“Work” is not a word Eliane Oramas would use to describe her job as a massage instructor at Florida Academy. For her, teaching massage therapy program is her passion.
A beauty school graduate who went back to study massage therapy at the age of 30, Oramas says it changed her life. “I never felt that I went to work again because I found the passion in what I like to do,” she says. She began teaching in 2005, but she has also done massages in spas and a chiropractor’s office. In addition to teaching at Florida Academy, she also recruits for a massage-on-demand company, which operates along the lines of Uber.
Oramas says she teaches her students everything she knows. “I don’t hold back on what I teach them. When you teach and have people depending on you, it’s very important that you do a good job.” Her hands-on training goes the extra mile. “I massage clients in front of my students,” she says. “I’m having them touch the tissue. It’s very interactive, and not a lot of teachers do that.”
Besides learning the techniques used in Swedish massage, students need to know how to effectively communicate with clients. Millennials have been brought up with technology; social media often substitutes for actual one-on-one communication. “Massage is a customer service-oriented field,” she explains. “You want to make a difference to where that client is going to want to come back to you. You want to stand out.” To do that, massage therapists need to discuss treatment goals with their clients. What do you want to get out of the massage? Do you have areas of tension? Do you have an injury? Are you going through an emotional phase of your life? Do you just want to relax?
According to Oramas, massage therapy is in more demand than ever. “People are stressed out and touch deprived,” she says. Many professions have gone away because of technology, but massage has not. “You can’t replace the human hand.” This is especially true in Florida with its elderly population. “There are so many elderly people who don’t have their significant other, or their children aren’t there,” she says. “Those people need touch. The health benefit is not just physical but also emotional.”
By triggering an involuntary – but expected – relaxation response from the nervous system, massage can produce physical and emotional benefits. This causes your heart and breathing rates to slow down, and your blood pressure and stress hormones to decrease. Certain chemicals are released that make the body feel good. “Your cells have memories that they want to come back,” Oramas says. “No healing takes place unless the person is relaxed.” That’s why massage therapy, which promotes the immune system and assists healing, is used in healthcare facilities. That opens additional doors to graduates. Rather than work in a day spa or massage franchise, they can put their skills to use working with chiropractors, oncologists, sports medicine doctors, prenatal wards, hospice and more.
“If students have an interest in healthcare, [massage therapy] is definitely a gate, an entry into it,” Oramas says, “because it gives you a good amount of knowledge in terms of the body.” Students learn anatomy, physiology and medical terminology as part of their massage training. “You can make enough money in massage therapy to pay your way through physical therapy school or whatever interest the student may develop,” she continues.
Oramas and Florida Academy’s other massage therapy instructors are doing it right. “Our educators are very strong,” she says. “We know that the skill we’re teaching is what’s going to give them their livelihood.” It’s also giving graduates excellent career opportunities. “The ones that are looking for a job … most of the time I have people waiting for them.” She says it’s important to find people a good match, however. For example, Oramas had two students who were very athletic and enjoyed sports. When someone in her large network of contacts expressed a need for massage therapists who were interested in working on athletes, she immediately thought of them. “I know so many people, and I’m always able to situate my students with a good match.”
Finding a good job match can also lead to good money. “I don’t know too many professions where you can go to school for six months and be able to come out and make between $50 to $200 an hour,” Oramas says. “There are so many people out there that are miserable in a job. They can get out of there and get a license, be proud and be part of a profession that is humble, that is not throat cutting. It’s a nice environment to work in. It’s stress free and non-confrontational.”
It’s no secret that living in today’s world can be stressful. According to the American Psychological Association, stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung problems, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. Massage therapy can reduce stress, and, therefore, benefit health and wellness. Oramas says, “Touch, love and humanity are very needed.”
If Eliane Oramas inspires you to promote wellness and help people relieve their pain, consider a career as a massage therapist. Florida Academy in Fort Myers offers a comprehensive curriculum (with the flexibility of day and evening classes) that can get you started in a massage therapy career in as few as 30 weeks. When you conclude your training and earn your license, you will be qualified for a massage therapist position in a clinic, chiropractic office, spa, hotel, fitness center, sports medicine facility, cancer treatment location or more.
Contact Florida Academy today. Classes begin every six weeks.