Meet Jerell Baines, one of the talented ICOHS graduates. Jerell tells us about his journey to self-healing and helping others.
ICOHS: What made you choose the holistic field of studies?
JB: In 2010, I moved to California from the East Coast and was working at one of the major healthcare organizations administering anesthesia. One day I got injured on the job while moving medical equipment and, as a result, lost 12 – 20% of strength and mobility in the left side of my body. The Western doctors suggested taking medication and were hesitant to perform surgery due to safety concerns. I was left with no options but to help myself. I created my own rehabilitation program that included exercises, changed my diet by adding more vegetables and practiced positive attitude on a daily basis.
As I adopted this holistic way of life and while I was out of a job, I decided to continue my education and was referred by a representative at the unemployment office to a few schools, including the former School of Healing Arts (SOHA), now the International College of Holistic Studies (ICOHS). I visited the school, love the environment, and enrolled in March of 2014.
ICOHS: What was it like for you attending the school?
JB: It was absolutely wonderful. The instructors were extremely knowledgeable and the staff was kind and supportive. It was truly a group of fabulous people.
ICOHS: How long did it take you to find a job after graduating?
JB: A couple of months. I had to take the MBLEx exam and become certified through the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) first. I received my CAMTC certification in early May 2016 and started at my current position a week later. The process was rather easy; I received a call from the ICOHS Career Center letting me know about an opening, I applied and got the job.
ICOHS: Tell us more about the Optimum Health Institute, where you currently work.
JB: The Optimum Health Institute (OHI) offers a holistic healing program to individuals with “health opportunities” (a positive way of referring to medical conditions and diseases) that promotes healing of the body, mind, and spirit. The program consists of three week-long sessions offering classes and activities to promote healing, which may include juice fasting, eating raw-live foods from the organic garden and green house on the premises, colon cleansing, meditation, inspirational ceremonies and, of course, massage therapy at the Massage Center at OHI. This is a place where the body-mind-spirit connection is constantly present.
ICOHS: What do you like the most about your job here?
JB: The peaceful environment, the wonderfully supportive staff and the fact that every client who walks through the doors of the Massage Center at OHI, whether it be a high profile celebrity or an average person, is treated equally.
ICOHS: What kind of services do you provide here?
JB: I specialize in lymphatic drainage. I learned the skill from my former teacher, John Economos, and gave it my personal style by adding a few of my own techniques. Lymphatic drainage provides a direct, light but yet powerful stimulation to the lymphatic system, and is especially beneficial to clients with lymphedema.
ICOHS: Would you recommend this employer to other graduates?
JB: Absolutely. I have recommended OHI to quite a few people already and will continue to do so in the future.
ICOHS: What are your future goals?
JB: I would like to establish my own Wellness Center one day to provide services such as hypnotherapy, sports massage and medical treatments as needed.
ICOHS: What advice would you give to ICOHS current and graduating students?
JB: First and foremost, listen to your teachers at the school and ask them what you really want to know. Do not be afraid to ask any questions because most likely your classmates have the same questions. ICOHS instructors have a wealth of knowledge and information; many of them have their own practices and are experts in this field. It is all of their knowledge that has gotten me to this point.
Equally important, I think, is to always have respect for your profession and to be ready to perform at all times. Be the best in your field and believe that you are the best. If you ever feel anxious and unsure, take three deep breaths and go for it. You can do it and there is nothing that can prevent you from being your best!