Your massage school is temporarily closed. What now?

By: Shelly Diez, LMT CFSMT Instructor

To a screeching halt. That’s how my massage school closed. We arrived on Monday at 9am,
ready to teach. Sadly, the owner updated the faculty & staff on the newest CoVid-19 statistics
and made the most difficult yet ethical decision – he temporarily closed the massage school.
Ideally, in two weeks, we can return. But let’s be honest, we don’t really know when.
So, what can a massage student do in the meantime? Well, you study. Ha! As a former
student, I can relate to the common response, “Uhm, excuse me but I need some guidance. I
can’t do this by myself!” Well, in social distancing, you have to. You must.
And, I am here to tell you how.

Make anatomy notecards.
In your own handwriting, make notecards of your most challenging topics. On the front of the
card, jot down a term or concept, and on the back, place the meaning or description. Don’t
worry about the stuff you know. Not one bit. You need to review the terms & topics that never
seem to stick. Use those cards to quiz yourself during this social distancing. Review the organs
of the digestive system before binging that show; quiz yourself on the cranial nerves whilst
walking the dog; assess your understanding of the eye’s structure and function until the pizza
delivery arrives. Notecards never need recharging and they can fit in your pocket.

Repetition to master muscle OIA.
Write a muscle’s origin, insertion, and action. Over, and over… and over. Five times, to be
exact. Repetition and the number five is what your brain craves when memorizing heaps of
unfamiliar information. The first and second iteration is simply practice. By the fourth
repetition, you will feel your memory kicking in. So by the fifth time, not only is your hand
cramping, those neurons in your brain have been firing long enough to create a solid
connection to that impossible-to-memorize fact. What do you do when you don’t have it
memorized by the fifth time? You guessed it, do it five times each again. And maybe use a
notecard to make absolutely sure you know that muscle.

Summarize one pathology per day.
Create a shorthand version of the vast information involved in one pathology. Think of it as a
large notecard. In your own words, summarize all that data to include demographics,
pathophysiology, signs & symptoms, treatments, medications and other cautions for massage.
And then, explain that pathology to a willing audience. Make a Pictionary game out of the skin
pathologies to bring everyone up to date on the differences between ringworm and dermatitis.

Practice massage.
On yourself, significant other, your children, and pets. That’s it. Everyone else must wait for
their free student massage until after this crippling pandemic passes. And if you don’t have any
of those options, make some pizza dough and proceed to knead, compress, lift & spread. This
will keep those fingers and wrist joints in shape. And while you’re at it, describe the history of
the massage to your cockatiel. While massaging her little birdy feet, I’m sure she would
appreciate knowing who the father of Swedish massage is.
Until our lives can return to the new normal.
Until we can return to our center of learning.
Read, write, quiz, and repeat. Stick to the topics that give you the most trouble. Keep it simple
by practicing just one topic at a time. Talk to anyone and anything about what you find so darn
interesting in massage school.
Do they know how many muscles and bones make up the human body?
Would they like to?