From Russia with Touch

By Karrie Osborn
[ABMP Member Profile]

Olya Pedersen was always an artistic child. Born in Moscow, Russia, she loved to draw, make sculptures, act, dance, and sing.
“Later on, I graduated from college, got an office job, and set aside my creative nature. My mother grieved this fact as she has always known how happy I am when I draw or sing.” After moving to the United States in 2011, however, Pedersen says her eyes were opened to all the possibilities. “I knew I wanted to help people feel better. I learned about organic foods, alternative medicine, and a holistic approach to life. I learned about massage therapy, and nothing could stop me from then on.” Pedersen says she examined her heart, reflected a lot, and finally decided to be true to herself and choose this new career path that was calling to her.
Pedersen graduated from the Universal College of Healing Arts in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2014 and went to work in a spa setting as she started her new career. She says she will always be an artist and considers massage the new expression of her creativity. “I might never come back to drawing on canvas, but I feel I draw and sing with my hands and create something new with every massage session.”
Now living in Omaha, with her husband, Andrew, and their son, Jack, Pedersen says 2015 was a big year for her as she became both a US citizen and a new mother. “I was able to work through my 39th week of pregnancy,” she says. “It actually felt fantastic to move when I was pregnant. I felt worse on the days I didn’t work.” She says she asked her employer at the time to incorporate more breaks into her schedule and found that being able to elevate her legs for a few minutes between clients helped recharge her for the next session.
Now back on a regular schedule, Pedersen says finding and pursuing the massage path, and all its artistic components, has been a blessing. “I discovered my passion in life,” she says. “I discovered my calling and mission!”

Karrie Osborn is senior editor at ABMP.