As Andrea Watson reflects on her time studying Bodywork Therapy and where it has taken her in the two years since her graduation, there is a common theme: gratitude.
“I feel really lucky. To not have stress in your work life is a big deal. I’m so grateful that I can go to work and not have a stressful day and not have to take work home.”
Prior to studying with the Full-time Bodywork Therapy Program at the Vancouver School of Healing Arts (VSOHA), Andrea was the Executive Director of an HIV/AIDS organization and also taught yoga. When asked how Bodywork and social work compare, she says there is some crossover in the spa from frontline work.
“Sometimes, my spa clients need a safe space to share what’s going on in their lives. We all have our struggles. I feel grateful to work on people who feel they can trust me.”
Although she found her work with the HIV/AIDS organization fulfilling, making the switch to Bodywork Therapy felt right.
“Going to school was the best choice I ever made,” says Andrea. “As soon as I started, I knew the philosophy of the school was exactly what I was looking for. I learned a lot about myself.”
Since graduating in June 2016, Andrea’s journey has taken her from the Chilcotin Mountains to Central America and back to beautiful BC. Immediately after graduation, she worked at a wellness resort. “I lived in a cabin on the lake and paddle boarded to work. I learned about wildcrafting from the woman who ran the spa. It was an awesome summer.” She also travelled to El Salvador where she exchanged hot stone massage tips with a local practitioner.
Today, Andrea works at Nita Lake Lodge and Scandinave Spa in Whistler, BC, where she practices Swedish, restorative, and deep tissue massage as well as hot stone massage. She enjoys the variety in her work and supplements it with private practice. “I like working at both spas, because I can practice so many treatment styles.”
She continues to wildcraft and seek out new modalities. She is particularly interested in fascia work and hydrotherapy, building on Marie Salton’s hydrotherapy teachings (part of the Spa Modalities curriculum at VSOHA). Working in a larger spa has also exposed her to new ideas and furthered her desire for continuing education.
“I don’t know if you could have a bad experience going to school and doing that work. It was a safe space. We were like a family, and I always looked forward to going. There are skills I learned in school that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
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