LaToya Hill

Yasmine Regester | May 15th, 2019
LaToya Hill (Photos by Todd Youngblood)

LaToya Hill (Photos by Todd Youngblood)

Finding one’s niche can be hard. Sometimes you have to try out a few different things to get to where you want to be. That is how LaToya Hill looks at life. After a stint in law and real estate, LaToya found her passion in massage therapy.

Originally from Arapahoe, North Carolina, she is a certified paralegal with a degree from Central Piedmont Community College. She worked for a Charlotte law firm for four years, where she started off as a mail clerk, before working her way up. “I was good at it, but it really was not a passion of mine. I felt like I didn’t want to work in an office anymore,” she says.

LaToya also went to school for real estate and soon realized that wasn’t for her. So she went back to the drawing board. In order to generate an income, she continued to do some freelance legal contract work and offered her notary skills. She eventually took her current remote position as an administrative assistant for a telecommunications firm, but still felt like something was missing.

“It felt like I couldn’t find my niche. I felt I needed more. Not an office environment, but more interaction with other people. I was looking for something that didn’t feel like a job. Something I could do and still be a mom.” She shares that part of her initial interest in massage therapy stemmed from friends and family who always complimented her on ability to give a good massage with no formal training.

“People have always told me I was good at massages. And now I believe that it’s something that I am really good at,” she says, adding that she had been interested in massage therapy for a while.

LaToya states that her biggest challenge was paying for school, but one fateful day, she visited Southeastern Institute in Charlotte and toured the institution. After speaking with a counselor, she decided to take the plunge and enroll in the massage therapy program in July 2017. But working full-time, going to school and raising a child is no easy feat. LaToya shares how grateful she is for a young lady from her neighborhood that helped her with childcare for three nights a week, the entire 16 months she went to school. She worked her full-time job during the day and attended classes at night. She recalls times she would sit in the school parking lot, determined to complete assignments for work by 5 p.m., the same time her class started. “It was hard at times. But I appreciate my job being flexible and working with me. And I appreciate all the support I received from friends and family.”

The single mother says her biggest supporter — and sometimes assistant– is her 8 year-old daughter, Alanna Galloway. “Being a single mom, I’m away from home a lot, but I am so proud of how independent and responsible my daughter is. There have been trials and tribulations, but she and I have worked together and it all worked out.” After concluding her training, a nervous LaToya took her exit exam and passed with flying colors. She graduated October 2018 and was issued her massage therapy license 60 days later.

“Taking my test for my license was the most stressful day of my life,” she says. “But when I saw I passed, I was so happy.” This gave LaToya the last piece of the puzzle to official start Hill’n Hands Massage Therapy in December 2018. She shares that part of her social media strategy to attract clients is to share information about massage therapy and its benefits.

Hill’n Hands Massage Therapy is a mobile business that travels to the client. She is currently working on transitioning the name to Hill’n Hands Massage on the Move. When she’s not working on her own, she works part time at a chiropractic clinic in Charlotte.

LaToya offers a variety of massage techniques such as Swedish massages, deep tissue massages, and cupping therapy. She says providing education about massages and the muscles is an important part of her business model. She advises clients on daily stretches for optimal body performance and to hydrate with plenty of water to keep muscles flexible.

“Sports massage is my favorite because you are able to do so many different things with the muscles. I like to teach people about their bodies and how to get the most from their muscles when they care for them properly,” she says. “I love to share this knowledge with people because they learn so much more about their bodies that they didn’t know,” she says. Since starting her mobile business, she has been able to serve about 81 clients.
LaToya also touts massage therapy as an alternative to medicine method. “Someone can rehabilitate oneself without going through a surgery procedure or having to be on a ton of pain management medication,” she said. “There is less risk with massage therapy.”

LaToya shares that her aunt suffers from sciatica, in which severe pain is caused by a pinched nerve. Once she started giving her aunt massages to supplement the pain medication therapy, she says she witnessed significant improvement. LaToya says she understands that people may be skeptical about trying massage therapy as an alternative because most insurance companies do not cover it like medications or surgery. “I want to put more knowledge out there that massage therapy is something to consider.”

Through Hill’n Hands, she also seeks to educate people on the difference between the terms masseuse and massage therapist. Massage therapy is an alternative medicine for relaxation and muscle rehab, versus the term “masseuse” which can be associated with negative connotations or stereotypes. Most states, including North Carolina, requires massage therapy practitioners to graduate from an accredited massage program, pass a licensing exam, pay a licensing fee, and continually earn education units in order to maintain licensure. LaToya states, “There is a difference. So I try to educate people on what I provide and how I provide my services. I am a massage therapist. I take my craft very seriously.”

Though much of her clientele has been gained through social media, LaToya recently completed what she calls a “Massage Marathon” which is a two-day massage event where she schedules six new clients each day to each receive a 60 minute massage. The ultimate massage experience at Hill’n Hands also comes with the client’s choice of oil or an organic, handmade cream that she makes herself, as well as edible treats emblazoned with her signature logo. Hill’n Hands also travels to the client and has provided services in the cities of Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Raleigh-Durham, Greenville, New Bern and Morehead, North Carolina. LaToya hopes to have her own mobile unit in the near future in order to provide a custom, intimate, spa-like experience. Sometimes people can’t come out to a location, but may not have a household where they can truly relax and get the full benefits of a massage. And I want to always provide a relaxing experience,” she says.

LaToya also aspires to teach her own massage therapy classes to individuals interested in the field. She also believes that in sharing her story, she can inspire other young women to go after their dreams in life.

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