Two hands giving a hot stone massage with scales out to the left and right and up arrows

Massage Therapy School and Myasthenia Gravis

It took doctors 48 years to diagnose me with myasthenia gravis (MG). During this time, I had a lot of flares. They all looked a little different than what MG flares usually look like - except for the flare of 2005. It was bad enough that I qualified for disability and received it within 8 months of my application.

I was pretty much bedridden for 2 years. Even after experiencing the breathing, vision, chewing, and swallowing issues that go with MG, the diagnosis was still never considered.

Ticket to Work program

Fortunately, I starting to do somewhat better! All I wanted to do was get off of disability and have some sort of normal job. Let's face it, disability doesn't pay that well.

I got a hold of the local office for vocational rehabilitation services and made an appointment. I was very surprised that I qualified for benefits and I was able to use my Ticket to Work from disability. My doctor did have to sign off that he felt I was capable of attending school for what I had chosen.

Massage therapy classes

In August of 2007 I started school for massage therapy. It was a yearlong course - 4 days a week, 8 hours a day. My round trip drive to school every day took an hour. When I started school, I still needed my walker and sometimes I also needed my neck brace. I had some vision problems as well, but nothing severe enough to keep me from going.

I started off learning chair massage for about 4 months. I had to take our massage chairs to different events to practice. For the rest of the course, I learned different modalities of full-body massages. Sometimes I would give or receive 10 full-body massages a day!

When I was first learning, I had to practice with the other students from the class. We physically had to put in 1000 hours of massage to be able to graduate (mostly full-body massage).

How it affected me

Starting slowly, my body kinda got used to what was going on. I learned proper body mechanics to help so I wouldn't get tired. I drank a lot of water to keep my own body flushed out. If a massage is done correctly, the massage therapist should be just as relaxed as the person who received the massage!

At the end of the year when I graduated (with no MG medication because I was not yet diagnosed) I had gone into complete remission by July of 2008. I stayed in that remission until December 2019 when it decided to show that it was still there. But I finally got a diagnosis treatment.

What I learned in massage school

I learned about the benefits of massage for the body. There are many benefits of having your muscles relaxed from overuse or just being tired. Massage therapy can also:1

  • Improve mood, decrease stress and anxiety
  • Help with blood flow and circulation
  • Improve sleep

Getting back into it

My granddaughter is about 13 years old and is interested in possibly becoming a massage therapist. I like to encourage children, whether they continue or it's just a passing fancy. We brought out my massage chair and video of actually how to give a chair massage so I could send it all home with her to practice.

I haven't been feeling great today, but I gave my son a chair massage. By the end, I was fully refreshed just like when I graduated from school! I really need to get back into giving and receiving, regular massages.

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