Oregon School of Massage has offered holistic massage therapy training since 1984, focused on integrating body, mind and spirit. Supplies and training for certification, general interest, and continuing education of massage therapists.
Liz Hoffman graduated from Oregon School of Massage in Summer of 2018. Her interest in massage began when she was a yoga instructor. Liz would notice people holding their bodies in ways that looked unnatural and she wanted to do more to help people. That’s when she realized that the missing link was Touch.
Shortly after she graduated, Liz opened Honeysuckle Healing in Corvallis. Liz assesses her client’s posture while they’re lying on the table. She believes it gives a truer picture rather than them being observed where they might hold themselves differently.
Growing from Swedish techniques, Liz incorporates hot stone, gua sha and cupping into her practice. She also likes to give ‘interactive’ massages where the client actively participates through both resistance and reciprocal inhibition stretching.
Personal illness and toxic interpersonal relationships drew her to the sacred and the taboo. Pain during intimacy caused her to look for help. After receiving pelvic floor work, Liz was amazed at how beneficial it was for her. She recently received an Integrative Pelvic Certification and began offering Yoni steaming with herbs as an addition to her practice.
“In my professional scope, I am always first of service to my fellow human. My goal is not to fix or help but to bring my wholeness to the present moment with the person I am serving with my knowledge and skills.”
Women’s Wellness Weekend presented by Oregon School of Massage
Classes and events for the general public.
50 Hours of Women’s Wellness in one weekend
Portland, OR – The Oregon School of Massage (OSM) is holding a Women’s Wellness Weekend at its Portland campus May 10th – 13th.
There will be several classes on Women’s Wellness which are open to the public, these include Aromatherapy for Balancing Hormones; Reflexology for Women’s Health; Healing through the Seasons: Intro to Aroma Acupoint, and Reiki Healing at Breitenbush. There will also be an opportunity to sign up for a chair massage on Saturday, May 11th.
The weekend features over 50 hours of classes supporting women’s health. Many of these are intended for licensed massage therapists and have prerequisites. These include Pregnancy Massage Fundamentals, participants learn position options and bodywork adaptations for pregnant clients. Reflexology for Women’s Health addresses the specific needs of women including the discomforts of PMS and menopause. The Female Pelvis teaches to palpate the pelvic bones, ligaments, muscles and practice techniques to enhance mobility and comfort to the sacroiliac joint. Breast Massage for Healthy Breasts emphasizes making breast massage pleasant, effective and sexually neutral. In The Belly, practitioners learn abdominal work that encourages deep relaxation, reduces heartburn and constipation.
HOW VISION CAN BE CONNECTED TO CHRONIC NECK AND SHOULDER TENSION
“The connection between certain visual conditions, especially lazy eye, and postural adaptations is a VERY good reason that chiropractors, bodyworkers, massage therapists, and others who work on physical structure should be collaborating with good optometrists. If something is broken in the visual system that is causing a secondary physical adaptation, it will likely be impossible to resolve the physical adaptation without first addressing the visual problem.”-Brad Coffey, professor of optometry
As a long-time bodyworker and vision teacher, I am always interested in ways we can help our clients: by making them aware of the connection between how they use their eyes, chronic neck and shoulder tension, and what we can do to help them with bodywork.
I was reminded of this recently when I encountered a young man while waiting at a government office. Peter (not his real name), his mother and I had a very interesting and revealing conversation. They were sitting in front of me and I immediately noticed his hairstyle. He looked quite stylish; with very long hair on the left side of his scalp completely covering one half of his face. The right side was completely shaved, and there was a glittery earring in his right ear. Although side-shave haircuts are “in” right now, a quick internet search showed that they never completely cover one eye. This is probably because it blocks the vision as effectively as an eyepatch.
From the back, I could also see that his head was rotated to the shaved right side. His left shoulder was considerably higher than the right, most likely because his left sternocleidomastoid muscle was shorter and tighter. He constantly contracted his SCM to turn to the right and look out through his right eye. A shoulder tilt would have effects on his entire spine, and he would also have tremendous eyestrain. His mother said, “Oh, he’s had his hair like that for a long time.” She said that others sometimes call him “the guy with the tilted shoulders.”
Identifying Vision Issue
When I mentioned I would have difficulty getting around with one eye, he seemed to pause for thought. When I asked him what his vision was like, it was obvious he had never thought consciously about his eyesight. I asked how he does at reading (since many people with vision issues strain when they read). He replied he didn’t really like to read (also a common issue with vision problems). As we talked, he seemed to be very struck by what I was saying.
