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SSMT Blog

Possible Storm Closure Information

Update Monday 9/2/19 11 AM

SSMT will be open all week.

There is no longer any risk of hurricane force winds on the gulf coast of Florida. There is a slight chance of tropical storm force winds (less than 20% from Venice to Bradenton); if that materializes, we will revisit this.


Update Saturday 8/31/19 8 AM

The forecast now likely spares Sarasota and Manattee Counties. At this point we are planning to be open on Tuesday, but this is still subject to change as the forecast becomes clearer.


Original Post:

It looks like southwest Florida will likely experience the effects of Hurricane Dorian. If we close the school, this post will be updated to reflect that. School closings will be announced on the school’s voice mail and  the class facebook pages, in addition to this post.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) currently predicts the storm to pass north of us. The NHC points out that their forecast this far out (over five days for Sarasota) has an average error of about 200 miles, which means the storm might not affect us, or the eye might cross the state, pass right over us, and head into the Gulf.

We could be experiencing tropical storm force winds, and heavy rain, for 3 full days, beginning Sunday.

The greatest likelihood at this point is that we will experience tropical storm force winds while a major hurricane batters the east coast. The current prediction is for the worst damage to be on the east coast, and north of us.

Even though we are likely to be spared the worst of it, there is a very good chance (the NHC currently has it at 65%) that we will experience at least tropical storm force winds and a lot of rain. The ground is already soggy, and it won’t take much to uproot trees, and down power lines. We could experience heavy flooding and loss of power.

We urge everyone to prepare for for a significant storm. If your pet is not current with vaccinations, it may not be taken at a shelter, so get your pet vaccinated before the weekend.

Back To School

Heading back to school can be stressful for both kids and parents. Scrambling for school supplies, shoes, backpacks and uniforms; meeting teachers; hauling multiple boxes of crayons, scissors, and paper to classrooms – all take a toll! Yet, while the slower pace of summer is enjoyable, the consistency of the school year can provide relief for some families, and allow time for new projects.

So what about going back to school yourself, even if you have your own kids in school? The majority of SSMT students have children under 18 at home, and they not only find it manageable, but many also say their kids are inspired by seeing their parents studying and pursuing their dream. Our next classes start in September, so you can get through the August rush with your kids before focusing on your own education.

Our massage therapy students who attend day classes either take advantage of a Before-Care Program at their child’s school or they have a family member drop the child off in the mornings. Many schools in Manatee and Sarasota counties have low-or no-cost Before School programs. SSMT day students finish class at 1:00 – before their children have been dismissed for the day. Most evening students have help with their kids from family members while they attend classes – just three evenings per week.

Your children can also affect your own financial aid eligibility. The number of children you support is reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and impacts your grant and scholarship eligibility. The SSMT administration and staff want to see every student succeed. We want to help you figure out if this is the right path for you and make sure you’re set up for success, whatever your situation may be. Having kids go back to school can be a great time to consider enriching your own life as well.

Forbearance

If you’re having trouble making your student loan payments, there are many ways to find relief. The Department of Education provides a variety of repayment plans to keep you on track without causing you hardship. Sometimes that’s not enough, and you need to stop payments altogether for a period of time. That’s called forbearance.

There are two types of forbearance: mandatory and discretionary, and it can last up to 12 months. You will find that your FFELP or Direct Loan lenders are not like your auto loan lenders or credit card companies, in that they often want you to succeed and will try to help you through difficult times.

Lenders are required to provide a mandatory forbearance if you meet certain qualifications, which include:

  • Your monthly loan payment is 20% or more of your gross monthly income
  • You are serving in a medical or dental residency and meet specific requirements
  • You are teaching in a program that qualifies for teacher loan forgiveness
  • You are serving in an organization such as AmeriCorps
  • You are called into active military duty
  • You qualify for partial repayment under the U.S. Dept. Of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program.

A discretionary forbearance is one that is granted to you by your lender, even when they aren’t required to do so by regulations. It’s smarter for lenders to grant you a discretionary forbearance and reevaluate your situation in 6 or 12 months than to let you go into default and send you to collections.  Most lenders will approve forbearance for illness, unexpected expenses, or financial hardship, even if your loan payment is less than 20% of your gross monthly income.

