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Mar 21, 2024

Ontario Grad Emilio Rivera Reminds Us That It’s Never Too Late to Change

NHI Ontario Graduate, Emilio Rivera

NHI Ontario Graduate, Emilio Rivera

Emilio Rivera is a graduate of the Core Massage Therapy and Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy programs at NHI Ontario. Emilio’s story is a testament to the reality that it’s never too late to change.

Read how Emilio went from homelessness to happiness, having work he loves in his story below.

Addiction, Homelessness, Bad Decisions and a Toxic Relationship

My name is Emilio, I was born and raised Montebello, which is a few miles away from East L.A. I started my massage therapist journey back in 2001. I was fresh out of high school trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I had an uncle that was a sports massage therapist for an NFL team. He told me what he did, and it sounded pretty awesome. He hung out with athletes, traveled everywhere and he was making good money. A couple months later, I enrolled at Bryman College.

I went to Bryman for about 2 weeks. We were studying the history of massage. It was interesting to me because I thought massage was just for relaxation but there was so much more to it. Even though I liked what I was learning, I dropped out. I was young and figured that I could go back to school whenever I wanted to. I was wrong. The next 20 years were a challenge for me. Addiction, homelessness, bad decisions and a toxic relationship, led me into a downward spiral.

Even More Hopeless and Stressed

I managed to get myself clean and left the toxic relationship behind in 2005. The next year, things started moving fast, I met my future wife had our first baby and found a place together all within that year. Needless to say, I needed a job, so I applied at a payday advance company doing collections. I left that job after a couple years and started working in the collections/foreclosure/ bankruptcy departments for a mortgage company. I thought I found a new career; I was great at collecting. But this is where my mental health started to decline.

For the next 10 years I was at a job that paid well but took a toll on my emotional and mental state. During this time, I would regularly tell my wife that wanted to go back to school for massage therapy. She would encourage me to enroll but I was getting paid good and had great benefits. I was comfortable even though I was unhappy. But in 2022, my company started laying off people by the thousands and I started to feel even more hopeless and stressed.

Encouraged Me to do it and Recommended NHI

My wife bought me an hour session for a Swedish massage. I went to my appointment and had a conversation with my massage therapist. I started asking questions about her career and how she liked it, etc. I let her know that I always wanted to go back to school for it. She encouraged me to do it and she recommended NHI. This encounter was in July of 2022. I decided to muster up the courage, enrolled in September and started in October. I chose NHI because of the curriculum that was offered. I was interested in energy work as well as deep tissue and Swedish massage.

On my first day of school, I was confused! There were no chairs or tables, only the floor. I thought it was weird, but it all made sense afterwards. The instructors had great energy and you could feel the passion when they would teach. The students were the most amazing group of people that I’ve met. We came from all walks of life and all ages were welcoming. It was understood that we all had a common goal and that we were going to make sure that we all got there together.

I Learned so Much About Massage and Myself

Emotional release was a common occurrence and I believe it was due to the closeness and openness that was developed during the course of the year. At NHI I learned so much about massage, energy transfer, trigger point theory but most importantly, I learned about myself.

NHI literally changed my life and possibly saved it, I will forever be grateful to this institution.

I learned that I was actually smarter than what I was told as a child, I learned new ways to handle trauma. I learned how to be vulnerable. I became confident in my body. I became acquainted with my spiritual side. I became happy. It’s funny how I avoided going back to school for so long, but now that I graduated from NHI, I never want to leave.

It’s Never Too Late to Change

Emilio Rivera and his family

Emilio Rivera and his family

What I love most about my career is that I am my own boss. I get to literally touch people’s lives and make them feel better. They are always so grateful when you’re able to relieve their tissue issues.

It never gets boring because there are a lot different techniques and modalities that can be learned and applied. This opens a lot of different avenues for you to work. The people that I’ve met in this field have been amazing. Everyone wants to help each other succeed. If a client wants a modality that I may not specialize in, I can refer them to a fellow graduate who does.

If you managed to get to the bottom of my story, please learn from me. It’s never too late to change. Chase that dream of yours. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.

It is OK to start over. Don’t underestimate the power of YOU. It’s never too late and you’ll never be too old to evolve into the person you know you’re supposed to be. When you start working towards your calling, people that have that same calling will gravitate to you, the doors will start to open, the universe will tell you YES.

Take This as a Sign to Make That Change in Your Life

We only have one life, do what makes you happy. Surround yourself with likeminded individuals and those that want you to succeed, they will be your foundation. Some days will be hard and you may feel like a failure, but that is ok because it’s temporary; that sense of accomplishment, is forever. Take this as a sign to make that change in your life. Because you deserve it. Make it happen.

National Holistic Institute truly is a great school. The instructors are passionate about their craft and really do want their students to succeed. Come to one of their events and speak to the faculty and students and see their faces light up when you ask how their massage journey went or is going.

I promise 3 things when you go to NHI:

  1. You will meet great people!
  2. You will become a better version of yourself!
  3. You’ll love the work that you do!

Connect with Emilio by visiting his website, and read about more amazing alumni.

Get the details on how to pursue a career in massage therapy and neuromuscular therapy with National Holistic Institute. Complete this form to connect with an admissions representative today.