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18 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j a n u a r y / f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 5 "Every Thursday, I give massage to people undergoing chemotherapy at Oregon Health & Science University— Center for Health & Healing." — CINDY GELLINGER, OREGON TELL ME … ❱❱❱ GIVING IS RECEIVING The bodywork profession is full of caring people—it's hard to make it very far in this career without having a certain amount of compassion. "A large part of why I changed careers to massage was so I could possess a skill that I could use to give back," says Kimberly Nielsen of Florida. This empathetic spirit is the fi rst step toward getting involved in volunteering. Even if you aren't inherently drawn to volunteer your time, however, the personal benefi ts alone can still be reason enough to become involved. Self-care is often thought of as taking care of your body, but the mental aspects of self-care can be just as important. Practitioners need to meet their own emotional needs fi rst, so that they have enough left to provide clients with a safe, relaxing, and accepting environment. Volunteering your time to help better other people's lives is an incredibly effective way to increase your own happiness; a 2013 review of volunteering-related studies found that "volunteering had favorable effects on depression, life satisfaction, [and] well-being." 1 Of course, it's also important to determine whether it might be too much for you to take on another commitment in your life—and that's perfectly OK, too! Christine Baker of Ohio demonstrates such self-awareness: "I have to save my energy for my clients, or there wouldn't be enough of me to go around. Kudos to those who do volunteer!" If you'd still like to give back, but don't have free time to commit to a cause, Kathleen Dougherty of Arizona has another idea: "I did plenty of volunteering in my fi rst fi ve years. Now, after 18 years in practice, I am so busy I usually donate cash to charities." The Personal and Professional Rewards of Volunteering By Abram Herman ABMP Social Media and Marketing Coordinator | "My absolute favorite volunteer event is Dream Night at the Zoo, which is for the caregivers of children with disabilities or those living with terminal illness. The looks on their faces while getting 15-minute massages make it worth the visit to the zoo spa every June." — BRENT JACKSON, SOUTH CAROLINA "I provide weekly chair massage at the Ronald McDonald House in Aurora, Colorado. I love the families there. It reminds me that my health problems are minimal compared to heart transplants and cancer." — SUSAN COYLE CLINGMAN, COLORADO ABMP MEMBERS Log in to to see a list of volunteer opportunities across the country. ❱❱❱

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