My name is Chalei Vannatta and I am one of the massage therapists here at Oahu Spine and Rehab!
Frequently, our patients here at OSR will ask me, ‘What made you want to become a massage therapist?”.
Rewind to younger Chalei. At 15, I was attending Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy. The Youth Challenge is a military based boarding school sponsored by the National Guard here on Oahu. The academy was created to help at risk youth and troubled teens ages 15-18 in Hawaii. The program includes living on the school campus for 6 months whilst having absolutely no contact with anyone outside the school.
The last two months at the Youth Challenge Academy are geared towards preparing you for the “real world” and to join the work force. To graduate, you had to be enlisted in the military, enrolled and accepted into college, or have a job secured. You could not graduate without having a concrete future set in place.
At the time, I did not attempt to enroll in college because I was planning on going into the military. On final day of college tours, my superior informed me that there was an opening to attend the college tour at Remington College. Another classmate that was attending the tour with me was interested in Remington’s Massage Therapy program, although being a Massage Therapist had never crossed my mind. Our tour guide from Remington gave us an overview of what the massage therapist program was all about. The program had a flexible schedule and he explained that your first month in the massage therapy program is a trial period, so that if massage wasn’t the career for you, you were able to look in other areas of the college. BOOM I was sold!
At the time, I was only 16 and to be active duty in the military you must be 18. Since I wasn’t legally old enough to enlist, I decided I would attend massage therapy school and pursue a military career afterwards. Much to my dismay, I ended up falling in love with massage therapy. In my classes I began to really enjoy learning about the human anatomy and how all the functions of the muscle work. I had never realized how intricate our muscular system is and how all our muscles work together and are connected. One concept that really stuck with me was that 9/10 times a patient is complaining of pain in a certain area, the pain is stemming from somewhere else.
We learned about all different styles of massage such as Thai, deep tissue, lomi lomi, shiatsu, traditional Chinese medicine, reflexology, hot stone, Cupping and trigger point massage like you have probably received here at OSR! I loved that in massage therapy there is always something new to learn and there were no limits to what issues a massage therapist could help.
Hawaiian Massage therapy also showed me that it was possible for me to really truly help people in pain. After I realized that I significantly reduced the pain in chronic pain patients, I was hooked. Her pain had decreased after our session and she was so grateful for me helping her. It made my heart so happy to know that I could help someone who had been in so much pain and agony for so long with just one massage session. When I first started massage therapy school, I thought that massages were just for special occasions and spa treatments, but what most people don’t realize is that massage have tons of benefits. From pain relief to stress relief, massage therapy can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Working at Oahu Spine & Rehab in Kailua, I have gotten the chance to help patients recovering from surgery, patients with chronic illnesses and chronic pain, to athletes and more. Massage therapy is more than a hobby or a job to me now, it’s a passion.
Here at Oahu Spine & Rehab we offer an array of services to help you live your life without aches and pains.