As many of you know, Emma Conlon and Lydia Spry joined the teaching team here at BCMB at the start of the year. 3 months in Lydia Spry reflects on the journey so far…
When I graduated in December 2015 from the Holistic Massage course at BCMB I knew I wouldn’t be away for long. I knew I couldn’t be – the place means too much to me. This was a place where I felt truly supported. A place where I felt genuinely accepted. And – to top it off – I’d learned an amazing range of new skills that were going to set me on a new career path where I get paid for helping people feel better!
So – when the job of Assistant Tutor came up just a year later, I applied and hoped and prayed and interviewed and….
Well, here we are.
And of course,,, I should have guessed it… you might know what is coming… being a member of staff at BCMB feels… exactly the same!
BCMB are just as supportive, nurturing and accepting of new members of staff as their students. Not only were the first weekends treated as an ‘apprenticeship’ for me, not only did Andy give us training on being an Assistant Tutor, but also the lead tutors on my course have supported me at every step. I have been encouraged to push myself where I felt able and relax and be kind to myself when I felt something was going to be too challenging.
And it’s not just the staff – the students are the same. Emma Conlon got the job at the same time as me but started much quicker as she joined a course that had been running for 4 months. We talked about how tricky that might feel but she was teaching massage skills and up to her elbows in supervision groups before you could say ‘sternocleidomastoid’. Smiling, laughing and supporting everyone along the way. Everyone welcomed and accepted her in the same way that everyone is welcomed and accepted.
Because that is what BCMB is like. It is welcoming, it is accepting, it is nourishing. You can almost feel it in the air. Perhaps it’s coming down the stairs into the building – perhaps it is the welcoming cat at the door – perhaps it’s the memory of all those who’ve received massage in the building. Whatever it is you know that everyone feels it as soon as they come in the door.
Our new Worcester students are now into the second week of their professional Holistic Massage Diploma training. Cleo and Colette, our assistant tutors on the Worcester team, tell us how the group is progressing, developing and growing – appropriately enough for spring!
“Bubble and Squeak?” asked one of the students with a look of surprise. “No, Bubbling Spring” replied Sarah as she was explaining a meridian point on the sole of the foot whilst students were learning about foot massage on this second weekend into BCMB Worcester’s 2017 Professional Training Course. We can still hear the laughter this question brought ringing around the lovely space we teach in.
We can safely say we are in for a year full of fun and laughter with this lovely 2017 group of students. We have been really looking forward to this year as it is our second year of teaching together as a team. We have found our mojo of working together and have lots of fun which creates a great environment in which to learn and explore. Sarah, our lead tutor is so experienced; a fantastic mentor who we are lucky enough to assist on the teaching team.
Our first weekend in February is usually quite an anxious one for the students. We both remember this feeling when embarking on our own BCMB training courses. Everyone is feeling a bit unsure and have so many questions swirling around their heads, “Will I get on with other students? Will I be able to learn the anatomy and physiology? Will I have to tell everyone about myself?” It isn’t long though before they discover that everyone has their individual apprehensions and concerns and they are usually relieved when told that they don’t need to know each other’s stories. By lunchtime of the first day in the cafe (yes, we even have a fabulous cafe at the Fold in Bransford where we run the Worcester course) there is so much chatter and laughter as these students of mixed ages and backgrounds come together and get to know one another through their communal interest in massage.
This weekend in March was our second weekend together and everyone was so much more relaxed and connected. The students really enjoyed our supervision sessions where they get the opportunity to split into small groups, each group facilitated by one of us as tutors. In these small groups they have the opportunity to explore and share their successes, concerns and learn from one another’s experiences. This is a model that as a school, BCMB take forward throughout the course year and beyond into professional life as a massage therapist. We as tutors and assistant tutors all go to supervision to continue in our professional development, to share our experiences with peers and to talk through any difficulties and successes we have.
We look forward to observing and sharing in this year’s journey with 2017 Worcester BCMB group.
