Where can you work as a Massage Therapist?

Before choosing to become a massage therapist, I volunteered in variety of settings for working health professionals. I quickly saw that, of the health careers I was interested in, the one that offered me the most variety and the most freedom was massage therapy.

Since then, I (and many of our graduates) have worked in an incredible variety of contexts. Here is just some of the possibilities. It’s up to you to choose!


• On private sailing trips

• On cruise ships

• With professional sports teams

• With touring musicians

• In Chiropractors offices

• In hospitals

• In PT clinics

• In health clubs

• In salons

• In day spas

• In international retreat centers

• At bed and breakfasts

• In one’s own office

• In a shared office

• In a holistic center / group practice

11.01.Kayciaback• In a home-based practice

• In a massage center

• In nursing home

• In hospice

• With a chair massage company

• With an acupuncturist

• With a counselor

• With a dance troupe

• With a theater company

• With a celebrity

• With an orthopedist

• With a podiatrist

• With an osteopath

• In a dental spa

• In a local or destination resort


How exciting is it that massage is a career that inhabits the best of both worlds – medical and holistic. Because massage therapy is not just for disease treatment; it is also a health-amplifying therapy. It is ideal for stress and so, in this stressful world, everyone is a potential client!

Because there are so many choices of work contexts, you can find the one that works best for you – not just fit yourself into a pigeon-hole or, God forbid, a cubicle!

I can honestly say after 40 years in this profession that every day I feel good about my work! I am very grateful to my teachers, to our students, to the employers, and to the clients who enjoy the benefits of this wonderful health therapy.

upcoming 500 hour Program schedules.

Grad Chronicle: Kim Noll

Kim photo cmykby Kim Noll

Like almost yesterday I remember my childhood in Ohio as a dedicated gymnast. Practice, practice, and more practice as if each day were a new challenge. At the age of 10, I knew what it was to be persistent with my focus, diet, sleep, exercise, rest, and play. Balance was the key that enhanced my body, mind and spirit. Unfortunately, my physical health got beaten down with a case of bursitis (inflamed bunions) in both feet. I retired at the age of 17, knowing that I had already accomplished something so great in my life. It was time for college but my great-grandmother had been motivating me to look into Massage Therapy school. Nanan said, “I can see the future…Massage Therapy is going to be big…you will do great!” So in 2000, I jumped into my camaro Z28-LT1 with all my stuff and drove to my second home- Austin, Texas.

It was in the beautiful city of Austin that I found, The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School. I immediately felt like I was where I needed to be! “Take your shoes off at the door, we are going to stretch our bodies before we do the anatomy lesson today, then we will mold clay into muscles & attach them to our mini Mr. Bone skeletons”,said the teacher. That got my attention! I graduated from the 1st semester (300 hr) program, past the Texas exam, and opened my part time massage therapy practice at 12th Street Massage Therapy. I set my own hours, rates, and shared the space with other TLC graduates. I then attended the 2nd semester and 3rd semester (graduate program). This 750 hr advanced level of education was the stepping stone into a full time career as a licensed massage therapist in not just Texas, but Ohio.

Moving my license to Ohio was a challenging quest in the beginning. But with persistence, I was able to transfer all my work (750 hrs from Texas) to the Ohio where I then passed the State Medical Board exam.I started to work in a clinical setting at a local Chiropractic office. From the patients, I was told time and again that my techniques on the table were amazingly good from their previous experiences from massage therapists in the area. I knew that by integrating Deep Massage-the Lauterstein method, sports massage, and Sho-Shin Shiatsu that I was able to connect deeply with the needs of most people that were experiencing pain or discomfort. I had confidence in my work because I had confidence in my education at The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School!

inspira wellness 2014 (59)In 2012, I took a big step toward building my business practice. Inspira Wellness, LLC was created out of love for humankind. I was ready to make a difference in a big way!

Located on a busy State Route in a very small town Inspira Wellness, LLC advertises, “Specializing in Advanced Structural and Integrative Bodywork, MediCupping Therapy, and Functional Fitness-Personal Training.”

