Humans of Parkland: Lynette Forbis
Lynette Forbis, originally from Mahomet, lives in a small town called Bondville. She practices and teaches massage therapy in Champaign.
“I am an LMT, which is a licensed massage therapist, and at Parkland College I am part-time faculty in the massage therapy program,” she said. “I’ve worked there officially for a year now and it has been wonderful.”
Forbis started her career as an LMT at Parkland as a student.
“The massage program—that was a dream come true,” she said.
The massage program is not where she started, though. She began by studying kinesiology.
“I started off as a student [at] Parkland College in the kinesiology program,” she said. “[I] wanted to further something into muscles and anatomy and I didn’t want to work in retail or in the bars or anything anymore, so I decided to go into athletic training.”
Athletic training proved to take her away from home too much so she decided to start the massage program.
“I wanted a position where I was at home more often and made my own schedule,” she said. “So I decided I wanted to go into massage because it hit the anatomy that I enjoyed so much but also it was a year program that I could finish and start my own business right away…”
“Where else can you go to school for a year, turn around, get certified, and make $60 an hour.”
Less than a year after graduating, she started her business, A Tension Muscle Therapy.
“I started it basically when I finished my schooling at Parkland and took my state test to get licensed. It was a couple years ago.”
She did not go looking to teach massage, and says the transition into teaching has taken some getting used to.
“I’m not a student anymore and that was a really hard transition for me because I love being a student. I love learning new things. I love taking classes.”
She found herself drawn in though by former director from the massage program Tamala Everett.
“I got a call from my director my first year out of school,” Forbis said. “She wanted me to come in and speak to the students and give a presentation on how I started my business…Then she asked me to come in another time and…demonstrate some different modalities that I had used.”
After she had demonstrated modalities, which are different types of massage, she got a call from Everette asking if she would like to teach an anatomy class with the massage program.
“Then, one day I just received a phone call,” she said. “Of course I accepted because it was an amazing opportunity.”
One reason the opportunity was so nice for her is because teaching is something that has always been a part of her life.
“I come from a long line of teachers. My dad was a teacher; my grandfather was a principal; my grandmother was a teacher. I come from a long line of teachers and I was really excited and accepted.”
She herself has also been a teacher most of her life, if not officially, as a corporate trainer and in management in her past jobs.
“I think I’ve always been a teacher, even before I was officially a teacher,” she said.
The first Parkland class she taught was a special massage-centered anatomy class.
“It is a massage based anatomy class. So, it’s not going to be like the anatomy physiology class. It’s more based on insertion and origin of muscles and the directions they flow through the body and then also their actions…I taught pathology in the spring. The pathology was also specific to massage.”
She continued teaching in the summer, teaching a short class about the business side of being an LMT.
“I taught business over the summer,” she said. “That’s a four-week class, super-fast paced, really nice.”
She is also working on creating a class of her own to become an elective in the massage program.
“Then, there’s the class that I am trying to create which will be a strength and stretching class. [It] will help our future therapists learn how to help their clients beyond massage and beyond the table. So, if they are constantly coming in with a muscle that’s seizing up all the time or tensing up on them, they can teach them different stretches to do morning or evening.”
One thing she enjoys about the massage program is how small it is.
“The nice thing is you’re with the same students all the time so you really get a family going and everybody helps everybody,” she said. “I’m getting ready to see my first set of students graduate from the program and it’s really sad to see them go because I feel like we just started, but it’s wonderful at the same time to watch them go out on their own.”
Outside of her professional life, she enjoys spending time with her family.
“I am a mother—a wife and a mother,” she said. “I have two kids. My son is actually getting ready to go to Parkland College, so that’s exciting. I have a two-year-old as well.”
She also trains in two types of martial arts.
“[I] train in Brazilian Ju-jitsu and Jeet Kune Do,” she said. “It’s Bruce Lee’s form of fighting…It’s twice a week. It helps relax me.”
She has been training for years, with a small break in training when her daughter was born.
“I started in 2012 actually, so five years [ago],” she said. “I’m a blue belt in Brazilian Ju-jitsu and I can’t remember [what] I am in JKD…It’s white belt, then blue, purple, brown and black. So there aren’t a whole lot of belts. It takes years to move from belt to belt.”
Forbis says she loves teaching massage at Parkland.
“I don’t think I would want to teach anything else.”