Peter had been operating one-eyed, unconsciously compensating for a vision issue–for a long time–and someone had finally helped name the problem. He could have had a difference in the sharpness of vision in his two eyes which made it uncomfortable for him to use both together. Or, he may have had a difference in the muscles that position the eyes, so he was avoiding seeing double by covering one of them.
The first step in his journey would need to be a thorough vision exam by a trained eye doctor, preferably one who could teach him eye exercises. Any bodywork to help his neck muscles and shoulders issue would be very helpful, however without seeing an optometrist the bodywork would be a temporary solution. After receiving treatment for his vision issues, he could truly gain benefit from bodywork. Beginning with techniques to deal with the tension around his eyes and face, then dealing with his sternocleidomastoid muscles, tilted shoulders, and imbalanced upper spine.
One last note- Peter and his mother were deeply grateful for our discussion. Hopefully dealing with his vision problem and getting bodywork will help this young man feel a world better!
Here is an interview with OSM Grad, Dave Cummings submitted by Massage Envy.
What prompted you to come into the profession in the first place?
“It’s actually my third career. First I was a painter who focused on large, elevated structures like bridges and storage tanks. The chemicals were brutal so I switched it up to carpentry. I did both residential homes and remodels. The industry was volatile, with fluctuations. Everything was long term and there wasn’t a sense of immediate gratification. In 2004, I turned to Massage. I like people and I am built for it. I went to Oregon School of Massage, listened to the introduction and decided to complete the program.”
What are the benefits of being / becoming an LMT?
● Inspirations about the nature of healing work
● Personal growth
● Your own health
“Immediate gratification is huge. It’s immediate feedback. Toughest part of the job is mentally staying in that room, and not thinking about bills or life.”
Who are your favorite types of clients? Why?
“Humans, like the more ornery client. Those who can’t hide their pain. At the end of a 90 minute session, they feel better. I also love ‘up’ clients, those who are positive thinkers. They bring nice energy into the room and I can feed off that energy. It’s not work. Both the client and I feel great when they walk out of the room. I don’t like working on vampires. They can suck the emotional energy out of the room.”
How would you describe your work environment?
“I’ve been at Massage Envy Sherwood for six years. Massage Envy is misunderstood by the industry. It really is a great place to get an opportunity to work on massive quantity of bodies to perfect your craft. Literally everything else is taken care of. If I was out on my own, I would need to be in sales or accounting in addition to the work I love. I am fortunate to have steady work. The Massage Envy environment is clean, supplied, and I get to work with great people, who are of like compassion and mind. We do bitch and moan, just like any other job.”
Any closing thoughts?
“Don’t overlook places like Massage Envy. Perception is that it’s a factory. It’s not. Where else can you come to work 1 day a week, part time for three hours? Don’t lack confidence due to the legal stuff. Be nice!”
If you haven’t heard, one of our Salem Graduates from 2007 -along with his guide-dog-, was a victim of a hit-and-run. This incident happened this past Monday right outside his workplace, Massage Envy at Keizer Station. It was reported both Stephen Murphy and his dog were dragged several feet underneath the car that didn’t stop. Stephen and his dog are now listed in critical condition, some of which are severe and life changing.
Even though Stephen will most likely have insurance to cover this, not all expenses -both immediate and long term- will be covered. As such, his wife Connie has setup an Emergency Fund. In times of tragedy such as this, OSM feels that we are stronger as a community than if we faced them separately. Please consider donating to ease Stephen and his impacted family through this moment of uncertainty by clicking on this link: https://www.gofundme.com/da524u-medical-bills-for-steven-murphy-and-amilia?member=1692904
OSM will also be making a donation in support of Stephen and his family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Stephen and his family.
Oregon School of Massage graduate Cheryl McDonald brings a rich and varied background to her practice. For many years, Cheryl worked as a registered dietician in health facilities including senior living centers. She also worked as a teachers’ aid, performed children’s ministry work and was a manager of a document printing center. Prior to settling in Portland, Cheryl lived in several places – California, Arkansas and Boston, just to name a few. She is married and has two children.
While working at the document processing center, Cheryl had an important realization: the computer-intensive work helped pay the bills, but she did not find it fulfilling. That’s when she really began thinking about what she wanted to do next. Around the same time, she and her husband attended a Valentine’s Day couples massage class at the Oregon School of Massage. Says Cheryl, “I fell in love with massage on Valentine’s Day.”
