If you talk to massage therapists, or those currently studying to be massage therapists, it is not uncommon to hear that they always knew they wanted to do bodywork or that as children, they were their family’s “unofficial” massage therapist.
Such is the case with Danielle Tiller Hurd, a domestic abuse survivor and licensed massage therapist who is committed to “paying it forward” by providing massage therapy to other victims of domestic violence.
In a recent interview in the Public Opinion section of USA Today, she discusses her painful past and explains how massage therapy school helped her move forward.
Hurd originally planned to open a women-only practice, but massage therapy school literally changed her life and returned her power to where it belonged—with her. “Massage therapy school helped immensely, because up until that point I hadn’t had a lot of physical touch in terms of safe physical touch,” she told the newspaper.
“I had to get through what we call ‘somatic emotional release’ to get to a place where I was letting go of the pain,” she continues. “I got to a place to where I felt like I had healed enough, and I was strong enough and felt confident enough to work on men and to help them heal as well.”
Like other therapists before her, Hurd started “training” as a teen, helping her father with his migraine headaches with what she now knows as trigger point therapy, working on the pressure points of his head, neck, and shoulders.
She finally enrolled in massage therapy school in 2013 after a licensed massage therapist made her promise to do so—because the amateur therapist had given the professional such a good shoulder massage.
“It kind of just went from there,” Hurd says in USA Today. “It grew into a lifelong passion. It’s a great field to be in. It’s not always easy, but it’s wonderful to see people leaving happy.”
She knows that you continue to learn even after graduation—especially about yourself as a professional.
“I’m still building confidence to be honest. This is a journey for me. Confidence in myself and my abilities. Confidence that no matter what happens, I’m going to be okay. I kind of have this attitude that there are angels looking out for me and no matter what life throws at you, that I’m going to be okay,” she says.
For now she is focused on providing massage therapy, craniosacral therapy, aroma therapy, and hydrotherapy services through her practice, Skyhawk Healing Arts, to those who can benefit—female or male.
“I hope to lay the path for others to be able to work with me and to follow in that pattern of giving back to the community. I would like to see a thriving community of healing practitioners supporting each other as well as the clients in the community.”