Spotlight: Mark Brook Bell, BCTMB
Please provide your full name, current location, and current job title.
My name is Mark Brook Bell. I currently work at Vienna Oaks Chiropractic Center in Vienna, VA.
Provide one fun fact about you.
I love tons of snow.
What are your hobbies?
Tae Kwon Do, Cycling, Basketball.
How did you discover the massage therapy profession?
I have 3 older brothers and 1 of them practiced his pressure points (from Judo) on me. I swore revenge, got a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and none of my brothers bother me now. However, in receiving pressure (on points on my body) I learned a very important concept—how and where to use pressure as well as how much pressure to use. This firmly established a fine line between too much or too little when working on soft tissue. As I (almost exclusively) provide Deep Tissue/Sports Massage, I do utilize percussion machines (Thumper and the Thumper Mini-Pro) so that I can get more accomplished during a session. Thumpers prep the dense/overused muscles that are then fine-tuned manually. I’ve been using Thumpers since 1992 as a result of having a 6’3” 290-370 lb. client who was more than 2 hands full.
What motivated you to pursue massage therapy as a career?
I proved, several times, that I could not work for anyone else.
How did you develop your passion?
I began doing massages during my Freshman year in college and I was quite popular during exam week. This period (without formal training) started in 1977 until 1991. I attended the Baltimore School of Massage in 1991-1992. In the fall of 1992 I finished my classes and took the 2nd National Certification Exam that was offered in that first year of certification. Being a procrastinator, I completed my last 3 exams and my final project in a 10 day period (ending 12/5/1995). For almost 10 years (01/01/1996 – 5/26/2005) I was in charge of the Men’s Massage at the Pentagon Officers’ Athletic Center. For 20 years I provided massage services at National Defense University (Ft. McNair in Washington, D.C.). In both jobs I was happy to give back to those who sacrificed to serve the United States and abroad. The pay wasn’t much but it helped me to complete a full work schedule when combined with my private clients. It also helped me to overcome the difficulty (for a man) to work full time and make a living at the same time in this industry. Though I have done work in 4 different health clubs, working with a chiropractor (who specializes as a sports physician) has proven to be the most beneficial. Over the years marketing people say to advertise, have a website, do health fairs, etc. None of those suggestions are worth 10 cents. Particularly being a man in the full-time massage industry, my work and my personal referrals are what built my business and keeps me fully employed since 1995 doing massage therapy, exclusively.
How has your massage career evolved?
In addition to the above statement, I am most excited in what I do because I have several very long-term clients who appreciate me and my work. My card, in the bottom right corner, says “Don’t wait ‘til you can’t move”. This usually gets people in to see me while they are injured. During the subsequent massage sessions, I try to get my clients to consider “how big the trophies are” and “how much money is involved” when the continually overdue their activities.
When did you first become NCBTMB Certified?
Why did you elect to become NCBTMB Certified?
Jeff Young, who was the MD Chapter President of the AMTA and a mentor, encouraged us to certify early, as this was the future of Massage Therapy.
Why have you maintained your NCBTMB Certification all these years?
National Certification is a required pathway to be licensed in VA.
How has NCBTMB elevated your career?
It showed the public that their safety and my abilities have been evaluated as proper.
What doors did it open for you?
Being self-employed, I don’t think it was ever the reason for any of my massage therapy positions.
What would you say to a fellow massage therapist contemplating Board Certification?
Any massage therapist, when establishing their practice, should become Board Certified. This will help with licensing, insurance, and the public’s assurance of their safety in your work.
How has your practice and/or employment been affected by COVID-19?
Clients did not come in for almost 3 full months.
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?
I finished my continuing education classes.
What would you suggest a fellow massage therapist do during this time to prepare for future success?
Yes, online Continuing Education, would help you clear your future time once your clients return.
To apply for Board Certification, click here.