Helping Others Through Massage

Karyn Claflin

Massageschool.org is proud to award Karyn Claflin who  our “Helping Others Scholarship”.  Karyn has a strong history of volunteer work which we hope she intends on continuing once she has completed her massage training. She is attending Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois.

Karyn answered the question “How you will help others upon completion of massage therapy training?”

I had never had a massage until I decided to go to school for it. Now I aim to get at least one a month as part of my self-care routine. Massage is a great complement to conventional medical care. I am very interested in what massage has to offer to those dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression. I know it has greatly helped with my own stress and anxiety. Everyone should be able to reap the benefits of massage.

I recently had the opportunity to give a massage to an elderly woman who had never had one. It was a very profound experience for me. She said she felt the massage would help with her breathing and that she would like one every week. I would like to work with this population, maybe in a long term care facility or similar setting, providing massage to residents who may not have much contact with family and who may feel isolated from the world. I feel providing compassionate touch to this population would greatly improve their quality of life.

It has always been important to me to give back to my community, and I would love to be able to give back with massage therapy. Everyone deserves a regular massage, but not everyone can afford one. I was in AmeriCorps from the fall of 2005 through the summer of 2006, serving for an organization that ran a free clinic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While there, I worked with volunteer medical providers and students to help uninsured folks access much needed healthcare. I was able to revamp their system of accessing free prescription medications through pharmaceutical companies. This experience opened my eyes to the lack of access many have to affordable healthcare.

When I get my license to practice massage therapy in Illinois, I plan to partner with a local organization to offer massage to those who cannot afford it. There is a local community health center, Frances Nelson, where patients are seen based on a sliding scale fee. I think it would be amazing to be able to offer massage at this clinic. I envision being able to offer massage one day a week and maybe getting some of my colleagues involved to offer it more often.

Almost every job I have had has been in the “helping” professions, and I had always thought I would go back for a master’s degree in Social Work. I instead decided on Massage Therapy because I want to help people in a more immediate, tangible way compared to what a social worker does. I feel like you can do that with massage, and I am excited to start my career as a Massage Therapist.