first quarter of teaching, and I’m glad I stuck it out (The other instructors kept wanting me to teach their way, and it wasn’t me…then I finally said screw it and I found my groove). I am soooooo proud of you, of what you have accomplished with your business – KEEP IT UP! If you are ever down near Rochester, let me know!

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