Where Do You Work? Specializing in Oncology Massage

Karen P. James' passion for massage therapy began as a child, helping her older sister study for medical exams. Find out how Karen has utilized her passion to make a difference in the lives of her clients.

How long have you been practicing?

I have been practicing for the past 19 years full time since I began as a Licensed Massage Practitioner (LMP) and NAC in 1997. 

Describe your education.

My education began at Seattle Massage School (formerly Everest College), continued at Brian Utting School of Massage, Brenneke School of Massage, Cortiva Institue and the School of Myomassology where I obtained my Masters Level in medical massage with a specialty in oncology massage. Other modalities include intraoral, I'm a certified lymphatic therapist and I'm board certified with NCBTMB. I am currently enrolled in Oncology Massage Advanced Mentorship with Tracy Walton.

What is your current setting like?

I have several family members who have struggled with cancer and I have helped a few of them during hospice care. Watching what many of these people endure and suffer through has led me toward practicing oncology massage.

I've worked with various chiropractic physicians and now for Clearview Chiropractic & Massage where I work with two other LMPs and three chiropractic physicians. This office meets my clients' needs as most of them also use chiropractic care, and I can refer them to other LMPs for different modalities. We have a billing department, take many types of insurance and have special plans for those who can use it.

Previously, I worked at the Edmonds Rehabilitaion and Healthcare Center for about ten years, including traveling to clients' homes, hospice and as a sole proprietor with KJ's Magnetic Massage. I began working part time with Massage Envy in 2004 and began full time in 2009 until 2014,  while keeping my private practice for clients who were not able to travel to my place of business.

I have volunteered at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance since 2008, in addition to being an active AMTA volunteer for many years.

What is a typical day like?

A typical day for me is awesome because I love helping others achieve their health goals and receive relief from their illnesses. I offer a unique combination of medical and spa massage. I work six days a week and am usually booked with clients that I have on a wait list. I work about 70 to 80 hours in a two week period.

I have thirteen grandchildren between the ages of two and 18. I enjoy helping them with sports, cheer and dance while teaching them the importance of body mechanics. The oldest now has an interest in becoming a massage practitioner!

How has AMTA impacted your career?

I've been a member of AMTA since I began my practice in 1997. I'm the secretary of the AMTA Washington Chapter and attend conventions to earn continuing education and to network with others who have mentored me toward my goals.

What is one sentence of advice you would offer newcomers to the profession?

My advice to other therapists is to network with other professionals, encourage one another, keep up-to-date on the massage profession and continue your education!

"Being a member of AMTA has totally opened my business and career wide open."

Kelly L., AMTA member since 2010