Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Massage Scholarship Info!

Finally, a scholarship for massage school!

This one is from JoyLife Therapeutics and is for a student who is enrolled in massage school sometime between October 1, 2009 and August 2010. It's a $1000 grant for a student who's particularly interested in chair massage. Click here to view their Scholarship Rules and link to an application.

Since last year's "credit crisis" or whatever you want to call it, it's been really hard to find funding for massage school. Mind you, it's never been easy, but now it seems be really challenging. I've posted in the past about finding funding and sadly realize that much of that information isn't accurate any more. SLM Financial quit providing direct career loans last year and two of the scholarship programs I have listed on this blog have been under indefinite "we're not accepting scholarship applications right now" status.

I'm sure JoyLife will be inundated with applications and congratulate the deserving winner in advance. Good luck to all who apply!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Writing Exam Questions for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam

I'm feeling a little worked right now!

I just spent the larger part of a day writing 15 questions for the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board's licensing exam (the MBLEx). Perhaps I should back up a bit. Back in the spring, I submitted an application to be a question writer for the MBLEx. I was (and am) a big supporter of the exam. From everything I could tell looking in from the outside, it was offering a very fair, consistent and well written test of how well prepared a massage therapist was to enter the profession. The test was fairly new, but our graduates were giving great feedback about it and I liked the way the FSMTB was comporting itself (to use a $5 word!).

So when I heard they were looking for content experts to write exam questions, I submitted my application right away. The application process included providing credentials, references, and a personal statement about why I wanted to be involved. I got chosen to participate and I'm really happy about it.

I signed a non-disclosure, confidentiality agreement. I got trained in the procedures. And then today I sat down to get started writing questions.

I have a new and HUGE respect for all the work that goes into this exam now! My submissions are, as required by FSMTB, researched and documented, and worded in a way that is hopefully clear and meets testing protocols.

The next step for my questions is to go to committee where I understand they will get extensively edited and rewritten. Then to more review before finally making it to what I can best describe as market testing. After much review and re-working, they will potentially be part of the MBLEx.

I'm completely impressed by this organization and delighted to be serving the cause of improving the licensing process for our profession. Even if I'm a little brain dead! Next time I'll know not to tackle 15 questions in one day.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Davida

I know everything in this world is impermanent. But as much as I know and have experienced this truth, it's still sad to say goodbye to good friends. Davida Millburn has been a teacher at RMIHA for 6 years, and has been in my life since I moved to Durango in 1999 and started working at South West School of Massage. Davida and I shared a massage studio back then and since, we have shared ups and downs and connected on a deep level.

It's not just me who's been touched by Davida's insight and loving nature. She's been teaching massage students for over 20 years. She was at Heartwood in CA before she even moved to Durango and then at Silver Sword Academy in Dgo back in the DAY as they say.

When Davida agreed to teach at RMIHA, she was coming from a huge loss in her life and was willing to commit to teaching a small 20 hour course called the Realm of the Heart. She brought the tenderness of her recent loss with her into her preparation for the class. She was willing to be a beginner in teaching a course she'd never taught. (For all of you non-teachers out there, this can be very challenging, especially when you're used to teaching a different curriculum and the classroom is usually as comfortable as the proverbial worn in pair of slippers). Entering into new subject matter, Davida explored her own heart and opened it up to a new set of students. Since then, she has taken on more and more responsibility at the school and has become an integral part of the Heartworks Approach program and Asian Modalities.

Davida's moving a thousand miles from Durango and will be spending time with her family. In Durango, we can never replace her, but I know that she won't really be gone either. Last graduation, one of the students shared that he was working on another graduate from a few years before. As he was working on her hara, she said, "Oh, I can feel Davida's hands through yours." I shared that with a couple of other people and got the same feedback: "Yes, that's happened to me too!" It's beautiful and amazing how literally she is touching so many people receiving bodywork today.

