Contact Patricia Babin

Ellijay, Georgia

Love Your Work

A Massage Student’s Story:

James is a massage student at Cohutta Healing Arts Institute, School of Massage. He is 26 years old and has already figured out something that many of us don’t learn until our later years – that by doing work we love, we can create a life we love.

So how did this young man become so wise at such an early age you ask. Well, at age 16, James left high school and earned his GED. James spent the next several years in dead end jobs where he realized that he was going nowhere fast. He tried community college but he realized that a 2 year degree would not give him enough specialized training for the life he wanted.

James has a love of animals. More specifically, he has a love of caring for animals. So he enrolled in a Vet Tech program in Metro Atlanta. However, the miles and hours of endless driving made him realize that he needed to find a program closer to home that would allow him to fulfill his desire to help others.. When his Grandfather saw a newspaper ad announcing that Cohutta Healing Arts Institute, School of Massage was offering a massage therapy certification program right here in Ellijay, GA, he encouraged James to call. James spoke with Jennifer Houle, Director of Education, to ask a few questions.

James learned that after becoming licensed, massage therapists are required to earn additional CE’s (Continuing Education) each year. An expert on the subject, Jennifer is an Approved Provider of Continuing Education for the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

James was particularly interested in knowing if a massage certification and his love of animals could be combined. Jennifer confirmed that in addition to the traditional types of CE’s, there are also courses available in administering massage for horses and other animals.DogMassage-WarmUp

Nearly four months into CHAI’s Massage Therapy Certification Program, James is constantly learning new skills and increasing his confidence while working with people in the Student Clinic. At this time, he’s not sure if he will work with animals once he graduates, or continue to focus on a human clientele. What he does know for sure is massage therapists have a variety of environments to choose from; such as: a day spa, chiropractic office, sports medicine, insurance based service, or a private practice.

James confessed that his biggest personal challenge has been teaching himself to be organized. And the biggest blessing has been getting help from all of the CHAI instructors. “I really get excited about learning new stuff! I can ask as many questions as I want, and have one-on-one time with all the instructors: Jennifer, Pat, Jill, Dorothy and Anna. They all take the time to help me figure out what I need to know. I’ve never been to a school where they take so much time with you.”

When asked if he would recommend massage therapy as a career to other twenty-somethings, his quick reply was “Yeah, definitely. If you get people started off younger, they can skip that whole part of doing jobs they don’t want to do…then be happy from then on.”

Are you thinking about becoming a massage therapist? What questions do have about how to get started? Send us your questions using the comment field below.


Whether you’re testing the waters to find out if massage therapy is a possible career path, or you’re fully committed to jumping right in, we want you to know why Cohutta Healing Arts Institute (CHAI) is the school for you. Massage therapy is more than just a career path. It’s a journey into healing and wholeness…for yourself and others. Contact us today to receive a student massage or register for classes.


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