A good massage can often help relieve symptoms such as stress, headaches, poor circulation and other specific ailments; the treasured, hands-on experts that are massage therapists have the power of touch at their fingertips, helping countless people mend their pains and promote positive health practices.
Massage therapists, who are lifelong learners and continue their education for certifications, have an edge over their contemporaries. It’s important to enhance a professional portfolio and develop the customer experience by being open-minded, especially through credentialed providers amidst industry changes.
But most approved providers of continuing education don’t hold their conferences and expos in Michigan, despite the work done in areas like Lansing. Luckily, Bilky Joda-Miller has massage therapists covered statewide.
“I want Lansing to have the ability to draw people here to provide classes and get us on the national map where massage therapy is concerned,” Joda-Miller, founder and president of the Mid-Michigan Massage Therapy Institute (MMMTI), said. “We have a good massage therapy program in Michigan and a very good one at Lansing Community College, and we should be recognized for the work we do here.”
MMMTI’s goals are to provide professional massage therapy services, teach to local professionals and share information about the many ways that massage can benefit the community. As president, Joda-Miller is dedicated to giving massage therapists a bounty of tools and resources through MMMTI, which are otherwise scarce.
While her roots are in Nigeria, Joda-Miller is no stranger to the Great Lakes State; she attended Western Michigan University for her bachelor’s degree, married soon after and moved to the capital city. But her career took something of a detour once her own health bubbled to the surface.
“My inspiration to pursue this career plan was what massage [therapy] gave me, when nothing else helped. In 1990, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and, after treatment, I continued to experience a lot of pain,” said Joda-Miller. “My doctor recommended I try massages; I did and within a couple of months … I was off all my pain medication.”
That inspiration moved Joda-Miller to continue her own education, and she has also earned an associate’s degree in massage therapy from Lansing Community College. In 2011, Joda-Miller opened the doors of All Body Kneads, a Lansing-based massage therapy center that delivers a rejuvenating experience for all to enjoy; MMMTI soon followed.
Joda-Miller is the driving force of MMMTI, but not the only component. Bee Queener is the treasurer of MMMTI, an in-house practitioner for the nonprofit and enjoys her own business in the same building: Bee Queener Massage Therapy. A professional since 2009, she has witnessed the benefits of consistent treatment among members of the community who need help living in the slow lane when it comes to taking care of their health.
“We can help people feel better, and then they can do better,” said Queener. “We often get to this point where we get busier and busier — then we check out,” said Queener. “If we can get people on the table and make them feel better about their bodies … we can make magic happen.”
While licensed therapists can continue their education at the nonprofit, community members can also schedule private or group classes that bring people closer together. For example, residents can schedule a class around how to give their baby a massage, or learn more about their significant other through couple-based sessions.
“Our intention is to let people know … their ability to receive help with pain and other conditions is not limited by their ability to pay,” said Joda-Miller. “As we become better known … we will have information at doctors’ offices, hospitals and community locations. Hopefully, we will be able to form partnerships with local hospitals or health entities.”
Community members and professionals alike can find the resources they need to minimize pain, alleviate aches and take control of their health at MMMTI. For more information, visit michiganmassage.org.