Your loan interest, on both Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, continues to accrue while you’re in forbearance, but (unlike going into default) forbearance status will not affect your credit score. The interest will be added to your principal balance and then you’ll be charged interest upon interest as time passes. If you can afford to, make interest-only payments on your loan during forbearance.

Start the process by contacting your loan servicer. If you’re an SSMT grad and don’t know who to contact, just ask us and we’ll be happy to look it up for you.

 

Trauma and Massage Therapy

With PTSD Awareness Day coming up June 27th, this seems like a good time to talk about trauma and massage therapy.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is increasingly being viewed as one end of the trauma spectrum, and for many people dealing with the effects of trauma, massage therapy can be part of their healing.

PTSD can affect people exposed, either personally or as a witness, to an event involving violence, serious injury, death, or the threat of death. Intense perception of threat triggers the “fight, flight, or freeze” response, leading to imbalances in neurotransmitters and hormones, in turn leading to emotional symptoms that can be debilitating. There can also be physical symptoms such as chronic tension and pain.

Many theorists consider the physical and emotional symptoms to be related. Peter Levine’s groundbreaking book on trauma “Waking the Tiger” and the more recent “Forward Facing Trauma Therapy” by Eric Gentry approach the treatment of trauma spectrum disorders, including PTSD, by focusing on physical tension held in the body. Both are excellent reads for laypeople, written by professionals.

Since muscular tension is tied to the physical and emotional pain of trauma disorders, massage therapy might be an effective component of treatment. One important effect of massage therapy is stress reduction; massage decreases the fight, flight, or freeze response, decreasing the levels of the neurochemicals involved in that response. It also decreases muscle tension and pain.

A pilot study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (a division of the National Institutes of Health) on National Guard veteran patients resulted in a significant reduction in pain, tension, irritability, anxiety and depression when patients received even just one 20-minute weekly massage. These reductions were felt immediately after massage and long-term analysis suggested decreased baseline levels of tension and irritability.

According to the same study, perceived stigma associated with seeking behavioral health care is still a hurdle for many PTSD sufferers. Massage therapy can also carry less of that stigma for patients.

Massage therapy triggers the body’s relaxation response in the brain, helps break the “fight or flight” cycle, can improve sleep function and circulation, and fights physical pain resulting from chronic tension or the traumatic injury itself.

Autism Awareness Month – Massage & Autism

In the spirit of Autism Awareness Month, here are some of the research findings (accumulated by Tina Allen, at the Liddle Kidz Foundation®) on massage therapy and autism.

Research indicates that massage therapy may promote more on-task and social relatedness behavior during play among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Improvements in this area can have a profound effect on quality of life.

There is evidence that children with ASD show less erratic behavior, are more attentive, and demonstrate reduced touch aversion and withdrawal after receiving massage therapy. Over time, touch therapy also helps the child to become more accustomed to tactile stimulation and aides in body awareness. Often by incorporating massage therapy into daily routines, children with Autism experience decreased issues with sleeping.

And just as massage therapy can provide relaxation, stress reduction and calm muscle spasms in the general population, there is evidence that it can do the same in children with autism and ASD.

Register to Vote Here

Happy National Voter Registration Day! SSMT enthusiastically encourages all students, graduates, staff, and all other eligible Florida citizens to register to vote by clicking here.

If you prefer to complete a paper registration form you can print one here, or pick one up at the SSMT Front Desk or Admissions Office. We will gladly stamp and mail your completed form for you if you’d like.

The deadline to register is October 9 for voting in the 2018 General Election on November 6. Register now!

Farewell Leon Chaitow

The announcement of the death of Dr. Leon Chaitow is news of the passing of a giant. The British Osteopath was a leading voice in manual therapy for decades. He was the first osteopath appointed by the British government to a medical practice and he was the Editor-in-Chief of our profession’s only peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. He wrote more than 70 brilliant books and spoke around the world at schools and conferences of osteopathy, chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage therapy.

