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Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

By Dar Mikula

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”  – From “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Suess

One of the many blessings of my job is that I get to reach out to graduates and find outdar how they are doing once they’ve graduated.  In my recent cycle of calls, my attention was drawn to the diversity of paths each one of us is on, even though we all share the same qualification as “licensed massage therapists”.  In talking with graduates of our October 2014 massage program, I learned the stories of two fascinating women, both of whom share the same name and both graduates of the same program. Here is the story of the variance and intrigue of the two directions they went in after completing their training here.

Protection for the Bodyworker

by Ariela Grodner

Ariela Grodner


Protecting oneself from taking on the symptoms of dis-ease that a client exhibits is a consistent and recurring issue for practitioners across the entire spectrum of massage modalities. How does one cultivate the necessary empathy and awareness to consciously address whatever the physical issue is, without making themselves vulnerable to the very symptoms they are trying to treat?

It’s a common issue for many students of the healing arts, and one that is generally indicative of a practitioner’s underlying empathic abilities, as well as one that almost everyone determined to explore this path will have to address at some point. How do we open enough to another individual’s experience, to be able to correctly diagnose the source of their particular issue, without also opening ourselves to the risk of taking on the symptoms of that issue?

Curiosity and Passion

Reflexology training certificationby Karen Ball

I’m sure you’ve heard this before: Follow your passion.

Well, I have to admit that I don’t buy into that statement. My passion is not “out there” to be followed like some puppy chasing a ball.

My passion is inside me. And it’s something that developed from following my curiosity. I wasn’t born with the many passions that propel me through my day; they matured by my paying attention to what interested me and then checking those interests out.

But it wasn’t always that way for me.

Process or Technique?

by Frank Merillatfrank staff photo

I just finished assisting in the latest version of Deane Juhan’s Resistance/Release approach. Deane has been coming regularly to our school and offering this course for approximately five years now and I enjoy how I keep learning, going deeper in the work, and am thus able to offer this to my clients.

During this last class a participant asked if they could have a handout on hand placement and the order of the moves involved in this technique. This question caught my attention.

Words of Wisdom


unnamed-3The Florida School of Massage instructors, team, and alumni have some words of wisdom they’d like to share. Some come from their favorite author and others from mom but all are shared from their heart to yours. 

“Get out of your own way, and love yourself and watch.”

– Frank Merillat




“The Only Obstacle is Yourself”

Success Story Featuring Susie Vought, LMT

by Dar Mikula

Often the seed for attending massage school gets planted years before a student actually makes it to our door. Take the case of Susie Vought, a 2012 graduate who said she kept putting off her desire to come to school here until finally getting overwhelmed with retail life. She didn’t have a plan, but she did have a sense of responsibility to herself. susie1

“In general in my life, I’ve found that when I take responsibility for myself and my actions and what I’m doing, then I tend to move forward more easily,” Vought said. “I become more confident in my power to change, and it then becomes about me making decisions for my life, and not other people dictating what’s happening to me.”

Recognizing this, Vought quit her job after 10 years at Earth Pets and started a cleaning company so she could set her own work hours around prioritizing school. The ground leading to massage school continued to magically blossom when the Florida School of Massage started to shop around for a “green” cleaning company and Vought’s “Squeaky Green” company won the bid.  

Running on Empty

by Karen Ball

KarenIf you ever questioned the effects of stress on your day-to-day life, read on.

If ignored, the chronic thoughts, situation and/or behavior patterns may lead to the following sequence of events, resulting in “running on empty”.

(And I’m not referring to that great Jackson Browne song!)

Follow the succession of events:

1. You think about something stressful: work, money, relationships, family, whatever’s occupying a lot of your mental real estate.

Jump Into Spring With Nourished Skin

christinaBy Christina Polnyj

Spring is bursting here in North Central Florida and it is almost impossible to stay indoors.  It’s time to visit the springs and enjoy our beloved outdoors.  The ocean is becoming more inviting everyday.  As we jump into spring and the great outdoors it is time to remember our skin, our largest organ.  It protects and connects us to the outside world and is composed of cell layers, nerves and glands.  It always makes me pause when I think everything we put on the outside of our body goes inside our body.

Put “Renewed” Into Your Continuing Education Renewal!

By Frank Merillat

frank staff photoI just completed my license renewal last week. It was relatively painless and easy. All was done online. First I went to and entered my user name and password. I had established this free account option awhile ago. Once in my account, I confirmed that all of my continuing education requirements were complete. I knew that I couldn’t renew until all my CE requirements were met.  I noticed that my account even had a little graph that showed the percentage of completion and then below were listed all the classes that had been recorded for my license number.

Graduate Uses FSM Foundation as Core of Peacebuilding Practice

best qualityGraduate Success Stories series, we chose this month to talk with Philip Hellmich, author of God and Conflict: A Search for Peace in a Time of Crisis (Published 2012, Spirit of Peace Press, Petaluma, CA,  Philip, known better to his Summer 1990 FSM classmates as “Phil-Bob”, said it was “coincidence” that brought him to the massage school 23 years ago. Philip goes into great detail about his exploration of peace, including his time at FSM, in his book God and Conflict.

Coming off of four years working with the Peace Corps in the Sierra Leone bush in West Africa, Philip said,

“I was trying to come to terms with the materialism and consumerism I encountered when I got back, and the impact it has on the world.  I was confused and upset.”