Sports Massage Therapy at a Naval Base
"I am a military spouse," says AMTA member Ashley de Venecia, who is currently practicing sports massage therapy at the Charles King Fitness Center on U.S. Naval Base Guam. "Where my family goes, I go." Read Ashley's story below.
What drew you to the massage therapy profession?
I have always loved learning something new. With massage therapy, we're required to fulfill continuing education requirements. I crave education; it leads you down many paths you may have never even considered. In my experience, the desire to expand my knowledge has aided me in conversations both inside and outside of my work environment. I've ended up with a lot of first-time clients just from shared conversations.
What has kept you in the profession?
My determination has kept me in the profession. I try to see my goals through, even when I get impatient. As a result, I completed not only my massage licensing and certifications, but also obtained my associate's degree. Consistency has been key.
What types of education and experiences have aided in your success?
In addition to my formal massage training, business classes have been crucial to my success. If you don't know all of your options, you may not be able to reach your target audience--no matter how great your business idea is. The work experience that helped me the most was working for Dr. Teresa Wisner, a chiropractor. This gave me a real sense of the day-to-day operations for a small business owner.
What do you enjoy most about your current work environment? What are some of the challenges?
What I love the most about my current work environment is the facility; it's brand new and it really helps to set the tone. The people who are there day-in and day-out are always smiling because they are surrounded by a lovely facility. As an independent contractor, I get to set my own hours of operation and rates, but I also have the standpoint of being under the Morale, Welfare and Recreation umbrella on a military base. The biggest challenge I have come across is a private space. I am a military spouse, and therefore where my family goes, I go. The renovation of the Charles King Fitness Center began long before I arrived at the island of Guam. A private room wasn't envisioned by the architects.
How has your involvement with AMTA impacted your career?
Being able to volunteer as a sports massage therapist last year in the Ironman 70.3 Challenge and the Relay for Life really made an impression on me. I had been doing volunteer work before I became a massage therapist, but I found at that point in my life massage therapy could propel me in more directions than I ever imagined. The experience ended up being a springboard into my current job position. It was a powerful feeling to be able to tell my employer that I carry double their standard for liability insurance. I hope eventually I can work with Olympic and Special Olympic teams. Until I fulfill that goal, I will continue to go to the seminars and forums offered through AMTA and keep learning.
What advice would you offer to a new massage therapist?
Be prepared. Pack your massage equipment two days before you need it. That way, if you go over your items and discover you are running low you still have a day to get your supplies in order. And, bring snacks and water--being hungry and giving a massage can be distracting!
Where do you work? What do you find especially meaningful in the work that you do? Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include "Where I work" in the subject line.