01/05/2019 by Michael Fink, CMT
In the Beginning
Allow me to introduce myself and give you some background as to how I got into massage therapy / bodywork. In 2005 I had transferred to SFSU as a Junior, to study business management. Was taking International Business, Business Calculus, Business Management and Holistic Health Eastern Perspectives. About 6 weeks into the semester I realized business school did not resonate with me and that I was not going to make it through 2 years of business school.
After dropping a few classes I was left with calculus and Holistic Health. I decided on Holistic Health as a minor, and to explore other options for my major. The next semester I was taking The Psychophysiology of Healing, Intro to Chinese Medicine, Holistic Health and Human Nature, Thai Chi, and Ashtanga Yoga. I figured I’d dive into the hippy pool and see what happened. After three instances of different classmates mentioning a bodywork school, The Heartwood Institute in Garberville CA, I decided to look into it as an option. Being legally blind I knew that working with my sense of touch would be a huge advantage. The more I read about the school, the more I wanted to go. So, after finishing my second semester at SFSU, I scheduled and took a tour of Heartwood that summer, fell in love with the place and enrolled in their Holistic Health Practitioner program.
My year long residential program began in the summer of 2006 and was 1,025 hours, more than enough to work anywhere in the country. The school was set back in the mountains of Northern California, in Southern Humboldt County, about 20 miles outside Garberville. Being immersed in the massage culture was a big part of my success. The entire population of the school, at its peek, was only 90 people. My class had only 12 students and ended up graduating 9 by the end. That small group setting allowed for a great deal of one-on-one time with our instructors as well as with one another. I forged many lifelong friendships, learned a lot about myself, and cultivated the tools to continue learning the art of massage long after school was over. In 2007 I graduated from Heartwood and spent a month in Brazil visiting my Brazilian brother and sister, before moving to Oakland California to begin my career as a massage therapist. Over a decade later and I’m still loving what I do, learning how to do it better, and helping people feel better their bodies.