Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage is different in a few ways. Most important of these ways, class size is limited to 18 students, the school offers a comprehensive program that prepares graduates for better-than-entry level positions, and students start and end their program with the same classmates.
It’s this appeal that brought a group of students to the first program offered by Bodymechanics School, which opened its doors in Vancouver in early 2016. (The school also has a Tumwater location.) Five students enrolled in the life-changing program, and as of December, these graduates are now certified and ready to massage and heal clients of their own.
Ryan Cotton is a recent graduate and recalls his entry into the program. “I have no doubts whatsoever that the school is preparing me to meet and exceed the goals that I set for myself on the day that I graduate,” he says.
For owner and instructor Shari Aldrich, recalling her favorite memory of the first graduating class was easy. “I really think my favorite memory is giving them a surprise final and they all passed with 90 percent or higher,” she says. “This was so satisfying as the owner to show myself, staff, students, and the community that we have a great program that will prepare them for success.”
She and the students celebrated with a bead exchange ceremony where each student and instructor shared a bead that represents themselves.
“It’s very symbolic and each person takes a piece of the class with them,” says Aldrich. “After this ceremony, we went to lunch and shared goals for the future, funny class moments, and enjoyed being in this moment one final time.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics website states, “Employment of massage therapists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Continued growth in the demand for massage services will lead to new openings for massage therapists.”
Aldrich is looking forward to a new year and new students. “For someone who has a desire to help people feel better, a massage career needs to be considered. The ability to help people and earn a better-than-average salary in one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S. is very satisfying.”
Aldrich aims to make classes accessible to students, offering the dual locations, and flexible scheduling, including morning, evenings, and weekends.
Many students who enroll in the program are switching careers and enjoy the weekend option, which allows them to have full-time jobs while attending massage school two to three weekends a month. The certification can be completed in as few as nine months, and in-house financing with easy terms is available.
Aldrich is committed to her students’ success and offers support and tools as a friend and an instructor, even long after graduation. Here is an excerpt of a letter she wrote to her graduating class:
“Today, you guys are taking a big step towards creating a self-sustaining job and future for yourself and your family… You are entering a very noble profession, one where helping relieve someone’s pain is very fulfilling and exciting at times. You are getting into this field because of a desire to help people feel better.
“Today, I challenge you to not lose that desire to help people. I challenge you to continue learning about the human body, don’t sit back and be satisfied with what you’ve learned in the past nine months. Practice with a research mind – take ownership of furthering your education to better help your clients. And also know that you are all welcome to call me with any question that you have at any time.”