Cleo and Colette
Assistant Tutors BCMB Worcester
Cleo, Colette and Sarah all run private supervision groups for qualified practitioners in the Worcester area. To find out more, including when our Bristol tutors run sessions, visit our supervision group section on our CPD page.
By Sarah Cohen, Indian Head Massage Course Leader
Another group of excited students have just gained their Indian Head Massage Certificate and are taking it out into the world – well done all of you!
I love teaching head massage – it has such a unique character all of its own. I am constantly searching for the essence of what makes it so different – as different it is. It comes from such a long line of teaching and healing being part of Ayurvedic understanding which dates back over 4000 years. It is an intrinsic part of life in Indian culture with children massaging their parents, mothers their babies, friends their friends and even stockbrokers seeking their heads to be massaged before deciding to sell/buy!
At the start of each course there is curiosity and hesitancy from students who often come from a holistic massage background and want to know ‘What is this?’ I try to explain but the understanding only comes – and it always comes – after hands on experience of a day or so – and excitement, smiles arrive. And still it can’t be easily vocalised.
My desire for the world is that touch/massage become part of our daily life for everyone. There will still be a need for specialised therapeutic massage – as there is in Ayurvedic medicine – but for everyone to be comfortable and happily touching others in our daily life would help our society to be so much more healthy. Head massage is so well suited to this as it can take place anywhere at anytime without clothes needing to be removed or special equipment needed. Despite its apparent ‘smallness’ as a therapy I am constantly amazed at how it can be so much more deeply relaxing and profound than any other discipline – and it is fabulous to watch that surprise in those receiving who expected something pleasant and relaxing and find it is on another plane.
The course itself is also a joy as although there is much to be learnt and homework to be done the whole essence of the therapy is that it is relaxed, laid back and so is the course within the context of learning. Charlotte Rooney, recent Indian Head Massage graduate (and BCMB Office Manager!) said “I have loved this course! It has added so much to my practice, and I particularly enjoyed learning about the Ayurvedic side of head massage including all the gorgeous hair oils. I’d never thought if myself as an energy worker so it was intriguing to explore chakra work a bit more and realise how effective it can be even if it’s not your normal practice. It’s difficult to explain how it’s different from ‘normal’ head and face work or even seated massage but my clients certainly like it. Some of them now choose it in preference to holistic and in addition I see people who wouldn’t choose a table massage at all.”
If you want to join us in this exploration we have a course running at our Worcester centre starting 8th April and one in Bristol starting 2nd October – find out more including how to enroll.
BCMB has a thriving events team who go to all sorts of interesting events to provide massage to people on site and to showcase the great work we do. Hannah Newrick, current Worcester student reports back from our recent outing at MappFest
“The morning of Sunday 20th of June was blessedly bright and dry as we set up for Mappfest 2016. Now in its seventh year, Mappfest is an independent music festival held on Malvern Link common. It attracts over a thousand live music fans over two days who flock to hear bands performing on its three stages. Five BCMB students, two massage tables, a gazebo and folding chairs lent by Sarah Cohen for the purpose and yet more chairs borrowed from friends made up our massage stall where we were to spend the day offering massages to the public for a donation to Mappfest’s charities.
Five hundred metres from the main stage, with a good view of the bands performing, it wasn’t long before people began to wander over and take an interest as Collette, one of our course leaders, demonstrated some great techniques for seated massage. Clients sat in chairs, with a towel draped around their shoulders, and received a ten or fifteen minute massage for a donation of their choice. Most people happily dropped notes into our bucket. Several people opted for a massage on one of our tables, with requests for back, shoulder, leg and foot massage. Disposable couch roll, a stack of towels, a hand washing station and wet wipes maintained good hygiene.
Although best delivered with minimal talking once a massage is under way, the social and fun nature of the event meant chatting with talkative clients about their day felt appropriate. The feedback we got was excellent and many people were interested in our training and impressed by how in depth it is. It was a great event to support and fantastic to gain experience of massaging in a festival environment. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and we even got the gazebo packed away before the rain arrived!”