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Although Lyons now works in Massage Therapy, her path to this career started off going in a very different direction. She first began attending school for Criminal Justice and found the work to be very stressful, especially the experiences in some of the maximum security areas. After attending a massage session to try to relieve some of her stress, Lyons realized how beneficial the treatment was for her, and she decided to look into it further. Shortly after, she made the decision to change her educational path and enroll in massage school, where she developed her passion for that kind of health work.
Once she had completed all of her certifications, Lyons made the decision to open her own business, Eightfold Path Massage, LLC. Even though it was not required for her new career path, Lyons made the choice to enroll in classes with UW-Superior in order for her to obtain her bachelor's degree. She explains, "I didn't have to have a [bachelor's] degree in order to teach massage but I am so glad I got it. I have received many jobs just because I have a degree above the other candidates." Lyons was able to take all of her classes online through UW-Superior's Distance Learning Program, and she took the opportunity to design her own individualized degree in Human Services with concentrations in Nutrition, Management, Communication, and Anatomy.
Since she owns her own business, Lyons is responsible for everything that goes on within the company, from taking care of all the financial responsibilities and paperwork to advertising the business and of course carrying out the actual massage work as well. Although some may think that this type of job would struggle in a poor market, Lyons has actually seen the opposite effect. She comments, "I have had no loss of clients based on the economy at all. Massage is growing into the category of health and wellness and people respect the need to stay healthy."
Even with the wide range of duties that she is responsible for as an owner, Lyons is not daunted by any of the tasks at hand. Though she admits that she may not enjoy all of the work, especially dealing with things such as taxes, she is able to find great people who can help her out with those aspects of the business. Overall, Lyons loves the work that she is doing. Each client who comes in to see her has a unique need that they are seeking to have fulfilled, and she takes pride in seeing the end results of her work.
One example Lyons gives of the benefits of her work was the aid she was able to give a woman who had terrible pain in her legs from MS (multiple sclerosis). The woman had tried to get help from other places, but nothing was working for her. Through the benefits of the massages Lyons provided, as well as the instructions that Lyons gave to the husband to help out at home, the woman was able to go from being immobile to managing the pain and walking again. These are the types of success stories that Lyons is proud to be a part of.
Aside from carrying out her work of performing the massages, Lyons also has the opportunity to teach massage classes to others who are looking to learn about the field. In the future she is hoping to still be a part of this ongoing education for others as well as continuing her own work. It is her long term goal to be able to own an even larger business than what she has now, such as a spa or a school for massage education.
Although it is not necessary to have a bachelor's degree in order to carry out her work with Massage Therapy, Lyons believes that her extra education has proved its worth to her. She reflects that she had an edge over others who applied for the same job positions as her, and she was grateful for the opportunity to continue learning.
For the teaching aspect of her job, Lyons comments that aside from needing a massage therapy degree, at least three years of field experience is also required. She loves the chance to take part in educating the people in her classes, especially those who are eager to learn more. Continual learning is something that Lyons takes seriously, and she says, "I would LOVE to continue on to get my master's degree just for the simple fact of learning more. There is never enough
To some people it may seem like a job in Massage Therapy would be fairly static without too much variation involved. However, Lyons proves that this is certainly not the case. She states, "Massage Therapy and teaching is amazing. There isn't just one road that you have to travel down. Massage will take you to places and introduce you to so many people." This certainly held true for Lyons, who spent some time working with people in Cambodia. While she was there, she was able to help both children and adults who were suffering from health problems but who would not otherwise be able to afford any medical care. Her work was done through a program called The Heart Touch Project. Interview conducted by Kristen Jasperson on January 11, 2013. Article written by Kristen Jasperson.
Lyons' trip had such a positive impact on her life, and she is already planning to make a return trip to Cambodia in January 2014. After her experience overseas, she now says, "I honestly have a better idea of the world and what one person can do to help change it. I wish everyone could take one trip like this one in their lifetime so that they could see the love and happiness in the world!"
Kelsey Lyons was interviewed as a part of the Career Services Day in the Life project. Her full interview and those of other UW-Superior alumni can be found on the Day in the Life website, http://www.uwsuper.edu/career/students/day-in-the-life.cfm.
Interview conducted by Kristen Jasperson on January 11, 2013. Article written by Kristen Jasperson.
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