Deb -lrgWhile driving to work one day, I passed a sign at a local church that said "Jazz in the Sanctuary". It caught my eye because I have two friends who sing jazz and I made a mental note to look into the event. Much to my surprise, this word "sanctuary" started making repeat appearances in my life in so many different forms that I wondered what the message was.

  • A news story was on the television reporting a woman from Mexico who took "sanctuary" in a church to avoid deportation.
  • A song was on the radio by Billy Joel, with the words, "In every heart there is a room, a sanctuary safe and..."
  • I was watching Family Jewels (guilty pleasure), a reality show about the family of Gene Simmons from the band Kiss, and his kids referred to Gene's office as his "sanctuary." Trust me, it's not a sanctuary, it's a shrine!
  • Animal Planet offered a special about an Elephant Sanctuary run by Carol Buckley developed specifically for endangered African and Asian elephants.
  • I walked into the Student Services office on campus and Dr. Dan Driscoll's door was closed with a sign on it that said "Sanctuary."
  • I went on our website to check out the job openings for massage therapists and believe it or not, one of the advertisers is The Sanctuary Day Spa.

For some reason, my mind has been in tune with this word and its meaning seems to be as boundless as one's imagination. It's a beautiful word and denotes an air of peace, safety, calm, refuge, rest, and sacredness. When I've thought about a sanctuary and the many forms it can take, I realized that most of the words I would use to describe such a place could be used to describe the art of massage therapy, its implementation and the place where it might be performed.

Usually there is soft, relaxing music, and the slight smell of a candle burning. Lying on the soft cushion of the massage table, comfort sets in. There's the voice of a professional asking probing questions to find out how they can lend help and best care for you. Then there are the trained hands that explore troubled areas, replacing discomfort with relief and relaxation. Eventually peace and calm find their way into the body and the blessed gift of deep sleep can conclude your session. Is there any doubt that this is a sanctuary for the aching and stressed?

But at another level, this can also be a sanctuary for the massage therapist who reigns over this domain, creating the work environment befitting their own desires and specialties. This will be their own place of refuge to give the gift of bodywork to those in need - an opportunity to work their magic in a setting designed by them and for them.

Massage Therapy is a profession of service that goes far beyond the physical act of massage. A dual purpose is realized for therapists as they lend their body, mind and spirit in the service of others while fulfilling their own need to help as well.

While you ponder your future and look for the inspiration to start your studies in massage therapy, remember that creating your own blissful environment is as close as a year away, and I'm just the person to help you get started.