While SSMT has hosted some top names in our continuing education program, I am sorry to say we never brought Dr. Chaitow to Sarasota. I did see him speak in 2007 at the first Fascia Research Congress, which he helped organize, bringing the world’s top fascial scientists to Harvard Medical School to present their research to bodyworkers. He was an inspiring, eloquent, educated voice for manipulative medicine.

SSMT instructor and continuing education provider Chris Dux was fortunate to study Muscle Energy Techniques with Dr. Chaitow. While I never completed any formal training with him, I feel like I know and learned much from Dr. Chaitow through his writings and that brief moment in Boston sitting in an auditorium listening to him speak. I wonder how many others who never met him also credit him as one of their teachers. Thank you Dr. Chaitow, for a life of tremendous contribution.

SSMT 40th Anniversary 10k

SSMT turns 40 this year!

Among other celebrations, we’re looking for students, graduates or anyone who loves SSMT to become an Ambassador and run or walk with us in the Sarasota Music Half Marathon & Rockin’ 10k. Click here to sign up.

Whether you want to run like the wind or rock ‘n stroll with your friends while enjoying live music, this is the event for you! We are looking for students, graduates or anyone who loves SSMT to become an Ambassador and run or walk this race with us.

What comes with being an Ambassador?

• SSMT Performance T-shirt to wear on Race day
• Participate in a fun after-party in the SSMT tent
• Get two complimentary student massages at the student clinic during your training
• Join our FB group made especially to share experiences during training
• Have a team of local personal trainers to help you get ready

They will provide:

– Training plan for beginner/intermediate runners or one for walkers
– Initial team meeting with goal setting
– 2 yoga sessions with one of the trainers
– 2 track workout with one of the trainers
– 2 strength-training sessions with one of the trainers
– At least one of the trainers will be on hand race day.

Does this sound like fun? Well, NOW is the time to act.

Race day is February 3rd but the race sells out long before that! Click here to sign up.

Once you sign up, contact Susan Farhat to let her know you are registered. Then the fun begins! Don’t wait! Registration will close as soon as the race sells out, don’t miss the fun!

Ongoing Massage Therapist Shortage

“Can you send us more graduates?”

This is a constant refrain coming from employers, and happily has been for many years. Large spas and all of the massage therapy franchises have not been able to find enough qualified massage therapists to meet the increasing demand. It has even been described as a “talent war” in the press. But it goes so much deeper than this.

Demand for Licensed Massage Therapists (LMT’s) is projected to continue to outpace supply for the foreseeable future, and the US Department of Labor and Statistics projects continued rapid job growth. In Florida, the need for massage therapists is projected to increase by 29 percent through 2024. The job placement website Indeed.com reports that massage therapist jobs often go unfilled for more than 30 days. This shortage has contributed to an increase in approximately 20% in average entry-level pay for an LMT, from about $33,000 in 2013 to nearly $40,000 today.

Massage Envy-Sarasota employs 120 LMT’s between their 3 locations, and there has not been a moment in the past three years when they were not actively looking to fill open positions. Elements, Massage Heights, and Hand & Stone are all hiring right now. Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Wellness Centers, 5 Star Hotels, Day Spas, and many small businesses are all hiring…right now.

More than 17 million Americans received massage last year for relaxation or stress reduction; more than 26 million Americans received massage for medical or health reasons. 89% of Americans agree that massage can be effective at reducing pain, and research is beginning to show that massage therapy is not only effective treatment for pain; it may compare favorably to other medical interventions for pain. This is really big news, given the damage wreaked by the opioid crisis. (We will explore the research on massage therapy and pain in a future post.)

A population more educated about massage therapy, a crisis of pain, an increasing need to disconnect and recover from a society that is moving at warp speeds, and an aging population, have all combined to create a demand for massage therapy that is outpacing the supply.

For the right person, massage therapy can be an incredibly fulfilling career. In another post we will examine what makes a great fit.

“Can you send us more graduates?”

We’d love to!

Want to Know More?

A chat with one of the SSMT Admissions Guides, Autumn Lopez or Sue Toscano, is the best way to get your questions answered. Call 877-613-7768 - or click below to request a caring and supportive conversation.

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