Graduate Corner: Rhonda and Eric Stevens
Nearly 1 year ago, married couple Rhonda and Eric Stevens graduated from the weekend massage program at Bodymechanics School. Attending massage school in a weekend program takes tremendous fortitude for almost all who enter. The majority of weekend students tend to have full time jobs while attending massage school two to three weekends a month. With both Rhonda and Eric going through the program together it allowed them to support each other, and bring their individual talents to the classroom in order to begin their future careers.
Bodymechanics School offers advanced massage treatment education
Rhonda initially found Bodymechanics School via a Google search and liked that our focus was on injury treatment – that we weren’t a “spa” program. Our focus on posture and structure in relationship to chronic pain conditions was exactly what Rhonda was looking for in a massage program. Rhonda has been a Physical Therapy Assistance since 2008 – first in Virginia, and moving to Washington in 2009. Her experience at a physical therapy clinic in Virginia, where massage was widely used by the clinic set the stage for her interest in massage. She was fortunate to work for a Physiatrist who believed in soft tissue work and she saw firsthand the benefits of soft tissue work in conjunction with physical therapy.
Eric’s path to massage therapy was slightly different. He currently serves in the Army Reserves and while in school, he worked at a local cabinet shop. He served as a medic in the army and for some time had been considering an industry helping people one he wanted to pursue. He looked into nursing, but the year long wait list was overwhelming and the amount of student loans he would assume concerned him. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to pay off the loans before retirement age.
When Rhonda came home one day and shared the massage school idea with Eric, he said “hell, I’ll go with you!” Eric was motivated by helping people medically and strongly desired a different career.
Attending weekend class together
Rhonda and Eric attended our weekend program. The weekend program goes 2-3 weekends a month. When they weren’t working or going to school, they were practicing massage or trying to enjoy outside activities. Early on in school, they feel their classmates tended to push them together for class trades – which presented a problem for Eric as didn’t want to cause Rhonda pain. He needed to learn to separate his personal feelings. Today, they feel that they could have used each other more for studying school material, though they did quiz each other, and were able to practice massage techniques on each other at home. Eric feels that he needed the push from Rhonda to finish class as he struggled with a personal injury midway through the program. Rhonda helped him continue. Having the support of each other was vital for their program completion.
Graduation from an intense program like Bodymechanics School definitely prepared Rhonda and Eric for their professional massage careers. Being able to help and support each other through the process and into their professional careers was and continues to be very rewarding.
Rhonda and Eric work together at South Sound Physical & Hand Therapy.
Rhonda continues to work as a Physical Therapy Assistant but has a deeper understanding of different tissues in the body. She’s become the “fascia whisperer.” She is using more of her “massage side” at work and realizing that she is getting better outcomes with her patients. The Physical Therapists in the clinic are beginning to see the value in her work. Rhonda works 4-10 hour days at the clinic.
Eric works with the Occupational Therapy clinic as an OT Aide. He also works the 4-10 hour schedule. He puts clients through exercises after witnessing the OT/CHT perform the assessment. He is comfortable with making suggesting to the OT for additional massage techniques and as such, he performs arm and hand massage on almost all clients. He has found that the Occupational Therapists there values massage because Eric performs more treatment work than other massage therapists that have worked there.
Eric shared one story with me that shortly after he graduated, he had applied at a local clinic and was not offered the job because he didn’t have 2 years of massage experience. Recently, he worked on a client that was referred from the local clinic and in one session brought relief to the client, who reported back to the doctor how the treatment helped. He felt it was ironic he was rejected for his lack of professional experience, yet provided more relief than other therapists with more experience.
Rhonda and Eric continue their professional journey together in building their own professional clinic – Movement Medics Massage. They get satisfaction educating their clients on the benefits of massage and their goal is to have a full time private practice within 6-12 months. Currently, they work at their home office on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Going through school together gave both of them the support they needed to complete Bodymechanics School and build their practice together. As they continue to develop and transition to their own clinic, they will help hundreds of clients along the way get pain relief.
As the owner of the school, I thoroughly enjoyed working with both Rhonda and Eric. Their participation in class was respectful of each other, and their classmates, as well as the learning process. For me, Rhonda and Eric were the first married couple to go through the program at the same time, though the school has had other married couples in the past. I call the weekend students “warriors” because it is an advanced program, and you give up 75% of the weekends of a year to learn this craft. Rhonda and Eric are shining examples of the success you will experience when you put everything into your education and learn to accept the help and support from each other, classmates and instructors.
We’re excited to watch both Rhonda and Eric grow.
We are currently enrolling for our next weekend class – which is starting November 5th. If you’ve been looking for a weekend massage school, check out Bodymechanics School. We’d love to help you get started. Call (360) 350-0015 to talk to us – or attend a Free Info session.