I use important tools in my practice such as Young Living therapeutic-grade essential oil, and Kangen Ionized water to provide as retail to help my clientele live a higher quality of life outside of the treatment room. Public speaking and educational classes are helping Inspira Wellness, LLC build a coalition of health care professionals in the region. I gently balance my marketing of the business with the art of Massage Therapy. For myself balance still remains key while owning a successful business. I make time to celebrate my successes each day. I have a happy family life, practice yoga, and enjoy a long bicycle ride out into the scenic country side near my home. At the young age of 35, I feel as if I’m still that dedicated gymnast, Medical Gymnast that is!


Meet Our Teachers: Jason Hammond

Jason Hammond_smallThe teachers at The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School have skill, experience, and a true passion for Massage Therapy. Let’s take a moment to get to know one of the 500 hour program instructors.

Q&A with Jason Hammond

Q: When did you start your career in Massage Therapy?

A: I began working in 2008 at a massage franchise in North Austin.


Q: Why did you decide to become a Massage Therapist?

A: I was enrolled in acupuncture school and felt that massage therapy would be helpful to me as an acupuncturist. I wanted to improve my knowledge of anatomy and palpation. Even more than that, I really wasn’t very comfortable touching other people. Touching, or palpation, is an important part of the Chinese Medicine examination. We take the pulse, examine injured areas and feel to accurately locate the acupuncture points.

I thought that I would only do massage therapy for a year or two. My plan was to do massage until I got my acupuncture license and then switch over. Once I started working, I fell in love with doing massage! Now I get to use both massage and acupuncture to help my clients. I combine the two approaches and switch back and forth depending on the situation. I love the flexibility that the combination of approaches offers me to help my clients.


Q: What training and experience do you have in Massage Therapy?

A: I graduated from the licensing program at Lauterstein-Conway in 2007. I later returned to learn more in the Advanced Clinical Training program. I attended AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine from 2006-2010. At AOMA I learned Tui Na, or Chinese Medical Massage and earned a Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree. I am excited to continue learning, and I am currently studying Zero Balancing and working towards becoming a Certified Zero Balancing Practitioner. I worked in massage franchises for seven years, and have just recently shifted into private practice.


Q: What was your favorite aspect of Massage School?

A: Definitely getting to receive massage on a regular basis! It was such a transformative experience to receive massage so often and feel the benefits directly. I really gained an appreciation of the power of massage therapy from being on the table.


Q: Do you have a favorite modality? If so, what is it?

A: Right now I am pretty fascinated with Zero Balancing! The work seems so subtle, almost deceptively simple, but the results are profound. So many clients get off the table and say something like, “That was awesome! What did you do?” It’s pretty rewarding to see clients have that kind of experience.


Q: What is your approach to Massage Therapy?

A: Meet the client where they are. I always want my goal to come from the client. I ask them, “How can I help you today?” I try to understand what they want to get out the session and then exceed their expectations.


Q: What is your favorite color?

A: Green- I love it when everything starts growing again in March! The color of brand new leaves sprouting is amazing!


Q: What is your favorite food?

A: Barbeque. Of course, I mean Texas Barbeque. I once moved away from Texas for five months, but immediately realized my mistake when I was unable to get a proper plate of Barbeque. Really.


Q: What kind of movies do you like?

A: I love science fiction. Anything with aliens and spaceships, I’m hooked. Big budgets and lots of special effects!


Q: Why do you think Massage Therapy is important?

A: Touch is so powerful, and yet we live in a world that is starved of it. Such a simple thing, but so powerful. Clients come in for an hour, and then they leave feeling better. I wish everyone could manage to get regular massage therapy!

upcoming 500 hour Program schedules.


Your body is composed of layers. Each one has a relatively soft, connective tissue associated with it. Generally called “fascia”, these connective tissue layers act somewhat like a series of living saran wrappings around all the tissues in the body.