RMIHA was blessed to have her on our faculty and even as I say goodbye and acknowledge the transition that's occurring, I acknowledge that she will always be with us. Lucky us!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pre-Event Massage for the Durango Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

On Saturday, three of the students went to the Durango SKA Brewing Hat Ultimate Frisbee Tournament and gave pre-event massages to the players in the tournament. They had just finished a week of Sports Massage Class and were able to try out what they'd just learned.

They did lots of sports stretching and specialty techniques for getting athletes prepared for competition. Here's a shot of one of the students in the middle of a low back stretch. Sometimes when students learn sports stretching techniques, they are a little hesitant to try them out because it's something new and different from the basic massage strokes. These guys did great though and it was really fun for me to watch them just diving in and giving it a try.

I'm guessing it helped that the participants in the tournament were laid back and fun. I know they cared about their sport, but they also cared about connecting with each other and enjoying themselves, so it made it really fun to do massages for the event. Here are some of the players at the massage sign up table. You can probably see what I mean about the laid back vibe.
To see more photos from the day, click on our Ning Photo Album.

Friday, July 17, 2009

New School Slideshow

Here's our latest YouTube video for the class that just graduated:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

When Times Are Tough

Two weeks ago, a student shared to the class, "My cancer is back." It was a sad moment for all of us and we gave hugs and listened to what was going on. Over the next week and 1/2, the student came to class and participated fully despite her distractions. She sat through meditation class and watched her breath while experiencing her thoughts and sensations. She attended the Singing Bowls class and felt the powerful energies of the sounds of the bowls, and along with the other students, received a short personal session. She participated in exercises where we explored listening to our own inner guidance, clearing our energy fields, and calming and centering ourselves. I don't know, but I imagine she worried about being able to stay in massage school, about what her future was going to look like, about what was going to happen with her health and her life.

Then, a week and 1/2 after getting the initial news, she learned that the nurse practitioner had mis-read her lab reports and she did not have cancer, not even close. It was, as you can imagine, a huge relief.

She told me that being in massage school during all of this was a huge support for her. The meditation classes and the energy healing of the different modalities we explored had given her more peace and insight. And the love and support of classmates and teachers was always there for her.

The number one reason students don't make it through massage school is personal and health reasons. As a massage school director, I have seen students unable to stay in school who are very upset by their life's circumstances. It's sad to watch someone have to change or postpone their dreams when life gives them a detour. But for students who are able to stay in school, the gifts of love, support, and the tools for being present, centered and grounded are huge. I've always said massage school is an amazing experience. It's through both the good and the tough times that this becomes apparent.

I am grateful this beloved student does not have cancer. I'm also grateful she had the additional loving support of her massage school community and experience to help her through her week and 1/2 of scariness.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Massage School Scholarship Opportunity

The Durango Area Association of Realtors is offering scholarships that can be used at Rocky Mountain Institute of Healing Arts. They have five $1,200.00 awards for 2009 graduates of area high schools or GED programs.

Selection criteria is 3.0 GPA and need. Applications include 2 letters of recommendation and the deadline for submission is APRIL 10, 2009.

For more information or for an application:

Durango Area Association of REALTORS
Scholarship Fund--Attn: Carrie Griffin
125 E. 32nd Street
Durango, CO 81301
Phone: (970) 247-9604

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Colorado Issues "Emergency Rule" for Massage Therapist Registration

Elise says, "don't wait, don't be late, get registered NOW!"
--alright, I made that up, but at least she looks enthused about SOMETHING!

I almost thought it was a joke when I first saw it because "Emergency Rule 10" seemed like something akin to "Love Potion #9." But no, it's real! Here's the information straight from the horse's (Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies') mouth.

The upshot...If you haven't applied for registration as a Colorado Massage Therapist and intend to practice after 4/1, APPLY NOW!

If you want the details about registration in general, check out my post "Colorado Massage Therapist Registration


Emergency Rule 10 provides that all individuals who submit their application, fee, and fingerprint card prior to April 1, 2009 will be eligible to receive a “Provisional Massage Therapist Registration.”

