July 20, 2021 | Spotlight

Spotlight: Dorianne Conn BCTMB, LMT

Please provide your full name, current location, and current job title.

Dorianne Conn, Evanston, IL, Massage Therapist

Provide one fun fact about you.

I marched Baritone horn for four years in the Northwestern University Marching Band, without ever having played an instrument or read music. The first two years I mostly marched without playing. Fantastic experience. (Now my daughter marches with the University of Minnesota Band and was Drum Major for her high school Band. She’s also an Illinois licensed Massage Therapist, practicing professionally in Minneapolis.)

What are your hobbies?

I swim a mile three times a week. I knit scarves, hats and mittens. I square dance when there’s not a pandemic. I’m in several book groups. I have a hippo collection from childhood.

How did you discover the massage therapy profession?

I was traveling overseas and met a woman who was a massage therapist. I thought the training sounded like fun and would keep me busy while I figured out what to do with my life. Then, as I sat in class on the very first day, I understood, with a powerful feeling, that this would transform my life.

What motivated you to pursue massage therapy as a career?

I gained a lot from the students and staff at the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, and I was able to complete both the Massage and Shiatsu programs simultaneously. I did my internship at a chiropractic office which improved my ability to focus on specific areas and problem-solve. It was there I worked with pregnant women for the first time, which turned into a whole side career.

How has your massage career evolved?

I started offering labor massage which led to training as a labor doula and as an infant massage instructor, alongside my private practice. Ultimately, I attended over a hundred births supporting women and their partners through pregnancy, labor and beyond, and taught infant massage classes to about that many couples.


When I became a mom, I scaled back a lot, but practicing massage and shiatsu in a home office offered the flexibility and income I needed while raising small kids. When my youngest started kindergarten I picked up massage hours at the YMCA in town.


Both there and in my private practice I love the variety of people and situations I get to address — athletes, perinatal women, musicians, desk workers, adolescents, seniors. I love making them feel better, helping them understand their patterns, and hearing a little about their lives.

When did you first become NCBTMB Certified?

I became certified in November, 1993.

Why did you elect to become NCBTMB Certified?

People at my school enthused about this new national credential.

Why have you maintained your NCBTMB Certification all these years?

Once I had it, I never wanted to let it slip away from me.

How has NCBTMB Certification elevated your career?  What doors did it open for you?

Having the credential has legitimized me in the eyes of colleagues, practitioners who hold positions at the state and national level. Also, CEU requirements have led me to classes I may not have sought otherwise and some of those techniques influence, in small or big ways, every massage I do.

What would you say to a fellow massage therapist contemplating Board Certification?

I would say, “Go the extra mile to know you’ve met that higher standard. You may not feel confident until you’ve practiced for many years, and the extra credential provides a boost.”

How has your practice and/or employment been affected by COVID-19?

They stopped offering massage so they had to let me go though I know they’re still interested in reopening. I moved my home practice to my back yard for the summer (with masks) and loved it — birdsongs and breezes, Both clients and I felt a little safer with all that air to dilute whatever viruses might be around. I probably saw about a fifth of my usual private clients and added some new ones.

Since fall I’ve been practicing indoors (except for 10 weeks when our state faced a surge in cases) — my home practice is probably at about half-capacity, though I’ve been receiving more calls as clients have received vaccines. I invested in a powerful air purifier and some vinyl covers, and of course CDC-approved cleaning supplies.

 If you are not working or unable to work during the pandemic, what are you doing during this time to prepare yourself for future work?

With my extra time off I completed my CEUs and renewed my state license. My 20-year old son lives at home and he lucked out and got to receive all the practice massages I did to maintain my strength and skills. In addition to massage, I’ve been studying and preparing to do something more like Life Coaching that I can offer online.

What would you suggest a fellow massage therapist do during this time to prepare for future success?

I would advise someone earlier in their career to use time off to prepare for the Board exam and keep practicing massage as I did, on the people in their bubble.

To apply for Board Certification, click here.

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