Alexis had spent over 25 years as a hairdresser and esthetician going straight from high school to beauty school, to being a mom. After a series of car accidents, recovery, healing, and journey work, she later pivoted her career and realized her newfound path and passion in the healing realm of massage therapy. Prior to her graduation at the Oregon School of Massage (OSM) Alexis attended the massage program twice and now currently works in a chiropractor’s clinic, owns her own studio, as well as instructs at the OSM. She knows what it is and takes to be a student, “trust me, I’ve been there”, “I can tell you what working for someone else is like and I can tell you what working for yourself is like. I can answer those questions”. Alexis’s journey has been challenging and if anyone can help guide and work with students, Alexis is a great resource.


The events that led up to her career change were by no means small. Alexis was involved in three car accidents that eventually altered her world for good. The first accident happened in her early years as a child (between the ages 9-10 years old) which resulted in minor whiplash. The second car accident happened in her teen years at the age of 16, which as a result were more serious. The injuries incurred consisted of whiplash with head and neck injuries along with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues. Her injuries were severe enough that they interfered with her schooling and were at times debilitating. After receiving medical treatment and medication, Alexis was still struggling with pain and discomfort which included frequent migraines.

At her side, her father found a massage therapist in Eugene that specialized in cranial sacral message. This was Alexis first introduction to healing through message. “I had never had a massage before”. After receiving a sacral cranium massage, she felt an ease in her discomfort and her migraines went away. “Massage was my only saving grace”.

The third car accident was on a much larger scale. Alexis and her ex-husband’s truck and trailer lost control in snow/ice conditions. The truck and trailer lost traction, span out, flipped, and ended up 2 miles down the road. Not only did this accident result in new injuries including tears in her neck, hips, thighs, and kneecaps, the accident also reactivated prior trauma. Following the accident, Alexis shared experiencing frequent knee instability for which she received a prescribed cortisone treatment as well as physical therapy. A task such as doing the laundry would cause her back to go out and would result to a week and a half of recovery. “Body motion was the cause of pain”.

Following the third car accident, Alexis was in a 4–5-year recovery period and shared that the only thing that really helped, out of all her other attempts to recover was massage. “Massage was able to incorporate everything”. Once again Alexis expressed, “the only thing that saved me was massage”. During this time, Alexis went into reflection about what to do next in her career. It wasn’t long before Alexis realized she wanted to be able to give somebody what that LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist) was able to give her. In 2011-2012 Alexis entered OSM and joined the program. “It was an immediate perfect niche, a perfect fit”.


Alexis went through massage schooling twice due to a one-day lapse from the time she finished the program to the last day to take the exam (there is a two-year window to complete the exam). As much as this pained her to take most of the classes again, she will admit that it made her a better student, practitioner, and instructor. “I tell my students, worst case scenario you redo the class, worst case scenario you learn more”. Alexis also shared, “you can’t say anything I haven’t already heard or said myself”. Alexis saw her re-schooling as a meant-to-be situation to learn even more as a second time student. “I feel all of your pain, I’ve been in the school twice”. Through her pursuit of schooling Alexis has witnessed internal changes as well as developed a deeper understanding of both sides of teaching and learning.

When Alexis first joined the program, the teaching aspect spoke to her, and she could see the value of sharing her growing knowledge and experiences with others. However, leadership and teaching really started to sink-in for Alexis halfway through the program during hydrotherapy when her past experiences of being an esthetician along with her previous first-hand experience of cranial sacral treatment fell into place and she was able to speak to those experiences directly. It was important for Alexis to be able to add excitement and real-world focus to her teaching. “At our school the teachers have a good habit of throwing extra stuff in and tidbits that we wished we had learnt in school”.


Alexis went back and forth with idea of starting a new pursuit and school. Thoughts circled around school and family/life balance. Alexis contemplated if she could do the program, what finances would be like, as well as outside feedback that questioned whether this would be a feasible career for financial stability. Now in her 30’s, another question Alexis had was, “am I too old?”. It wasn’t long before Alexis realized that she was not alone when switching up directions and taking this step. She discovered that other people on the healing path attended schools in their 50’s, 60’s and one peer student at OSM Alexis remembered was around 82 years of age with a visual impairment. We both agreed, “now that’s perspective, no real excuses there”.

Remembering her first time at OSM Alexis could recall the student demographic being older in generation, coming from all walks of life, including a lawyer. Alexis realized that for the most part she was trying to talk herself out of it with the idea that everything and everyone comes first and, “what I want is a want and doesn’t matter.”


Alexis immediate response was, “There is a reason you are being drawn to something. You don’t have to understand it and it might make no sense at the time – there is a reason you are drawn to it”. Alexis gave an example of individuals diagnosed with Cancer. “Little are we aware that massage can aid in changing someone’s life”.

Alexis has experience with different levels of trauma from sexual abuse and manipulation and narcissistic abuse. The more classes she teaches the more students she resonates with. Trauma release and awareness is part of the learning. Knowing this full well, Alexis makes herself available through the process of each student. Massage is more than learning techniques. Alexis shares “It’s a level/path of healing that you didn’t know you were ready to take, nor did you probably want to take”, finishing with, “let’s unwrap that”. Alexis used a wonderful metaphor of massage being, “the biggest pandoras box that you never wanted to open and that you can literally never shut because you are always in discovery”.

Alexis also shared that intuition plays a large role in the healing process, not everything goes into a box. She explains that it doesn’t matter what your preconceived notions are, the universe is going let your body do what it needs to do for that person no matter what “Whether it’s traumatic release or something else it’s just going to happen, if we can facilitate it even better”. Alexis acknowledges massage therapy is a medical necessity and yet there is so much more which involve when it comes to the emotional and spiritual work that comes into play. “Let the work happen”.

Specialty focuses and interests can shift and change through the process. For Alexis, her focus started with cancer patients which turned into cranial sacral, which then pivoted to prenatal, and then to MVA’s clients. “I enjoy injury work with understanding what that is like”. Alexis also works with rape survivors, cancers survivors, as well as transgender individuals. Alexis explained that there is a relation that we have with a body holding trauma that can be brought up and worked with as well as healed through the program. Healing starts with self to be able to then work with and heal others. Self-love and self-care are part of the work. Getting into the habit of being a therapist, you must first address self.


Alexis confidently shared, “All you need to do is take that first step, everything else will fall into place, time, money, your specialties will fall into place, you just need to put yourself in it. You’re already there and you already know the answers.” We both agreed that there is no coincidence when being pulled in a certain direction. Alexis’s belief is, “There is a reason you are pulled here because there is some form of healing that you need to do here or some form of work that you need to do here”. Alexis is aware that we all face struggles and experience trauma, and this can sometimes stop us in our path that can sometimes turn us around. “I can talk and sit with you through trauma, I got you”. It is important to know that at OSM you are with people that can say “I have been there, and I have literally sat in your shoes”. Alexis knows what it means to have to adapt, study hard, fail, learn differently, and see things through. “There are no dumb questions”. Like many of the other instructors ay OSM, Alexis makes herself available for her students as an instructor, peer, and a resource for guidance.

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