Real Change

What can I say about massage therapy? Perhaps the only words I can express about the field is “life changing”. It all started many years ago with my wife deciding to become a licensed massage therapist in 2002. Though I spent years of my life working in western medicine, specifically in treating the human body as individual systems, I learned so much about a holistic approach to health from my wife.
But that was only the beginning. It wasn’t until I made the decision to attend Sarasota School of Massage Therapy (SSMT), that my career and even my entire life went through a transformation. SSMT was nothing like any educational experience that I had ever been through in any classroom. From admission until graduation, the teachers and staff cared about you as a person. You aren’t only a number at SSMT. Each individual student has the ability to bring their own personality and life experiences with them into a nurturing and loving space. From day one you begin to experience the powerful healing potential of touch. And trust me when I say, touch is a powerful tool to bring about healing a person physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually.

I am personally not one that calls myself a “healer” or even believe that my particular touch has some mystical power. Touch is also not the end all for healing everything. But I can tell you that touch can be used skillfully and with proper intention to facilitate one’s body to heal on so many levels. SSMT gives you all the tools to help facilitate that healing within your clients. I can not speak highly enough of the teachers that teach you everything from anatomy and physiology to reiki, and everything in between. And the teachers do it with so much love and passion of bodywork. Not only are staff and teachers the only reason to experience SSMT, but you will gain an extended family. The students that attend SSMT ultimately all have the same goal. Yes, their practice as a massage therapist may one day look very different from each other, as they integrate and utilize different techniques from an array of modalities. But we all have the same goal of bringing about real change in our clients through the art and science of touch. It doesn’t matter your gender, race, religion, life philosophy, or any other thingthat makes you who you are. The goal is the same, and brings every student close together. I can speak from experience that I may not be the person you would conjure up in your mind when someone mentions the career of massage therapist. I am a large male standing at 6’3” and around 300 lbs. My appearance may give you more of image of an oil field worker or even someone in a biker club. But that made no difference at SSMT and in the field of massage therapy. I felt accepted with open arms by staff and my peers. As my peers and I learned together a family bond begins to build.

So now as a practicing LMT who owns a business with my wife that is building at a steady pace, I would leave you these 3 thoughts:

#1. Touch is a powerful thing to facilitate healing within a person on many levels.

#2. Do not doubt yourself and your ability on preconceived notions.

#3. If you want to impact lives positively as a massage therapist, go to SSMT… will not regret it.


Travis Leonberger, LMT, SSMT Class 323

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