Like so many other students that end up at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Steven Jaggers also found his way here through a need to find a holistic solution to an afflictive situation. Although he was originally born in Orange County, California, he spent the majority of his childhood in Arizona with parents who struggled with heavy drug addiction. After graduating high school, he entered corporate America, joining a microchip company. “I knew then that I wanted to help people because for me, it was more fulfilling than just turning a profit.” Almost like a consequence, he got laid off and his mother desperately needed help, so he moved in to take care of her. She was having difficulty with prescription drug abuse, and he knew there had to be another option to help treat her: “We needed a different way to deal with her underlying illness, rather than the ‘Western medicine approach’, which is to just mask symptoms. I began to search for holistic ways to treat her and the pills’ side effects which created even more problems. I knew there had to be another path. I really felt like we had been tormented by Western medicine." However, Steven had his own difficulties when he was diagnosed with scoliosis, and at one point, his doctor told him that we was going to need spinal surgery. He felt strong resistance to this treatment, as he did not feel surgery was the best option for him. Well, he was right. Today, his spine is healthy, and with the treatment of massage and soft tissue manipulation, most of which he experienced through his program at SWIHA, he was able to get out of pain and avoid surgery.
When Steven began to notice his growing interest in body work, he decided to meet with an Admissions Coach at SWIHA; he ended up enrolling in the Professional Massage program, and upon graduation, he had earned an AOS Degree in Holistic Health Care, with a concentration in Massage Therapy. The knowledge he gained during these two-years, was a perfect addition to his passion for martial arts, which he had practiced since he was a child: “Martial arts and the healing arts are on the same frequency, but the magic is in the intention and how you choose to express the movement of energy.” Both effectively taught Steven about the human body’s energy system, and how the manipulation of energy flow is an effective form of treatment and healing. This inspired him to take Polarity Therapy and Cranial Unwinding classes within his program. He went on to complete his Associate Polarity Practitioner (APP) specialty and also received his Certificate of Excellence in Cranial Unwinding. He recalls the first year of school being about his own personal transformation, and the second year, his focus was geared more towards how to apply his knowledge to future clients. He shared, “SWIHA taught me how to show up and cultivate a therapeutic relationship with myself first, and then others.”
He went on to describe what he gained by choosing SWIHA for his educational journey: “I have become aligned with my life purpose by helping myself first, so that, in return, I can help others. My experience with an empowering education in massage, energy therapy, and life coaching taught me how to offer the support people need to treat their own stress, which is a number one killer. How do you rid the pressure? You have to express the excess pressure! There is a profound level of intelligence in the body, and by blending all of the modalities I learned, I can offer a type of support to my clients that help them heal themselves, and this is priceless knowledge.” In talking, we discussed how a physical illness or ailment that shows up in the body is directly paralleled to a mental or emotional issue. Steven said it best with his own experience with his spine. “Scoliosis is an unnatural curvature of the spine, or rather, it’s out of alignment. I was out of alignment with my highest self and care. Once I attuned my awareness in my own holistic care and added the physical support of massage [for the spine], I began to heal. Learning that was key to my healing. Once I changed the parts of my life that were unsupported and unaligned, my spine, which supports the body, transformed and became straighter. You can apply this reasoning with any dis-ease of the mind, body, or spirit. This is true holistic medicine.”
Steven isn’t done with SWIHA quite yet. He wants to become a Registered Polarity Practitioner (RPP) and complete the entire MasterLife Coaching program. He is also considering the medical field and completing a BA in Biology. To present and future students, as well as graduates, this is Steven’s insight: “Do the work yourself, and you will be able to help others that much more. Practice what you preach, and your work will also be that much more potent and applicable. Life will unfold when you show up authentically.” He says to take the time after your program to sit with the information learned. “You absorb so much in school, that often graduates need time to fully integrate. Again, this just makes you that much more of a quality practitioner.”
Steven works at Figa Health Care in Ahwatukee, has private clients, and volunteers at SWCNM, doing cranial unwinding (Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine). Most of his clients are in need of injury rehabilitation, like athletes, ranging from UFC fighters to martial artists and football players, while others are healing from car accidents or other forms of physical trauma. The most rewarding part of his work is teaching, and then witnessing, his clients care for themselves in a holistic way. This allows him to remain passionate about his work, show up every day in his authentic way, and think about what more he can do in the future to support himself and the well-being of others.
In closing, one more valuable insight:
“A lot of holistic practitioners are looking for one modality to specialize in, yet that goes against the very nature of holistic [treating the body as a whole: mind ~ body ~ spirit]. I believe that the best practitioners are generalists with focus, intellect, and experience in multiple modalities.”