Find out how Gay Koopman, member of the AMTA 2014 National Convention Operational Committee, transitioned from a corporate career to being a successful, self-employed massage therapist and instructor.
What first attracted you to the profession?
As a kid and young adult, I was an athlete. I had a few injuries that made me conscious of my body; I knew I wanted to work with athletes to make them aware of how their body works. When I moved to Seattle in the mid-80's, I met Deb Yurica, LMP, who directed me to the Seattle Massage School. The rest is history!
Describe your education.
After high school, I attended business school and worked in the corporate world until 1991. I attended Seattle Massage School and graduated in 1989. My continuing education courses have included NMT, Spinal Reflex Analysis, sports massage classes, The Masgotova Method, and KinesioTaping.
What is your current work setting like?
I am self-employed and have clinical offices in Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado. I also do house calls for children with special needs and am a part-time instructor at Front Range Community College.
What do you enjoy most?
I like setting my own hours and schedule. I am a single mom with an active teenager. It’s nice to be able to attend all of her games, meets and concerts as well as travel during the summer. I specialize in injury and pain management, pre-natal and post-partum massage, and sports massage, but I also love working with high school athletes and educating them on the benefits of sports massage.
Describe a typical day.
People have typical days? No two days are alike for me. Some days I’m in one of my clinics all day. Other days I split my time between the clinic, housecalls and teaching at the community college.
How has AMTA membership impacted your career?
I’ve been a member of AMTA since 1990. I have been a volunteer in some capacity for most of those years with the state chapter. Attending state and national meetings has helped me to stay current with techniques and research. I have had the opportunity to be a presenter on the state level and at the National Convention. I have also benefited from the Find A Massage Therapist locator service.
Your advice to new therapists?
You have studied hard and paid good money for massage school—be confident and don’t sell yourself short!
What are some of the sights that AMTA members should make time to see while in Denver?
The location and time of year for the AMTA 2014 National Convention couldn’t be better! The convention center is located just a couple of blocks from the 16th Street Mall, where you will find shopping, restaurants and music. In September fall begins to hit Colorado, so a drive to the mountains would be gorgeous. We will have a day-trip route available for you to pick up at the Colorado Host Chapter table! Denver has a great zoo and botanic garden, historical museums, plenty of breweries and professional sports. Our Host Event this year is at the Rockies and Diamondbacks baseball game on Friday night, complete with fireworks!
AMTA's National Convention is always a great place to network with therapists, learn about new products in the exhibit hall and gain required CEUs. I feel a great draw will be our opening session keynote speaker, Dr. Oz!
Gay's profile on the Find a Massage Therapist national locator service
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