Faces of Bodywork: Stormy Mesa

A woman, Stormy Mesa, sits and meditates next to a plant.

Stormy Mesa was featured in the September/October 2023 issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine in “Faces of Bodywork.” Here is more about the path that led Stormy to the work she does today.

Massage & Bodywork: Please tell us about your background:

Stormy Mesa: I graduated from the Colorado School of Healing Arts (CSHA) in May 2016, completing 700 hours in massage. I have since continued my education, becoming certified in medical massage, cupping, YoMassage, and reiki. I also have a master’s degree in International Disaster Psychology, where I specialized in trauma.

M&B: When did you start practicing?

SM: I started practicing right after I obtained my massage license the summer of 2016. I started out small, working on a few clients a month and doing some chair massage jobs on the weekends. I was still working full time in the mental health field. At the time, I was already thinking about a career change. Little did I know that massage therapy would quickly become my passion and the career change I was looking for.

M&B: What are your areas of focus?

SM: People often come to me for the therapeutic work I offer—medical massage, neuromuscular techniques, sports massage, and cupping. Once the presenting issues resolve for my clients, they often continue with me to maintain their healing. I am able to do this by providing a massage that is focused on their individual needs. I listen to them, using the information they give me—everything from stress level to the type of work they do. Then I formulate a customizable session and treatment plan. This is where I bring in other modalities I specialize in, such as energy work, full-body deep tissue, and Swedish massage. I am a firm believer in the body and mind connection, and over time I help my clients see how strong that connection is.

M&B: In addition to your business, Ocean Jasper, you have some additional side gigs too?

SM: Yes, my business name is Ocean Jasper Therapeutic Massage. I also do independent contract work for LoDo Massage Studio, where I do chair massages at corporate offices and events. I absolutely love doing these because it gets me out of the office, I have the opportunity to meet new people, and it’s fun! Up until June 2023, I was working part time for Angels Services, providing mobile table massages for people with disabilities. This was my way of giving back to the community using my massage skills. Through this, I have met the most wonderful families. I plan to continue my work with them in the fall, but as an independent contractor offering massages at my office.

M&B: Can you share the journey that brought you to where you are today? Why massage?

SM: As I mentioned, I was already thinking about a career change when I discovered massage (though I had always wanted to be a massage therapist). I fell in love with massage the minute I set foot in CSHA’s classroom. However, at the time, I did not realize just how passionate I would become about massage. Shortly after I graduated from CSHA, I experienced a traumatic loss that was the beginning of my own healing journey. Through that experience I discovered that there is so much to healing that can come from massage, on a physical, spiritual, and emotional level . . . and most of it happening without even having to talk. For anyone who has experienced a trauma or loss, talking can be the most difficult thing to do. I have discovered that my hands can do more than my words ever could. Through this journey I discovered my true passion, a natural ability to help others heal, endless massage techniques, and invaluable life lessons. Not once have I looked back.

M&B: It appears you have goals of transforming your practice into a wellness center. Can you tell us more about that?

SM: This stems from my journey that brought me to massage and where I am today. I have been blessed with the most wonderful clients, all from different backgrounds and with different needs. Their presenting symptoms may seem similar on the surface (low-back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, etc.), but when I get to know them over time, I start to notice other areas in their lives that may need healing. I am well aware of my scope of practice as a massage therapist and no longer want to offer any form of mental health therapy of my own. However, I do want to bring other practitioners into my practice that offer different modalities for healing. I believe that just because something worked for one person, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for the next person. People are very diverse and complex, meaning we all have our own set of beliefs, backgrounds, culture, experiences, etc. What I would like to see is someone who comes in for a massage and decides to stay for a meditation class or signs up for wellness coaching. Through the wellness center, I would like to foster community and offer a variety of healing modalities under one roof. The wellness center will include life and wellness coaching, YoMassage classes, and mediation classes, and I will be adding on another massage therapist, a small hair salon, a small retail shop selling self-help books and items, and community events/classes. I don’t think anyone should feel alone while on their healing journey.

M&B: What is the best part of being a massage therapist for you?

SM: My clients. I have met the most interesting people over the years. Even if it’s just a brief check-in, I am grateful they trust me enough to continue receiving massages from me. Like I said before, so much can be communicated during a massage without ever having to use words. Every day before work, I look at my schedule and start planning each session in my head before I even get to work. 

M&B: What words of advice do you have for anyone just entering the profession?

SM: There will be challenging days, challenging clients, challenging moments. Don’t get discouraged because all the good moments in your career will trump that. And, over time, you will discover your own style and areas you will excel at in massage. Your style is what will make you unique, and there will always be clients drawn to that.

M&B: Can you tell us something about what feeds you on a personal level? Things you do for fun?

SM: What feeds me the most is growing things. I have a large vegetable garden that I enjoy maintaining during the warmer months. When I am out there, time ceases to exist. I feel like I’m in my own little oasis. Even pulling weeds feels like Zen! I love growing plants indoors, as well and have a variety of plants around my house and office. I also enjoy time to myself, and I meditate daily. Last, but definitely not least, I enjoy spending time with my two boys. They bring out the best in me.

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