May 17, 2021 | Spotlight

Spotlight: Joan Knockel BCTMB, LMT

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

Joan Knockel, owner of Therapeutic Massage, LLC, in Asbury Square, Dubuque Iowa.  My toolbox comes with a certification in Neural Reset Therapy and Reflexology.

Provide one fun fact about you.

Recently, I joined the Experimental Aircraft Association, and I am a mentor on a youth home-build airplane project. Yes, we are building an airplane from a kit!

What are your hobbies?

Finding ways to venture outside of my comfort zone and find new activities that I haven’t done before.

How did you discover the massage therapy profession?  What motivated you to pursue massage therapy as a career?

My two previous careers were as an executive secretary at a brokerage firm and later as an administrative assistant at Catholic Charities.  Although I was very good at what I did, I knew I didn’t want to do it forever.  I loved how it felt to be able to get rid of someone’s headache and to massage their shoulders until I felt the muscles relax.  I remember thinking how much better I could become with some formal training.  I called the local college inquiring about a night class, and three months later I became enrolled in the first night class to graduate from Capri College, Dubuque, Iowa.

How did you develop your passion?

After earning my degree, I immediately started taking continuing education and never stopped.  Paul St. John’s Neuromuscular Therapy classes gave me a strong foundation in anatomy and confidence in palpating muscle origins and insertions.  I learned to work deep, not hard.   Continuing education highlights include studying Tuina (sports massage) for two weeks in Beijing at the Chinese Olympic Training center, a 6-day hands-on cadaver dissection at the University of Chicago, a 300-hr reflexology certification class, and learning Neural Reset Therapy from the developer, Lawrence Woods, and his instructor Ralph Stephens.  The more I learned, the more effective I became. The more effective I became, the more I loved my work!

How has your massage career evolved?

For a year and a half, I worked full time at my administrative job, and evenings and weekends giving massages at a health club and in clients’ homes.  Knowing that I couldn’t keep this schedule up forever, I had to pick one or the other.  The choice was easy–with massage, I was doing what I loved!  I dove right in, wrote a business plan, and rented my own office space with room to grow. Therapeutic Massage in Asbury Square opened with 2 massage rooms.  A few therapists have come and gone over the years, and I have expanded to 4 rooms. I currently have 2 massage therapists who have each been with me for over 14 years, and a chiropractor, they all contract through me.  Along with my regular clientele, I get referrals from doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists.

When did you first become NCBTMB Certified?


Why did you elect to become NCBTMB Certified?

I wanted to go above and beyond the minimum requirements to obtain and keep my Iowa state license.  I wanted to challenge myself to adhere to a higher standard.

Why have you maintained your NCBTMB Certification all these years?

Someday, I hope to semi-retire to a warmer climate, and I am hoping that my NCBTMB certification will be recognized when applying for that state’s license.  NCBTMB also offers another invaluable benefit to me–my business website.  They offer a low-cost platform where I can build my own website using templates I can choose from to customize my site.  Take a look:

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

My certification with the NCBTMB has offered me valuable resources over the years in marketing, continuing education, and currently supports my website.

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

Go the extra mile–earn it.  It shows professionalism and pride!

How has your practice and/or employment been affected by COVID-19?
In Iowa we were mandated to shut our doors for 2 months.  My motto of keeping it simple and having low overhead, allowed me to weather the shut down financially.  We are currently practicing and following strict COVID prevention policies. Over the years, we have built strong, trusting relationships with our regular clients, and most of them have returned.  Our professional conduct in all past interactions gives our clients confidence that we place their safety as our highest priority.

 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?
During our down time, I took quite a few online courses and tried to mitigate the stress by keeping busy.

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

This is absolutely a time to take online classes.  It keeps the mind busy, which leaves less time for external worries to occupy your thoughts and gives a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Find YouTubers that resonate with you and who can fill the gap about things you don’t currently know. There are a few great PTs and health and anatomy coaches who have some really good content on their channels.  Use this time to fill your toolbox and sharpen your skills!

To apply for Board Certification, click here.

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