The layers overall are:

  • The skin with its associated superficial fascia
  • The organs and muscles with deeper fascia around and within them
  • The joints, connected by the fascial ligaments
  • The bones with a fascial skin on them called the periosteum

Healthy movement requires that all these layers move in a coordinated fashion with each other. If the superficial muscles move, but the deeper don’t, that sows the seeds for too much tension becoming chronic in the deeper muscles. If the muscles are freely moving, but the bones and joints aren’t, that may sow the seeds for ligament damage, resulting muscle spasm, and ultimately osteoarthritis.

Therefore, a massage therapist, to fully help clients, needs to facilitate freedom within and between all of these layers. If even one layer is under-addressed, then the body’s health, balance and movement will be compromised. Ultimately this imbalance can begin to affect organ function and can lead to disease.
The superficial layers of the muscles and fascia just under the skin are well addressed by Swedish massage, hydrotherapy and various spa therapies that concentrate on the body’s surface.

The middle layers respond to Deep Massage: Lauterstein Method (which combines structural and energetically integrative work) and other therapies that systematically free and organize the muscles and the fascia that lie nearer our body’s core.

In the deepest structural layer are the bone and joints. These are best freed through Zero Balancing or other therapies that systematically facilitate balance and healthy function at that level. Ultimately I will say with deep massage we eventually feel that we are releasing the bones and joints as well as the associated deep soft tissues.
A good case can be made for systematic balance in the body needing to be created from inside out.

Finally there yet another “layer” that we are communicating with as we help balance these various structures. That is the nervous system, particularly the brain and the more widely distributed intelligence including the whole body that can be considered as the “mind” within the body. This nervous system is conjoined by the endocrine as well – giving us both an electrical and chemical source for deep organization of function and structure.

In Deep Massage and Zero Balancing we recognize that this neuro-endocrine mind, the intelligence embodied in each part and layer of us, is most accessible through a systematic touch that honors in turn each of the body’s layers. This awareness – that every touch to some extent affects many layers of mind as well as body – makes this a very special and exciting modality to practice.

When we have a good idea how to touch mind as well as body, then we can usefully integrate concepts from Asian medicine that have long recognized the unity of these two – often using “energy” as a synonym for mind.

With Deep Massage and Zero Balancing we want to balance the fascial layers and facilitate coordinated movement through enhanced proprioception and awareness, through overall a balance between and within our structure and energy. This is in some sense the Holy Grail of bodywork – because when we release only one part or aspect of the self, we have in effect created only a new kind of imbalance. The word and fact of health derives from the word and the experience of mind and body’s unity and harmonious function.

Therefore, the study of Deep Massage and Zero Balancing is ultimately at the very core of what we need to know to fully help our clients integrate their structure and energy.

Learn more at the Deep Massage 1 workshop with Keith Vencill on July 10-12. CLICK HERE to register today!

Meet Our Teachers: Gretchen Cole


The teachers at The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School have skill, experience, and a true passion for Massage Therapy. Let’s take a moment to get to know one of the 500 hour program instructors.

Q&A with Gretchen Cole

Q: When did you start your career in Massage Therapy?

A: I started at TLC in 1994, after having taken extension classes in a numerous alternative healing therapies including massage, in Seattle, WA.

Q: Why did you decide to become a Massage Therapist? 

A: I took the training because I was interested in feeling good, and in the information. I was intrigued with using the body itself as a ‘lens’ to understand healing. It wasn’t until classmates of mine in what was then the advanced training semester started talking about their wages that I thought “Why don’t I charge for what I’m doing, and earn a living that way, too?” So, I began taking private clients and taking jobs at massage establishments.

Q: What training and experience do you have in Massage Therapy? 

A: 550 hours of basic training from TLC, along with twenty years of continual private practice. Of course, I have taken myriad continuing education trainings through the years and have been introduced to Lymphatic Drainage, Reflexology, various orthopedic approaches, Zero Balancing, Zen Shiatsu, essential oil preparation and application, Cranio-Sacral work, Polarity therapy, Rosen technique, psych-K work, Ayurvedic massage, working with Bach Flower essences, and chakra work utilizing rocks and crystals. Current favorites to include in my working sessions are reflexology and the raindrop technique, b/c they both assist healing in so many different situations and on several different levels.

