Tammy grew up here in Randolph County in a community called Cedar Square. "It's just a crossroads really, but had everything I needed growing up. We still go to church there. It will always be home." She and Josh married in 1989, which is when she moved to the "big city"
(okay, it's actually a town) of Pleasant Garden. They have one son.
Graduate of Randleman High School in 1982
Graduate of NC State University in 1986, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree
Graduate of GTCC's Nursing Program in 1994, earning an ADN RN degree
Certification in Case Management
Certification in Integrative Reflexology
Graduate of Kneaded Energy School of Massage
5 years at Alexander Ralston, Speckhard & Speckhard Law Office
10 years at High Point Regional Hospital - Oncology, Respiratory, Medical Telemetry
11 years at Accordant Health Services - Rare Chronic Disease Management
February 2016, grand opening of "The Healing Hand"
So you went from graduating NC State and working in a law office to nursing? How in the world did that happen?
I always thought I wanted to go to law school and after I completed my undergraduate degree, I went to law school at Campbell University. I soon realized I was completely miserable and couldn't justify the financial investment into doing something for the rest of my life that I was not going to enjoy. After the first of 3 years of a law degree, I left law school and went to work in a local law office assisting a former judge in her private law practice. A few years into that job was when one of the lawyers in the office took on a medical malpractice class action case. In reading those depositions and typing up briefs for their cases, I started thinking maybe I should go to nursing school and combine that with law somehow. After my first semester of nursing school, however, I was hooked. I realized that working with patients at the bedside was so fulfilling, I never looked back to anything else.
Have alternative and complementary therapies always interested you?
Before I was a nurse, I'd helped care for my mother at home when she was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. She had a very advanced cancer when she was diagnosed. She lived less than a year. There weren't many treatments for her type of cancer at that time, so all we could do was keep her comfortable. In looking back, I believe this may have been my first realization of the therapeutic qualities of alternative and complementary therapies. Mother always loved music and that distraction would give her some pain relief--at least for a little while. I'd rub her back, comb her hair, hold her hand and these things comforted her in ways medications could not. In retrospect, I know this experience had a profound impact on my future career choices.
Your first nursing experience was at High Point Regional Hospital?
Yes, they had a new nurse orientation program and offered an opening in the Oncology Unit. I felt like Oncology was going to be my niche based on my experience with my mother. They hired me right out of nursing school. I grew to love the unit, the nurses and all the staff with whomI worked. I especially loved the patients. Patients often had adverse reactions to many of the medications given for symptom relief and I soon realized that distraction was often the best medicine. We used guided imagery, music, rubbing their hand or their back. Patients often had more of a positive response to simple human touch than to many of the other medications and treatments that the physicians would order. Simply holding the hand of a patient or humming quietly while they fell asleep was often the best "medicine".
Is your nursing experience what got you interested in Massage Therapy and Reflexology?
I did not really know anything about Reflexology during my years at the hospital, but having seen firsthand the positive response of human touch, I started reading more about massage and the various modalities of massage. Reflexology was one of those modalities. I worked 3-11pm for several years. Most evenings, I had the privilege of working with a nursing assistant who had many more years' experience in the hospital than I. I always said that if Rozella hadn't been my nursing assistant, I probably never would have survived those "green years" right out of nursing school. I saw Rozella and other nursing assistants on our unit giving our patients a backrub each night before bedtime. That was something our Director of Nurses encouraged staff to do, because she understood the importance of human touch. I saw patients respond far more positively to a 10-minute backrub than to any amount of pain pills I could give them. Then, the next night, patients would often say "are you going to give me a backrub again like you did last night? I've been thinking all day about how good that felt and how much better I slept last night". And that was just 10 minutes!
I loved working at the bedside. Life changes, however, and when our son started Kindergarten back in 2004, I knew working 3-11pm would leave me no time to see him after school. Therefore, I took a job working from home. I was working for a company that hired nurses to assist patients in management of their rare chronic diseases. I would call them and make sure they were getting and taking their medications that their physician had prescribed; I made certain they had the medical equipment they needed and/or the resources they needed to obtain that equipment. Among the many patients I helped with their disease management, those patients who were telling me success stories regarding use of alternative and complementary therapies were the patients I seemed to be drawn to the most. Massage and Reflexology were words I began to hear more and more from patients. I was personally getting regular massages and knew how great they made me feel, despite the fact that I did not have a chronic disease like my patients. My sister told me about going to a Reflexologist and how WONDERFUL it was. Then a massage therapist friend, who is also a nurse, started telling me about Massage and Reflexology and all the benefits of both. I decided this was something about which I wanted to learn more. I began reading everything I could find in books and online. I practiced on friends and family. I saw firsthand how relaxing Massage and Reflexology could be and the many benefits of them both. I decided to finally meet the educational requirements and actually become certified so that I could start my own reflexology practice. I went on to complete my licensure requirements for Massage Therapy and became a licensed massage therapist in 2016.
That is easy. I've been going regularly to an Archdale massage therapist, Joan Rotramel, for at least 10 years. She has a room in her office building that she had previously rented to another massage therapist. After that massage therapist moved out of state, Joan never rented the space to anyone else. One day, I went in for my monthly massage, I asked her if she wanted to rent me that space for a Reflexology Practice. She immediately said "yes".
Leap Year Day--Monday, February 29, 2016 was Opening Day!