Our Humble Beginning ~ by KC Miller
KC Miller, Founder/Director
Twenty years ago, during one of the lowest times of my life, I accepted an invitation to have my first massage. During that experience, I had a very clear vision. The story of that vision I will share with you another time, however, it lead to my enrolling in massage school. Very quickly, I built a busy massage practice, and began working almost full-time at the massage college from which I graduated. In August of 1992 I was offered a position as Director of the college. Instead of being overjoyed, I had mixed feelings. Based on the vision I had four years before, I always believed I would one day direct a college ... and yet ... something about this offer did not feel right. I tossed and turned all weekend. Finally, I just got up from bed and started listening to a set of tapes a friend had given me entitled When You Believe It, You will See It by Wayne Dyer.
I listened until dawn … and was more confused than ever. My husband finally confronted me, "for heaven sake, what do you really want?" "If I admit my heart's deepest truth," I said, "I always see myself owning my own school. But deep down I really never believe I will be able to make the dream, the vision come true." Then, my husband asked the question that changed my life forever. "What would it take to open your own school?" Without hesitation, I said, "it would take $3000!" Little did I realize how naïve that thought was; however, at the time it is what I believed. My husband unconditionally loaned me the money – and the rest is history. Of course there were bumps in the road, and there were countless times my checkbook would have gone into the red had it not been for the income from my massage practice paying the rent and the many vendors who were very, very understanding - taking LOTS of 'trade' for services.
Southwest Institute of Myotherapy (SWIM) opened September 15, 1992 with six students attending a 200 hour Massage Therapy program two nights a week. Every weekend we offered a new continuing education class. One class each weekend grew to two or three. We began to add programs one by one until we outgrew our facility on Scottsdale Road. As we decided to move to a larger location, we realized it was time to also change our name to better reflect the larger variety of classes and programs we offered. And, in 1998, SWIM became SWIHA – the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.
New SWIHA Location
After our move, we continued to grow to an all time high of 1000 students per week; everything was wonderful. Then, on the morning of September 11, 2001, the world changed for everyone … including SWIHA. Our student population dropped to below 400 students per week! It was a very scary time for us. Especially because we had just signed a lease to move SWIHA into a new location in Tempe, doubling our rent. My first thought was to cancel all our expansion plans, downsize, and just hope and pray we could make payroll. Once again, my husband met me on my knees. He said simply, "What do you believe?" I very clearly remember saying, "I believe God will take care of us … but He is going to need a little help! I can’t even begin to imagine where that help is going to come from." What happened next still brings tears to my eyes. My husband borrowed against his retirement fund, and mortgaged our house to infuse $100,000 into SWIHA. He also insisted we move forward with our plans to take a larger facility in Tempe … and that we continue to tithe, pray, and give God all the credit.
Dr. Brian Miller
My faith continues to grow, and I ask myself regularly "What do I believe?" SWIHA is living proof that we will see it when we believe it!