Alum Spotlight: Michelle Ditter
Not only did we graduate a wonderful bunch of Amma Therapy students on Friday, November 13th, we also had the chance to catch up with one of our alum, Michelle Ditter, who graduated from the program in Boise more than a decade ago. It was great to see Michelle and we were thrilled to have her speak to the graduating group. She shared lots of great insights and inspiration. Our students enjoyed hearing from her, as did we! We took the opportunity to capture a few more thoughts from Michelle to share on the blog. Read the Q&A below.
Q: You graduated from the program 11 years ago. What are some of your memories of studying and being an Amma Student?
Going thorough the Amma Therapy program was just as much of a personal journey as it was learning a medicine and a very specific skill set. One of the first things that struck me as I began the program was the concept of “Physician Heal Thyself.” This was an adventure and discovery of my own health as well as learning how to treat others and encourage their health and wellbeing. These can be challenging tasks, and I remember one particularly rare, gloomy moment, many case histories in, when I felt that no one seemed healthy and everyone seemed out of balance in some way, including myself, and I became very discouraged about our cultures health in general. I slowly began to realize how dynamic the concept of health is, how really we are always striving for health. It’s not something that happens and then we are healthy forever. It takes consistent efforts, and I was learning the skills to create lasting health in those who came to see me, and also within myself. These thoughts renewed my compassion and my inspiration to share knowledge of health and encourage wellbeing, and also showed me I have job security!
Q: What other modalities have you studied and practice?
Since I graduated, I have studied many other modalities including Swedish and Deep Tissue, Ayurvedic, and Thai Masssage. I studied Sivananda Yoga and became a certified yoga teacher. I worked in a high-end spa, I became a chiropractors’ assistant, and I spent 6 years at a healing collective in Eugene, Oregon. I shifted much more into the bodywork and yoga world. It was during this shift that I began to fuse my techniques. Part meridian work, part acupressure, part relaxation, part deep tissue, and a big part intuition. However, I will say that Amma Therapy comes through in every treatment I give. It is my foundational work and clients who are used to receiving typical massage recognize the deeper, multi level effects.
Q: Looking back on your education at The Wellspring School, what aspect(s) of the program had the most impact for you. What has been most valuable as you created and developed a practice of your own?
I have a better understanding now of what typical massage programs entail and I realize all the more what a special and unique program The Wellspring School offers. The variety and cohesiveness of topics taught really sets Amma Therapy practitioners and their skill sets apart. What impressed me and excited me most after graduating was the sense of possibility. The feeling that there were so many different paths I could continue on to specialize in if I chose to. Be it bodywork, or nutrition, or herbology, or all of them. The program was extremely well rounded and upon completion I felt like I had many gifts to offer. Through my years as a practitioner, I remain confident I am offering a very unique therapy to those who come to me versus the multitude of massage therapists out there.
Q: What is most rewarding as a practitioner?
It was really the spirit of service that drew me into this field, and that is what keeps me in it today. You know when you have a calling to make a change in this world, and this work has a profound impact on people’s lives and it has shaped my life in so many beautiful ways. I also believe in the ripple effect of creating positive change on a very personal level, and change in that one person can affect those around them. It really is working on a microcosmic level that affects the macrocosm. I recently came across a quote by Caroline Myss that stuck with me: She said:” If I have been given life, it is life I must serve with life.” And this describes this work so poignantly. It is a service which there is great need for. This is very potent work that really makes a difference in peoples’ quality of life. To encourage true health and well being is to nurture life, and I believe this work is very supported. From universal energetic support to financial abundance, I believe the more we give, the more we receive. On the majority of days I acknowledge that I absolutely love what I do, and I am so thankful I do this work.
Q: Tell us about the joys and challenges of working for an established clinic vs. creating and maintaining your own clinic.
Two years ago I created my own practice, called Flourish Massage Wellness and last year I collaborated with 3 other wonderful women and opened up a clinic called Golden Arts Healing Collective. So I not only doubled my work by starting my own practice, establishing and maintaining a business, but last year I feel like I tripled it by expanding into a collective!
It’s been a tremendous amount of work to operate independently and collaboratively, but the freedom, creativity and sense of accomplishment have made it well worth it. I’m still learning how to balance work and down time, as there is always something I could be doing for the business, but I’ve realized taking time off is vital to my health and the health of my practice. I greatly enjoy some of the perks of being a business owner, such as writing off trips to foreign lands to study and fulfill continuing education requirements. I will admit I sometimes miss not being responsible for the loads of washing and folding sheets that come along with a busy practice!