Massage therapy is a way to be part of something bigger in healthcare

With the growing need for additional health-care practitioners, Valerie Broadnax knew she wanted be a part of something bigger in the health system, and to provide a well-rounded and natural approach to the wellness industry.

Valerie was initially drawn to ICT Northumberland’s Massage Therapy Diploma Program because of their exclusive modality, Suikodo. She then solidified that it was the right place for her after she felt the warm and professional welcome from the school’s director, Karen McKenzie. 

“She always believed in my ability to make it successfully through the program and helped me to continue when things became challenging,” Valerie says. 

Valerie enrolled in the school’s fast-track program, and though this meant she could get out into the workforce sooner, it came paired with a challenging schedule of 50-to-70-hour work weeks. It helped to have supportive hands holding her up while she balanced being a single mom, studying and scheduling in practice time. With the support from faculty and peers, she tried not to let her faith in herself, and her ability to perservere, waver.

“Sometimes it takes learning to know when to keep working and when to take a break and pace yourself,” she says. “The peers and colleagues that you gain in this program are also going through similar challenges, and we all supported each other and continued to give each other strength.” 

Valerie would especially like to thank Rahel Huwiler, one of her classmates, who really helped her through by showing her the friendship and support that could come from the program. 

“I also found the clinical instructors to be very friendly, accommodating and extremely helpful and caring in my learning and in growing my skills during the student clinics. It was important to feel comfortable in approaching the clinic teacher because you really want to make sure to get the most out of your practice and learning skills.”

Along with gaining extensive academic knowledge of the human anatomy and systems, and the practical experience that came with clinical studies, Valerie says that massage therapy is also an education in personal growth.

“Being a massage therapist comes with learning the vast variety of modalities and skills that one can learn as they grow as a therapist. That being said, it’s important to know what type of therapist you are. You’re not just finding out what type of therapist you are, but the type of person you are. It’s a beautiful and healing journey.” 

ICT prepared Valerie as an RMT—Registerd Massage Therapist—and upon graduation she knew the expectations that came with the career. Overall, Valerie feels more confident in her own abilities to open up her own practice as an independent therapist and to promote her specialty in a unique modality of Hawaiian massage, Lomi Lomi, adding postural alignment to her practice. 

In the end, Valerie’s experience at ICT helped pique her interest and delve fully into the world of massage therapy. The coursework was worth it, she says, as massage therapy is a rewarding career where not only is she able to watch her clients’ health and strength grow, but she has the privilege of being the one who guided them along their journey to wellness.