Spa Girl Wellness Podcast with Crystal Oldham
I know it has been a while since my last blog post (and I had so many topics I wanted to write about!) , I have been ever so busy (and honestly, lethargic) so I haven't devoted much time to the blog writing aspect of this website. So to keep you all updated and try something different, I am transcribing the recent podcast I was a guest on, Spa Girl Wellness, run by a massage colleague Crystal in Paragould, AR. You can listen to the full podcast at https://anchor.fm/crystal695/episodes/Special-guest-Kirby-Clark-e1o7ghl/a-a8jvevh OR https://open.spotify.com/episode/4DBPKbmuKsylZGkOVgvFbx?si=1AiCU5piR9iVwI4h3qOWTg
CO: Hello, and welcome to Spa Girl Wellness. We have a special guest today, Kirby. Hi, Kirby, welcome.
KC: Greetings, thank you Crystal.
CO: I'm so glad that you decided to come on. I appreciate that so much.
KC: Well, I'm honored that you would invite me into your Podcast space to do this.
CO: Yeah. So, do you want to just introduce yourself?
KC: Alright, so my name is Kirby Clark. I am a Master Massage Therapist, I've been a therapist in Arkansas for eight years. And I work at- providing Continuing Education courses across the entire state, I love to travel with my courses. And I work at Spa Botanica at Embassy Suites in Rogers, Arkansas as well as partial renting/sharing a room at White Lotus Salon & Massage in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
CO: Nice. So Kirby and I actually- you know, of course we are colleagues, so we are in a lot of the same Massage Therapy groups and things like that. And since Kirby is now approved and is doing classes- as I do, we kind of just got to chatting back and forth and became friends. And recently, Kirby did a class here at Lotus & Crow(Paragould, AR) for cupping. And I was thankful to finally was able to take that class, I had been trying for a couple of years to take a cupping class and it finally everything lined out with Kirby's pop-up class here- so I was grateful for that.
KC: Yes! Everything worked out for that class in it's anointed time, not in the appointed time we tried to give it. I know you tried to take that course earlier this year in May and that didn't work out for us. So I was very glad to throw together a class at Lotus & Crow, you were a gracious host.
CO: Thank you, thank you. Yeah, when I tried to take that class in May I actually had Covid and then my son got Covid! So it was just a big mess! But I'm glad it all worked out this way.
KC: The way it was meant to. I also really appreciated that you weren't able to make it and that you did the responsible thing to not attend the class while you were sick so that was greatly appreciated at the time.
CO: You're welcome. And also, I'd like to say this; for anyone who is looking for a class- I definitely highly recommend Kirby's class. Very professional and organized and Kirby is just the sweetest, greatest.
KC: That's very nice Crystal.
CO: So, about Cupping, is that like your specialty? Or is that your favorite? Do you even have a specialty? Tell me about that.
KC: Honestly, I don't do a ton of Cupping in my practice. The majority of the hours that I work with clients are at more of a Spa setting where the Spa sets the menu and they have their own services that they like to provide to their guests. So I actually don't have a ton of experience Cupping... other than, you know the education I have sought out. So I don't have a ton of practical specialty with Cupping. But, I could talk all day and night about Hot Stone Massage or anything that's the thermal dynamics of massage- hot or cold... mostly hot, but you know, each has their own space and time that they are necessary.
CO: Let me back up just a second; so how did you actually get into the wellness industry and massage therapy itself? What led you here?
KC: Well, Crystal, like most things in my life I like to point blame at my mother... growing up, she suffered with fibromyalgia and a few herniated discs in her back. So as far back as middle school I can remember I would come home and I would give her little amateur massages before bedtime. I also always wanted to be the kid in school that the teacher would call on to give them a shoulder rub while everyone else was still working on classwork. It was always something that was in the back of my mind to do and I eventually got into massage therapy.
CO: So where did you attend massage therapy school?
KC: I attended training at Blue Cliff College in Fayetteville, Arkansas and it was a 775 hour program. So it was above and beyond the minimum requirements to be licensed in Arkansas.
CO: That's great! You are actually working on a project that I am so very excited for. We have talked about it before, but tell everybody here a little bit about what you're doing there.
KC: I'm excited! I've been planning this for basically a year now and have been formulating how best to approach it. It's called "A History Of Massage Therapy In Arkansas", I hope that someday it will possibly be a book-
CO: It will be a book! I'm going to put that energy out there for you my friend because I am so excited and I know you will get it done.
KC: I hope so too. I just think - well the main thesis of this project is you know, in 1951, Arkansas became one of the first few states in the nation to regulate and license the massage therapy profession. In 2015, as most of us at least Arkansas massage therapists know, the independent state board in Arkansas was abolished. So the main question of this project is "how did it come to this? What exactly is the history from the 1950s to where we are now, the 2020s of the state of massage therapy in Arkansas. You know there is some information of the most recent era (C.2015-2020s), and more people you can talk to about the most recent past (1990s-2020s) that you can talk about but what information about massage therapy in Arkansas do we have from the 1950s or 60s?
CO: I don't know, but I'm very excited. Very excited about this book and the whole project. And I love that you're even posting about it on your social media... it it your facebook?
CO: So have you had a lot of people reach out to you to help with that to get you leads and stuff?
