Today we’d like to introduce you to Bernadette Mitchell.
Hi Bernadette, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I found that I had a gift working with the elderly, people who have been injured or have other health disparities. This began from providing massage to my mother and grandmother who had a number of health issues. At one point, they were both in the same nursing home – my mother on the 3rd floor and my grandmother on the 2nd floor and I spent a lot of time there.
My mother had lupus and was in such great pain. There were many days I would massage her ever so gently. She said I should do this for a living and because of her religious belief, she said I was “laying hands on her.” I would always remark, why would I want to do that since I was a legal assistant/paralegal for many years.
Grandma Mary and I had a bond that no other family member shared. We had the power of touch. After having a number of strokes, diabetes, amputation of both legs above the knee, Grandma Mary could no longer speak as she used to. I would visit them both every week and would massage and comb their hair. Grandma Mary did not have much to say, but she would ask me “rub her feet.” With no knowledge of “phantom leg pain,” I would rub her legs and extend down to where her feet should be. She told me she felt really good and would sometimes fall asleep. While I thought it was strange at first, I would ask her every time I visited if she wanted me to rub her feet. While I was not raised by my mother or grandmother, I thought I did not have a connection until the day she died. I realized at that time that I would not be able to “rub” her head, legs, or feet anymore. The one connection I learned we did have was the power of touch and that bond was now broken.
After a major layoff at my firm, while I did not get laid off – I realized that I needed a Plan B. I enrolled in the Baltimore School of Massage in Linthicum, Maryland, and worked diligently to learn and achieve the highest honors. From that journey, I received great benefit that my Plan B became Plan A!
I furthered my education and graduated with honors from Ashford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary and Alternative Health. In our current society, people desire more than pharmaceuticals. My craft as a massage therapist helps to provide that care and comfort emotionally, mentally, and physically. In addition, I provide spiritual care and serve as a wedding officiant and ordained minister through the Universal Life Church Ministries. Finally, I have been a notary public for more than 20 years.
While I provide traditional massage and bodywork services, I specialize in orthopedic/medical massage for pain and dysfunction. Prior to the pandemic, I provided care and treatment at Future Care Lochearn, Manor Care Health Services-Woodbridge Valley, Augsburg Lutheran Home & Village. Finally, I am also credentialed to provide care and treatment referred by medical providers and insurance companies.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The road to entrepreneurship has had some struggles along the way to include maintaining my health, the death of my grandmother, mother and other family members. However, my faith has not deterred me in any way to include Covid-19 which was the biggest obstacle I have faced to date. Prior to our state being shut down, I was really busy. The weather reports in Baltimore were calling for snow and I was looking forward to a snow day or two to recharge my batteries. What did we all get instead – Covid-19 where the world was shut down for three months! So, I made lemonade. I relaxed, did some self-care techniques, some online marketing and looked for ways to sustain my business like any other business owner. Like other companies, I applied for all the resources that were available and waited patiently for the results – good or bad. Finally, we were given the green light to reopen with guidelines on the additional PPE supplies that was needed to reopen.
Just in time, all of the resources were received – and the journey began to reopen. I reopened my business in June 2020. I lost some regular clients and staff members who were skeptical about returning to work. Stress, fear and pain brought in new clients and now that people have been vaccinated and local restrictions have been reduced – the old clients have returned. Current challenge – getting additional staff.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about BES Natural Solutions?
I am a State of Maryland licensed massage therapist. I started providing relaxation massage. What happened? Everyone that laid on my table had some type of health problem. This catapulted me to seek additional training for pain management, which became my brand. In addition to this form of care and treatment, I am known for manual lymphatic drainage. With this modality, I provide care and treatment to men and women that received some form of cosmetic surgery. MLD and orthopedic massage treatments set me apart from other therapists. This is my niche in this industry and is a craft where I excel.
It took some time to establish my brand. I am proud of the colors that represent me, my logo, website and most importantly the services and products that I handcraft and use in my treatments. My clients are pleased with the work that I do and their word of much recommendations have been my best benefit for my business.
I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and have my own business. I have worked diligently to achieve this with self-discipline, a lot of sacrifices, emotional maturity, empathy and faith. I stepped out on faith in 2009 by leaving a full-time job as a paralegal with a great salary and benefits to fulfill my lifelong dream. My brand is based on a head to toe approach to life – it is all of the big and the small parts of who I am – nurturing the body, mind and spirit.
What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I can see my industry being established as “health-care” in the next 5 to 10 years as is considered in other states. In today’s society, massage is considered for relaxation only. Massage is healthcare 100% with not only therapeutic – but medical benefits! A BIG shift would be if insurance companies would cover massage – not as a discount program but for the medical benefits provides. What would be a great change?? The AMA recognizing and acknowledging massage and massage therapists as healthcare and healthcare workers.
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