You don’t always know the moment you do something that you’ve changed your life for good.
I took my first massage class when I was 19, while in college and looking for something to take my mind off of computer programming and calculus.
My first day of massage class.
I remember the first day of class, sitting in a room full of strangers thinking, “Oh, no. I am going to have to touch one of these people!” We worked on cafeteria tables topped with foam pads. Our instructor, Jean, was simply one of the most comforting and compassionate people I had ever met. I don’t think she doubted for a minute that this – her inaugural class at the college – was going to be anything but a huge success. And it was.
I studied with Jean for two semesters, and then studied with the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation for six months. I opened my first professional massage practice while still in college; working for home-cooked meals and walking around money while completing a bachelors degree in business.
After I graduated college, I was recruited by a technology firm in Dallas, Texas. In my off hours I studied more massage in Fort Worth, trading massage with classmates and bartering my skills with friends for more home-cooked meals.
Upon moving to New York in 1988, I began studying Shiatsu in Manhattan after my day job selling digital signal transmission equipment to New York Telephone (you know them now as Verizon). During that time I studied Shiatsu for three years; not really thinking of massage as a career, but unwilling to stop studying and practicing.
Massage full time.
In 1992, I left the “business” world to get my New York License and practice massage full-time. I still think of this as the single smartest professional decision I have ever made.
When entering the field as a full-time professional, I worried that doing something I love so much as a job might somehow take the joy out of it. This has never happened. After more than twenty years of full-time practice I find my work as interesting and enjoyable as my first day in class three decades ago.
In 2013, I returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and spent a year enjoying the particular pleasures of not running my own business. In 2014, I re-opened my private practice here in San Mateo.