KC: I've had some people come to me with leads. I've also, just got back from Fort Smith teaching pre-licensed students and they even wanted to know how they could help out with the project. Most of it right now is me just reaching out to people- a lot of school owners especially those who have been in the profession for decades or at least the 90s. And trying to get their help, they've been happy to provide me with some leads, and it sounds like there might be some that are interested in being interviewed and recording some oral history. So I think that is also really important.
CO: Yeah, I know a couple of people you and i had discussed, I would eventually like to have them on this podcast as well.
KC: Yes, and well it's interesting to me you will hear you know as far as to why the Arkansas State Board was abolished, you hear many different rumors and stories. A lot of it sounds similar but depending on who you're talking to, there are inconsistencies... and another point that I'd like to make about this project is that I don't seek point fingers or place blame at any one individual, I just hope to seek out the truth, find out what really happened- and hopefully, uncover a history that I'm not even considering or aware of yet from before we lost our Board. I think about how we started regulating in 1951... that was even before we even had the Civil Rights Act- we were still in segregation during the 50s. So that's just such a long amount of time, but in some ways it's really not that long ago. And personally, I know virtually nothing about massage therapy in that time.
CO: Yeah, if I were you, like I said, I would definitely go down to Bathhouse Row (in Hot Springs, Arkansas) and be talking to them, because that is where a lot of them started, you know?
KC: Yes! That is a good place to start. I will also probably be reaching out to the Benefiels in Maumelle, Arkansas. I understand that they purchased that school from Ron Wallace, and I believe he bought it from Mary Farmer -if I remember correctly. And Mary owned the first massage therapy school in Arkansas (back when they were called Massage Techs) so I've got to try and trace all of that back down. And it's finding people who now, can give 2nd hand, 3rd hand accounts and testimonies of their experience or stories in oral history they can provide for me.
CO: Okay, well you definitely have a lot on your plate, you've got your hands full there! It's a lot of work but I know you can do it! It will be very interesting.
KC: Yes, and I'm excited about it so that always helps when you're excited about something.
CO: It does, it gives you that passion and drive to just keep going when you hit a wall or you're just tired. It helps.
KC: Yes, excitement and passion will carry you through. And that is another thing that I really like about massage therapists and traveling across the state, you meet so many passionate and genuinely skilled, dedicated massage therapists. At least that has been my experience. I just feels so blessed to be able to travel and meet so many different massage therapy communities.
CO: What all classes do you teach?
KC: Oh my goodness, there's a whole catalogue...
CO: I know you do the stones and the cupping, but what else can we look for?
KC: I have a couple of classes coming up. I'm in Cabot, Arkansas this weekend (Oct. 1 & 2) with my Special Populations bundle, that is 6 hours each in Prenatal, Chair, & Cupping. I'm really excited about this, in Hot Springs, Arkansas on Oct 29 & 30o, I have my debuting my first time teaching these courses; 3 hours in Law & Rules, 3 hours in Business, Resume, & Portfolio Work shopping, 6 hours in Foundations/Basic Massage review/overview, and 6 hours in Spa Hydrotherapy so Scrubs, Wraps, & Facial Massage.
CO: Nice! That portfolio one is so interesting, like I would like to take that one. Because being self employed, I never update or check on my resume. The other day I was like "I'm teaching classes, I need to look a little more legit and professional". So I went through facebook and started adding stuff that I do and then I was like "wow, okay do more than I think I do".
KC: Absolutely, if you don't' keep track of your inventory as a professional, its easy to forget things sometimes. And you're right as massage therapists we don't have a great practice of writing or updating our resumes or keeping track of our CE certificates- so I wanted to build a course that can help solve that issue and keep therapists organized and keep a space for some business brainstorming and networking.
CO: Yeah, and so you did a little clip video of your portfolio... I don't know if it was introducing it or whatever, but it was interesting so after I did that I was like "that's a really good class! That would be awesome for every therapist to take because-" I think it's really great class and I look forward to attending that class one day. Or maybe I could get you to come back here and do another class...
KC: I would be happy to. I had a great experience at Lotus & Crow earlier this month.
CO: I hope so, I want everyone to feel that way when they are here.
KC: I'm sure that they do. I can't imagine how they couldn't.
CO: I think that's about it, I think that's a wrap.
KC: That sounds good to me, Crystal.
CO: Thank you for showing up for my little podcast.
KC: No, I can't say this enough; thank you Crystal for inviting me and taking the time to do this with me. Again, I am so inspired with what you are doing with this Spa Girl Wellness podcast. I think it is really incredible that you are already out here doing this and I hope you are able to keep doing it. And I hope you get a lot of joy from it, at least as much joy as I get from it as a listener. I think it is really coo!
CO: Thank you, I appreciate that. And I do hope to continue doing it. I really enjoy it and I'm actually really passionate about it. I've always been passionate about wellness. But to be able to connect, talk, and also to help other's connect and spread the word about what other wellness practitioners are doing. I'm really passionate about it.
KC: I can tell and I think that's really incredible, Crystal. Because even like we had talked about earlier you know, I am not in competition with anybody else with wellness and we have to find a way to all get along and promote one another. Because what I can do, others can't do and what others can do, I can't provide so I'm always more than happy to recommend other therapists or courses and things like that.
CO: Yeah, there is more than enough business to go around. None of us should ever feel like we are competing with one another. Just have fun and meet other people.
CO: Alright, well Kirby thank you for being on Spa Girl Wellness.