What is a provisional registration?
The provisional registration will allow individuals to practice massage therapy or represent themselves as being able to practice massage therapy in this state through June 30, 2009. Provisionally registered massage therapists are subject to all provisions of C.R.S. 12-35.5-101 (“the Act”).

Who is eligible?
All individuals who have submitted their application and fee to the Division of Registrations, have met the educational or training standards established in statute, and have submitted a fingerprint card to CBI – all prior to April 1, 2009, and who have not yet been issued a massage therapist registration. The Division must have received the application and fee no later than March 31, 2009.

Provisional registrations will be effective April 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009. After June 30, 2009, individuals with a provisional registration must be registered as a massage therapist pursuant to the Act to continue practicing massage therapy.

Who is not eligible?
Individuals who apply for a massage therapist registration on or after April 1, 2009 are not eligible to receive a provisional registration and will not be permitted to practice massage therapy in this state until they receive their registration pursuant to the Act.
Individuals who are already registered by April 1, 2009, as a massage therapist with the State of Colorado are not affected by Emergency Rule 10 and will not be assigned a provisional registration.

How can registration status be verified?
Use DORA’s “Automated Licensure Information System Online” (ALISON). You can verify any individual’s registration status using this system.
Provisional registration status will be assigned to all qualified individuals on March 31, 2009 and these registrations will not be mailed.
Check ALISON to verify provisional registration on or after April 1st. Please do not call DORA to verify registration status.
Visit our website for other information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Colorado Dept. of Regulatory AgenciesDivision of Registrations
Health Services Section
1560 Broadway, Suite 1350
Denver, CO 80202

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Massage School and the New Economy

There's been a lot said and written about the "new economy" that is emerging from the shambles of our current financial crisis. Someone recently told me of a financial advisor they heard on the news clinging to the old financial model saying, "We've got to get out of fear back into greed." But again and again, I'm inspired by people looking toward a way of commerce and life that transcends greed and includes sharing and appreciation.

Recently, an incoming student delayed her enrollment from September to March because her loan application (from a nationally known student loan provider of direct career training loans, i.e., non-federally funded) was moving slowly. She'd applied in August and received pre-approval, but wasn't going to get the funding in time to plan her move to Durango. During the months from September to February, the company went silent in it's communications to her. When she'd contact them, they'd tell her an item was missing from her application packet (I can't tell you how many times I faxed them a copy of her enrollment agreement!). When they finally sent her all her paperwork with the final approval, she signed and mailed it back. Then again, no word from them and when she contacted them, they told her the application was older than 6 months and was no longer valid. She could re-apply, they said, but the loan was no longer being offered due to the financial crisis.

I've written about the difficulty of finding loans for massage school before, so this is not new on my mind. Some schools do offer federal financial aid and loans, but the overall tuition can be really expensive at those schools. I'm thinking of one that costs $20k for 1000-hours of education. That's a huge loan to carry after graduating.

I'm convinced that our world needs accomplished, compassionate and professionally mature massage therapists and bodyworkers more than ever. And all this is prompting me to think about how the world of today can support people providing healing touch. Students need training; schools need to retain their quality teachers and sometimes expensive teaching tools to provide the training; the people in the world need soothing, quality healing work. The method of borrowing large amounts of money to achieve this might be breaking down. So how can a "new economy" place value on this and provide these needs for our society? That's my question of the day.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Teaching Presence During Bodywork

Today Ryan and I co-taught Swedish Massage. The class was about blending energy work with massage. We decided not to really teach much in terms of energy work technique (the 200-hour Heartworks Approach Program does a lot of that), but to instead focus on the quality of bring presence, attention, and awareness to the session. It was a wonderful day in the classroom and I felt incredibly grateful to have participated in the day. We started out with Ryan describing how he had grown from a newbie at massage therapy into a practitioner who blended energy awareness into each of his massages. His story was quite lovely and I was inspired by his relating that the changes in his bodywork came from changing himself. I spoke a bit about why paying attention to energy during a session is beneficial (something they hear from me a lot in neuromuscular therapy class, but not with the same clarity and intention). We gave some tips on how to handle big energy when it's encountered during a session and can feel distressing (like nausea, dizziness, etc.). And then I gave a short demonstration where I showed how I connect in with my client and then proceed with the bodywork.

