Massage Therapy is an amazing occupation with a variety of career paths available. We feature interviews with graduates of Irene’s Myomassology Institute sharing their successes, challenges, rewards and advice.
Janet Szwabowski Graduated May 2001
Irene’s – Where do you work?
Janet – I have three different jobs.
1. I’m self-employed. My business name is Massage Synergy.
2. During baseball season, I am a massage therapist for a professional sports team. I just finished my 7th season with them!
3. During the off season, I work as a Physical Therapy Assistant and Lymphedema Therapist for Detroit Medical Centers Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.
Irene’s – What are your specialties?
Janet – Some might think that since I work for a professional sports team, I specialize in sports massage. I can honestly say I really don’t know what a “sports massage” is. I do massage on athletes. I specialize in a deeper tissue therapeutic massage. I target the area(s) of concern using many different techniques. Range of motion – both passive and active, stretching, compression, and tapotement to name a few. I have become very experienced in treating shoulders, necks, and lower back/hips.
Irene’s – What are your favorite modalities or techniques?
Janet – I love tapotement and compression. I don’t think I could get through a massage session without using either of those to assess and/or treat. I also love cupping, as it does a lot of the work for me so I can be more efficient during a session.
Irene’s – What was your greatest success with a client?
Janet – A young man was referred to me by a coworker. He was from a country near India, and his family was of some wealth. I only worked with him three or four times due to his being transferred. Following our first session, he told me that I had changed his life. I really wasn’t sure how he meant that, but I thanked him and said it was my pleasure to work with him.
It wasn’t until the following sessions that he opened up. He told me that he had been kidnapped and tortured on a trip home. During his time in captivity, he was poisoned and electrocuted, among other things. He also told me he had lost his entire family back home in an earthquake. They were all at his parents’ house for a celebration when it hit. He was on his way home, but he was delayed when his bag was stolen at the airport. The specific reason he was coming to see me was because he had been in a very bad car accident where he suffered many broken bones.
During our sessions, we cried, we laughed, and I told him he was loved and that God had a plan for him. I was honored, so honored, that he allowed me to spend that time with him and to help him through his healing process. He changed my life.
Irene’s – To what do you attribute your success?
Janet – I love, love, love what I do!
Irene’s – What is your favorite aspect of your career?
Janet – I help people, which is quite selfish of me. I help people because it makes me feel awesome to know that I was able to help them feel better. It can’t get any better than that.
Irene’s – What do you do for self-care?
Janet – Honestly, not as much as I should. I do a lot of work on myself. I’ve taught my sister many techniques over the years, so she’ll work on me with direction. I trade or get a massage when time allows. My favorite thing to do is to get a massage in Chinatown when I am in San Francisco.
Irene’s – What marketing do you feel has worked best?
Janet – Referrals. That’s really the only way I take new clients
Irene’s – What do you feel is the biggest mistake you’ve made, and how did you address it?
Janet – Self-care. Not just for or because of massage, but for life in general. Stay strong, stay fit. It’s something I’m working on all the time.
Irene’s – Do you have any advice for new therapists?
Janet – Learn about what you do. Work on people. Don’t be confined by, “Oh, I didn’t learn it that way.” Play, experiment, if it works for you and your client then that’s all you need to know!