A Message from WINDS Scholar Ashley Jackson

~ Ashley Jackson  

Writing about my experience in school couldn’t

have come at a better time.  I am currently

enrolled at Arizona School of Massage Therapy 

in Tempe, AZ and I’m officially halfway through

the program.  I couldn’t be more excited for what 

lies ahead.  

During my first month in the program, I quickly learned how much more in depth I was going to learn about massage therapy.  Every modality, such as Swedish, Acupressure, Russian Sports Massage, Cranial Sacral, has a history and people who researched, taught, changed, and brought it to light.  With every massage modality comes a hands-on class.  We get to learn and practice techniques, flow, pressure, body mechanics, and draping on classmates.  My first draping class, my client (classmate) was naked under the sheets, was very nerve wrecking to say the least.  As the therapist I have to make sure my client always feels safe and secure under a sheet, maintain a level of professionalism, and be client centered.  Meaning, don’t expose my client, be respectful, and get my mind right.  No pressure, right?  Needless to say, because I had an inspiring teacher, I did great!  Now, I can have anyone on my table and draping is like second nature, it just happens.  The biggest and probably the most challenging part of massage therapy is ANATOMY!  Halfway through and I’m almost done with my anatomy classes and getting ready for my biggest final yet.  This month it has come in waves.  Starting with a comprehension test, where I have to speak in anatomy terms and then interpret it into words anyone can understand, a hands-on test, where my body mechanics, draping, professionalism, and techniques are being tested, a bone practicum, where I have to look at a bone and identify it and know its landmarks or a muscle and identify it, know where it attaches, and what it does, and lastly, the mother of all tests, where I have to know down to the cellular level and up to functioning systems of the human body.  Three down and one to go.  I got this! 

I couldn’t ask for a better massage program.  Every day, I have moments of clarity and certainty of this is where I am supposed to be.  My teachers breathe new inspiration into my life and my classmates, whom I get to spend an entire year with, encourage and challenge me to be better.  Every day I set my own standard of success and so far I have achieved a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance in school.  Some days are a struggle to leave home on time when my kids are sick or bad weather slows down everything, but by God’s grace I make it.  I put in the time to study and read and read some more.  I have learned the difference between studying to memorize for a test and studying to understand for my career.  Huge difference!  I have done both and realized I benefit more by studying to understand.  The path I have chosen, in massage therapy, allows me to fulfil my passion to help people and better myself at the same time.   

I have recently started my clinic shifts as a massage therapist and so far I am in love with it.  People come into my school needing pain eased, getting knots out of their back, releasing stiffness in their neck, clearing their meridian lines, or simply wanting some relaxation and I am there to help!  Nothing excites me more than telling them about referral pain from trigger points, breathing so they can concentrate on their body, how they carry stress in the shoulders, how posture effects the pain in their back, why headaches can start at the neck.  I can go on and on and when I don’t have an answer, I get just as determined to help find one.  My clinical internship requires 115.5 mandatory hours to fulfil for graduation; come out and let me help you!  Every Saturday until the last weekend of July I will be there, along with other therapists wanting to help you increase your range of motion, decrease stress, increase blood and lymph flow, decrease edema, increase your overall wellness, and up your relaxation level.   

Thank you Whisper N Thunder WINDS for your scholarship.  It has helped me get closer to my passion and because I had to get recommendation letters it forced me to talk life into my passion.  The further I come along the more love I have for massage therapy.  I can’t wait to show and share my ability with people I have the privilege to have on my massage table.  Thank you Whisper N Thunder Winds for your support and encouragement! 

Healing one body at a time!