We gave simple guidelines for doing the trades which were this:

Practice "Routine" for Integrating Energy/Presence into Massage

1. Client sets intent.

2. Decide if client starts prone or supine.

3. Do a series of holds while listening to the client's body.

4. Follow your intuition with the bodywork that ensues.

The students were absolutely amazing in the bodywork they did today. It was beautiful to watch. At times there was so much love in the room that my heart felt the fullness and hugeness of it all. Afterward as we shared in closing circle, one student remarked that doing this type of bodywork would really make a difference in the world. I think we were all struck with how deeply we can connect and touch one another. The tools of presence and awareness and allowing ourselves to trust our intuition are powerful.

© 2009, Rebecca Mauldin, all rights reserved

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Colorado Massage Therapist Registration

I recently got my Colorado massage registration in the mail. So, effective 4/1/09, I'll be an RMT (Registered Massage Therapist). Before the Colorado legislature passed the Massage Therapy Practice Act last summer, the only state law that regulated massage therapy was the Massage Parlor Act. This act is (as the name implies) an act that is primarily concerned with the sex industry. Massage therapists were given an exemption to the Massage Parlor Act if they had graduated from a school offering 500 hours of education, and the only people who could officially call themselves "massage therapists" had to meet that education requirement. The Massage Parlor Act is still on the books, but now regulation of massage therapists requires us to register with the state.

Under the new law, any one practicing massage therapy on or after 4/1/09 must be registered with the State of Colorado. To be eligible for registration, a person needs to have
1) graduated from an approved school with at least 500 hours of massage education;
2) passed either the National Certification Exam (NCE) from NCTMB or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLex) from FSMTB; and
3) have a successful background check by the State Bureau of Investigation (fingerprints are submitted for this).

There is a "grandfather" clause for the examination portion of the eligibility requirements. During the grandfather period, the examination is not required for therapists who have 5 years of experience + 300 hours of education -or- 500 hours of education (with no experience requirement). So...the question is when is this timeframe. The regulations say it is one year from the date when applications were first available. Applications became available 12/1/08, so presumably this means until 12/1/09, an applicant will not have to pass the NCE or MBLex if the other requirements are met.

Those are the basics.

To apply, you need to mail an application in to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). You can download an application, but it cannot be submitted online.

Separately, you need to get fingerprints taken by a law enforcement agency. I went to the sheriff's department and it cost $5.00 for the service. They had certain times they were available to do the fingerprints, so it's helpful to call ahead to get schedules and fees. Once you have the fingerprint card (it's a special SBI form), you fill it out with the information provided in your application packet and mail it to the Colorado SBI. The fee for the background check is $39.50. So you send the fingerprints and a check to the SBI. If you follow the instructions properly on how to fill out the card, the SBI will send the background check results directly to DORA for your application.

The only other detail I can think of is you have to carry liability insurance to get and remain registered.

I hope this post is helpful! Please post your questions or experiences regarding registration. I'm sure it'll be helpful for all.


© 2009, Rebecca Mauldin, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

#1 Part-Time Job for 2009: Massage Therapy! has ranked massage therapy the #1 Part-Time job for 2009!

Being a massage therapist is one of the most versatile and rewarding careers I can think of. It offers flexibility and autonomy. There are lots of opportunities for personal growth and development. Relationships with clients are meaningful and help you understand the ways in which you make a difference in another's life. There are always new techniques to learn and incorporate into your practice.

The career has been recognized by as the best part-time job for 2009. Job growth for massage therapists, they say, is expected to increase faster than average, which is a great thing in today's economic uncertain times.

I'd love to hear your comments about being or training to be a massage therapist. What do you think about the part-time employment prospects? About massage therapy in today's economy? About the career in general?