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Wellness, balance, healing…..all popular buzz words that sound enticing and are easy get started with the latest craze, but how do we really achieve amidst the reality of our fast-paced world? Here we’ll bring you insight into how find wellbeing and peace for body, mind, and spirit.

From Nurse to Massage Therapist: Q&A with Jennifer Dress

June 12, 2018

Hello! My name is Jennifer Dress and I have lived in Howard County since 1969. I was a Registered Nurse for 23 years, but then I decided to make a career change and have been working as a Licensed Massage Therapist for the past six years. I’ve been working at The Still Point at Haven on the Lake for nine months and truly enjoy the restful environment we offer to our clients.

Q: Why did you choose a career in massage therapy?

After spending two decades as a nurse in a career that was pathology-oriented and focused on improving the symptoms, I decided to focus my education on a “wellness-oriented approach” with a focus on looking for the cause.

As a registered nurse, I would see patients receive prescriptions by physicians to treat a symptom, such as a steroid for joint pain or a relaxant for a muscle pull. In my practice, the approach involves looking at the whole picture by asking questions about the client’s type of work, activity level, recent injuries, etc. I look at how they walk, assess opposing muscles that may be affected and other areas to determine how things may be connected. Then I can tell the client what approach I’d like to take and why. This helps the client take part in the treatment and know what to expect.  

Q: What’s your approach to treatment?

I take a therapeutic approach to massage therapy. I problem solve using clinical reasoning, looking at the why…whether the problem is stress-related, impacted by posture, or due to possible overuse in a sport or hobby. I also look at the where…what muscles appear to be overburdened, and where are the symptoms affecting the client.

I see all types of clients, from those simply seeking relaxation to those suffering from depression, headaches, or pain.

One of my clients was in an automobile accident and was being treated by her chiropractor for whiplash. I could see that she had limited rotation of her head and neck in one direction and several areas of muscle tension. I decided to apply various modalities, including medical massage, myofascial release, and swedish massage. After the first treatment, she returned two weeks later and said she felt 100% back to normal. I worked on some lingering tension she had in the following weeks and continued to see improvement. She has been a regular client ever since!

Q: What aspect of your healing work do you incorporate in your daily life?

I receive monthly massage, just like many of my clients! I also eat nutritious meals, drink lots of water, and exercise daily. I spend my free time Rock Climbing with my husband and children. I love to trail run and enter in trail races every few months year-round. My motto is to never stop moving!

Q: How has your life changed personally since becoming a massage therapist?

Nursing, though rewarding, was fast-paced, very stressful, and demanding. Massage, on the other hand, is rewarding and relaxing.

The positive feedback I get daily from my clients encourages me to keep on doing what I do. It has also taught me the importance of personal touch with my family, friends, and even new acquaintances I may talk to in the community. Most importantly, it has taught me to take care of myself. Massage is a powerful tool that enables me to give the gift of touch.

Book with Jennifer at our Haven on the Lake Columbia location today

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