In November of 2019, Wanju Kellams started our weekend massage school program because she wanted to learn how to help people feel better by using her hands. With more than 50% of the program complete, she has refined her decision to include working with people to prevent further pain and help her clients grow in wellness.
Wanju joined our weekend massage school program specifically because it fit around her work schedule, allowing her to work Monday – Friday and go to weekend classes 2-3 weekends per month.
Since November, there have been many changes to the massage industry. Namely, the novel coronavirus essentially shut down the massage therapy industry. Massage schools were also forced to close around the country as the CDC worked to figure out how to control the pandemic. Washington State Department of Health closed our massage school on March 12, 2020.
Bodymechanics School owner, Shari Aldrich, set a plan to immediately switch to an online platform and a week later, the morning, evening and weekend classes were meeting in the Zoom classroom.
Licensed massage therapists around the country spent weeks and months navigating their new reality and how to sign up for unemployment – while our students were learning to navigate the online school.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, each state will have its own way to consider safely reopening that includes first that therapists need to gain a full understanding of any new laws and ordinances at the local, state and national levels and adjust practices accordingly.
As a massage school approved to operate by the Washington State Board of Massage, Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage has to follow our state and board regulations to open our school.
Our formal plan to reopen was submitted to the state the day before they announced schools could apply to reopen (it helps to know people in the know!)
On June 2nd we were approved by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to reopen our school after being closed to in-person school for nearly 3 months.
Prior to the COVID, Wanju enjoyed the big jump into massage school and learning about the profession. She enjoyed the classroom and the wide range of classes that she describes as “super cool.” She shared how awesome it has been to learn alongside the awesome group of classmates who helped make the learning fun.
When COVID came into the picture, the three months online were difficult. Social distancing made it hard to practice the hands-on work. And having book heavy course material for Anatomy and Kinesiology felt like taking a drink of water from a fire hose 12 inches from your face.
Yet, Wanju expressed appreciating for the Bodymechanics Staff and how much effort they put forth to care for the student’s education.
With the reopening of school after the major brunt of COVID, the level of care continued through the safety measures enacted for us to continue bodywork safely. Coming back to school was much needed for hands-on work, and the camaraderie between classmates and teachers helped make learning fun. I continue to learn so much from my classmates and Bodymechanics teachers, because we continue to strive to help each other learn body mechanics in massaging people.
I asked Wanju if she’d be okay with sharing her hearing challenges and she agreed. She says that she “typically doesn’t like opening up about being hearing impaired because she has faced difficulty in the past about it.” She agreed to share her story because it might inspire other hearing-impaired people to make the same choice she did and to become a massage therapist.
She felt that opening up to her classmates and staff about her hearing impairment was very positive and that everyone has taken it in stride. They’ve taken the time to show her things that she may have missed. Because she wears a cochlear implant to help her hear, her classmates wear a microphone while she is massaging them and that was met with no prejudice and helped Wanju feel at ease and comfortable.
She says that “it is through my amazing classmates and the care of the Bodymechanics staff that I don’t miss much, as well as her determination to learn.
Wanju is set to graduate in October of this year. Even though we went to an online class, the weekend massage school group will graduate on time. Wanju plans to work for a chiropractic office to get more experience working on a variety of people. She plans to start her own practice at the same time. The end goal is to have her own massage therapy practice.
She also plans to stay connected to her classmates because they are in this together to improve the massage industry with their combined experience to help people through bodywork. And secretly, she wants to become an instructor at Bodymechanics School at some point!
Now enrolling for our upcoming weekend classes:Tumwater: November 2, 2020
Vancouver: November 2, 2020
Call 360.350.0015 for information on our weekend massage school.