Finding Her Path
That was 5 years ago – and was the first step on Cheryl’s journey to becoming a licensed massage therapist. During the couples’ class, Cheryl was introduced to the basics of massage, and discovered the feeling of touch resonated with her in a significant way.
Cheryl followed her new discovery and signed up for classes at the Oregon School of Massage. After the first few classes, it became clear that massage tapped into her professional and spiritual leanings, and that she had found the next phase of her journey.
As her studies progressed, Cheryl had another important realization: massage allowed her to work through some childhood trauma. “Massage helped me feel whole again,” explains Cheryl. “I felt confident and connected to my body. It felt very grounding.”
Cheryl’s deeply personal experience with massage informed the direction she wanted to take her practice. She was drawn to working with patients who had experienced emotional and/or physical trauma. Cheryl explains, “I found it gratifying to place my hands on people in need of a loving and caring touch.”
While at OSM, Cheryl was thrilled to study Hakomi, breathwork, chair-massage, and manual lymph drainage. She served as a teaching assistant for over five terms in Massage Fundamentals and Kinesiology. Cheryl became a licensed massage therapist in 2018.
Bio for Cheryl McDonald, LMT #24367
Cheryl practices massage in Southwest Portland. She wants to help seniors, people suffering from fibromyalgia, cancer patients, burn victims, and those who have experienced trauma. An OSM graduate, Cheryl is currently seeking certification in Trauma Touch Therapy and manual lymph drainage. Cheryl works at two assisted living facilities specializing in senior massage. She can be reached through email at:email@example.com
Breitenbush was a special experience for me. It was warm, welcoming and inclusive, as with all things OSM-related. It took about a week for me to fully process its effects, because the weekend was so regimented and full of activities. We were busy! I wish it had been longer, that would give more time to enjoy the springs and mountains, and to relax and process the events of the weekend.
Some people had a life-changing experience, while for others it reaffirmed their rigid belief systems – I fall somewhere in between! I already lean more towards the nature loving, vegetarian, new-age-y, communal-work-life side of things. Therefore, being completely without cell phone or internet and eating full vegetarian was not a big leap for me.
In a world focused on the daily grind, it’s nice to step outside of that and be immersed in nature and hands-on bodywork. Breitenbush is a great setting for working on strangers for the first time. It’s a safe, peaceful environment for this somewhat nerve-wracking experience. To get the most out of it, put aside your presuppositions and stay open-minded. Remember that you’re surrounded by loving people and don’t forget to laugh!
Featured Artist at OSM Salem, Dago Benavidez. Dago was born in a small town on the Texas panhandle, Lockney. He writes,
“My first memories of this place are what I saw in the spring as a child, a beautiful rainbow of vivid colors of wildflowers, which formed a carpet-like scene as far as the eye could see.
This, I am certain, instilled in me a love of colors that is something I have never forgotten.
This, I am certain, is what has made me appreciate the beautiful colors I see all around me in nature.
Love of painting has always been a passion of mine and so is a major part of my life.
Painting gives me a perspective on things that I wish to put on canvas: things I feel in my heart and beauty I see with my eyes. It allows me to see beautiful colors or scenes in every day events.”
Dago lives in Salem with his wife, Jung, and their daughter, Sisi. When he’s not painting, you can find him at the Oregon Employment Department.
My first student massage in shiatsu clinic was physically informative. I received the usual stress relief associated with massage, but I was struck by how the process awakened awareness in my body. Post-massage I began to notice how little attention I give my abdomen. In my self-care practices and in requesting massage for problem areas. It was notable that my abs felt tender to the touch and obviously need more care. This experience served as a reminder to check in with myself and mentally scan my body for areas that need more care.
Caleb Kirkland – Front Desk Coordinator-Portland Campus
We are happy to announce that Lexi as the recipient of the $1,000 scholarship.
Lexis began her training at OSM one year ago, but has dreamt of being a healer since she was a little girl. She sees becoming a massage therapist as an essential stepping-stone to her life’s purpose, focused on eastern-style massage and Chinese medicine.
Lexis dreams of a future where lifelong wellness isn’t a rarity and health care comes before illness. She dreams of a future where more people are aware of oneself and feel empowered to achieve wellness and happiness for not only ourselves, but for all around us.