Headed to Massage Therapy School!

Hello family, friends!

I have been accepted into the Santa Fe School of Massage in NM and am about to embark on the journey of massage therapy! I am raising funds for my start date April 3rd. It is a 6 month program and I’m excited to begin my path as a bodyworker.

Here is my story: I started thinking about going into massage a little over a year ago when I was working two jobs and feeling stuck in many ways. I’ve always wanted to pursue dance, as my artistic, creative outlet and passion, with vigor - but I was realizing that the dance world did not run well on a 9-5 type schedule. At least, not as I was experiencing. I also understood that I would not have energy to put forth more into my art when I was not feeling that inspired in the work I was doing...

...While that’s not to say I didn’t try. At one point, I was dancing in two different dance performances and was rehearsing up to 10 hours/week in addition to working my 2 part time jobs. I was grateful to get to perform, but I struggled with injuries because I was over-extending myself.

Being a dancer, like being a massage therapist, requires nurturing of the body. Being a dance-artist also means taking the time to self-care, which all healthy LMT’s must do to be able to go back to the massage table. Oh look….Now THERE is a wonderful pairing!

I’ve always felt at ease massaging family and loved ones, but it never occurred to me to go to school for it, until this past year. I’ve talked with other LMT’s, even other dancers who are massage therapists, and it started to seem like a really great idea for me.

Going to massage therapy school will teach me more about the human body. I will be able to give professional care to people recovering from injury, surgery, illness, and a multitude of other areas where massage can make profound difference. I’ve already got an armful of experience from my dance training, as well as experience from dance injuries. I still want to pursue dance as a teacher, extending to all ages, as well as a performer. Being able to do body work on the side would allow more time for self-care, as well as marrying myself to a career in body work - both in dance and massage.

I’m so excited!!!

Why Santa Fe: I chose the Santa Fe School of Massage for many reasons. This school as well as Santa Fe NM kept popping up in my life, and was recommended to me by my massage therapist who got certified there and is amazing. It is a full-time massage therapy certification program where I will leave with 700 hours, ready to take my licensing exams. SFSOM is known not just for covering the groundwork with anatomy and physiology, but also considering the deep aspect of healing touch and the presence and personal faith that has to go into this. It is a small school that understands the importance of gaining positive, personal relationships to support all the growth and work it takes to become a body worker.

Financial Goals: I am looking for help to raise $2,000 towards living expenses (rent, food, gas, etc.) while I live in Santa Fe for 7-months! So far, I have saved $1,000 and I anticipate saving another $1,000+ by the end of February before I leave in early March. I have estimated I will need around $4,000 total to get me by before I finish my certificate in September. The program will run full-time, Monday-Thursday, 9-5, with some Fridays for student-clinics. It is not recommended to work additional jobs during the program, although I may try and get 4-5 hours of part time work on the side. Please help me reach my goal by donating whatever you can! ANY amount will make a difference!

Why Body Work, in all its forms: I can confidently say that I’ve never strayed far from my body and my wellness. It comes naturally to me to have a close relationship with my body, all starting at age 3 when I found my legs could move to music with joy. After all of my years experiencing my body in depth as a dancer, in all its ups and downs, I believe I have a lot to offer others. I innately care about my own health, which I will bring to others through massage therapy. Already from getting bodywork done on myself, I’ve learned how wonderful the world of massage can be to opening up blockages and other hard places to renew and refresh. Anyone who’s ever had a full body massage, similar bodywork practices, or even a back rub, can attest to the powerful healing nature of touch!

I also believe our Western American culture has a weird, uncomfortable relationship with touch. As a female, I consider myself lucky because I can touch other women and it’s acceptable, while men are confined to lovers and “man hugs” (mostly). I’m glad that with massage, I will be supporting therapeutic touch. Being on the giving and receiving end of touch is important for our society, but also just as humans! I see that we can be very detached in this area. Look at how other cultures, such as the kiss on the cheek in South America and the close body-proximity in countries like India differ in regards to body contact and touch.

I can think of many examples where basic touch has brought me connection and therapy in my  everyday life; the gentle caressing of a baby's cheek as they look into my eyes, the high fives I gave the adults with disabilities I used to work for, the “airplane turns” I did with the children in dance class (picking them up and turning them around) as they squealed with glee, the first hug I get when I see my Dad, Mom, and brothers when I haven’t seen them in months or even a year, the handshake from a stranger I’ve introduced myself to after a good conversation, and the fleeting connection I make with my partner during salsa dancing, that in its own way reminds me I am worthy and beautiful.

Touch is powerful. Touch is necessary. Touch connects us as humans and is an important part in healing. With all of the intention, direction, and safety massage therapy brings, my hope is to work with people to get “back in touch” with their body so they can feel renewed to give of themselves in the world.

After I get my license, my immediate plan is to move back to Portland or some other city on the West coast and get work in a spa or business that will enable me to get lots of practice, as well as allow my schedule the flexibility to pursue dancing and dance teaching. In the long term after I’ve gained some experience, I’m passionate about reaching the less privileged populations and traveling abroad to offer my skills in areas that need it. Massage therapy is mostly set aside for those who can afford it, and I am interested in eventually reaching populations that normally cannot as these are the people that need it the most. The people that are on my radar are those that are being blatantly targeted in our country right now, including immigrants and the LGBTQ community, people of color, and people with disabilities. Being someone with white privilege, I believe it’s my duty to reach these communities if I want to support positive change in their rights and I’m going to do my best to achieve this.

And I will make a promise: everyone who makes a donation will get a free massage from me once I am certified. And even before I am certified - I am happy to give you a back rub because I need to practice!!

Thank you....Thank you!!

Much peace, love and hugs to all,

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Abigail Flora 
Portland, OR
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