(Written September 2009)

Dear OSM,

As I move on to new careers I am prompted to look back over my massage career and wanted share some of my reflections with you.

I started massage training at OSM in 2001 and got my massage therapy license in 2004. I am now in training to become a dental assistant with a goal of continuing on to become a dental hygienist . My decision to move into a new field was prompted by several factors, but primarily because of my new status as a single parent. I felt I needed the financial security that a salaried position would provide. While I know a massage practice can generate a substantial income, a steady practice usually requires energetic marketing which, frankly, was not one of my stronger skills.

While I look forward to my new career I am also deeply appreciative of what I have learned from massage training and practice. It changed my life in many ways. The Communication class, and communication emphasis throughout, at Oregon School of Massage has been very valuable for me both personally and professionally. It supported and added to my personal growth and it will pay huge dividends in my new career. At OSM I learned and practiced listening skills, boundary setting, and other communication techniques. I am grateful that OSM did such a great job of teaching this subject as it is not only extremely
important, especially in the field of healthcare, but it is something that largely has not been addressed in the other professional training programs in which I have been participating.

The health science classes I had in massage training have proved quite an asset to me as well. In addition to being essential for
practicing massage, those classes provided me with a foundation for my current healthcare training programs and it has helped me
to direct my own well-being, making me a more informed health care consumer.

I love practicing massage and and as I go on to other jobs will probably continue to do so on a limited basis. I value working in
a field that helps people maintain their wellness rather than treat their sickness. Doing massage seems to have inherent in it a fundamental human connection which is often overlooked in other healthcare disciplines and may well be a critical
component of wellness.

The personal growth that was facilitated through OSM was pivotal and invaluable to me. Even though I am moving to another career, I feel that the time, energy and money that I have spent in massage training were a great investment.

S. Sonoda (2004 OSM Graduate)

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