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Success Story: Whitney Lowe

Whitney Lowe has been a massage professional for 28 years. Professionals and schools use Lowe’s texts, Orthopedic Assessment in Massage Therapy and Orthopedic Massage: Theory and Technique. He is a contributing author to several books and his articles appear regularly in professional journals and magazines.

In 1994, he founded the Orthopedic Massage Education & Research Institute (OMERI) to provide massage therapists the advanced education they would need for treating orthopedic soft-tissue disorders. Lowe offers advanced clinical massage training via hands-on workshops, and in one of the profession’s most innovative online training programs.

How did you get your start in the massage industry?
I originally came into the massage profession in the late-1980s. At that time I was in graduate school studying psychology. I had become very interested in the mind-body connection and was also getting somewhat burned out in graduate school. I learned about many of the things that were happening in the emerging field of massage therapy at that time and thought this would be a great way to make money on my own schedule while finishing my Masters degree. I also thought it would help me learn a lot more about the body. What I did not anticipate was getting so fascinated and captured by the massage therapy field that I never went back to my psychology graduate program.

What roles have you held in the industry during your career?
I have had many different roles in the industry throughout my career. I have been a clinician, chaired the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, and the predominant focus of my career for the last two decades has been on education and writing. I have written three books, contributed to numerous others, and also authored hundreds of articles. In the late 1990s I became fascinated with online education and its potential to provide great training experiences in the massage therapy field. Since that time I have been dedicated to helping produce high-quality learning experiences in the online environment for manual therapists.

What are two of the most important resources you use to stay engaged in the industry?
The Internet has certainly become one of the most valuable resources for staying engaged in the industry. Early in my career when I wanted to read medical journal articles I had to go to a physical library to find them, and it was often difficult to find those specific journals if the library did not carry them. Now all of that kind of information is right at our fingertips. I also find that attending conferences and being able to connect in person with peers from many different locations is a great resource to help you learn and grow.

What's the hardest challenge you've had in your career, and what did you learn from it?
I think the hardest challenge I had is spreading myself too thin and trying to do too many different things all at the same time. For example trying to maintain a regular clinical practice while traveling to give workshops and writing and teaching in school at the same time was really too much. Finally I had to narrow down these activities and focus on what I felt I did best and what I enjoyed the most. For me that is working on education in our field.

What professional achievement are you most proud of and why?
I would say that I am most proud of the clinical massage online courses that I have developed. It took a tremendous amount of background research to develop these courses and there had not been anything like them before so it required a great deal of creative innovation as well. Because I could not rely on simply reproducing something that already existed, it forced me to look at things in many new ways and learn many new skills to accomplish the end goal.

Is there someone in the industry who has had a profound impact on your career? Why?
Yes, my primary mentor and early teacher, Benny Vaughn, had a huge impact on my career. I learned a great deal from him not only about the world of clinical massage but also about teaching, presentation, and many facets of what it involves to be a healthcare professional.

What is the best part of working in the spa and wellness industry?
I think it is tremendously rewarding that we get to play such a valuable role in changing people’s lives for the better simply by what we do with our hands. Personal interactions with each client are valuable and have a great impact not only on them but also on us.

What one piece of advice would you give someone starting out in the spa and wellness industry?
I would say that this industry is tremendously versatile and highly variable. There are so many different avenues you could pursue. It isn’t necessary that we all focus on the very same things, so find a niche that really feels like it fits you well and really dive into that one particular area. The increased focus on a narrower slice of the industry will pay off in helping you get even more skilled at what you are doing.

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