Q: What was your favorite aspect of Massage School? 

A: The magic wrought when you begin to trust yourself to listen, inside your own body.

Do you have a favorite modality? If so, what is it?

A: I’m a mixologist by nature – I enjoy drawing on ALL my experiences to see what might fit the totality of a client’s needs best, and mix and match these into the session. That’s really satisfying to me – I feel it’s kind of like fine art painting: even if you return to the same subject a different day, no two canvases will come out alike.

What is your approach to Massage Therapy?  

A: The Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm.” This has come to extend in many different directions as I’ve changed and matured through the years, learning about myself and learning about others. I feel it’s the right way to approach bodywork and humans.

What is your favorite color?

A: I’ve been in a huge Purple/Indigo/Violet phase lately.

What is your favorite food?

A: Bacon. My family jokes that we all have a “pork chakra” :)

What kind of movies do you like?

A: Comedies, mostly. BritComs, RomComs, SciFiComs… There is enough real scary drama in our world that I prefer to use movies to enhance the lighter side of life – to try to keep myself emotionally balanced in what I take in. The more serious things happen, the more I turn to laughter.

Q: Why do you think Massage Therapy is important?

A: Due to its sociological and cultural history, I have come to believe that our country does not educate its citizens enough about their own bodies. I believe since this body is the sole & primary vehicle moving our selves around every day that more knowledge is certainly beneficial. From small things like how to enhance wound healing and how scar tissue works to large things, like how our bodies interact/respond to chemical, brain and psychological issues. When I grew up in the 80’s, my dad taught me how to change the oil, tires and wiper blades on my car, basic maintenance that proved extremely helpful in my life -– I endeavor to give similar information about our bodies to my clients. My bit of “practical parenting”, if you will.

upcoming 500 hour Program schedules.


Stop Boring Work!

I find it incredible how many people don’t enjoy their jobs!

I began doing massage nearly 40 years ago and I enjoy working almost every day! And on hard days I still have no question regarding the worth of what I am doing.

Boring work results from a mismatch of one’s abilities and the needs of the job. It can deprive one’s life of a sense of meaning.

What are your favorite abilities? When I was casting about for a career that I could be truly happy with, I used a book, What Color is Your Parachute?, to discover what they called one’s “favorite transferable skills”. These are skills you have, some of which may have been active in your play as a child, or as hobbies, in your social life, or in past work – but wherever they are from and whatever they are, they are the things you love to do.

I had loved playing guitar, I had wonderful experiences studying and playing music at the Old Town School of Folk Music during high school and later at University of Illinois where I majored in composition. I had worked as a night watchman, a record store salesman, a teacher of autistic children, a manager of a non-profit bookstore and cultural center, and as an activities assistant at a nursing home. I had been active in receiving and growing through counseling and receiving bodywork. I’d done martial arts.

So piece-by-piece I looked at my favorite skills and interests, the environments I had enjoyed in the past, my income needs, and the kinds of people I liked being around. And, over the course of a couple of months, I assembled this picture. Now I can remember, I was on a train going north from Chicago, that exact day and precise moment when I’d done all my exercises on these topics and the result was the thought, to my astonishment, “I guess I’m going to be a massage therapist!”

Part of this conclusion is I asked myself, “What can I do eight hours a day that will not be boring?” Often John Conway co-founder of our school has quoted from a poem by Marge Piercy at graduations, called “To Be of Use” and its last lines are:

“The pitcher cries for water to carry
 and a person for work that is real.”

If you want work that is real and massage feels right for you, then I say go for it! It is a healthy career for your body, mind and spirit and it makes other people healthier in their body, mind and spirit.

Whatever’s right for you, do it with you whole heart, body and mind. Your abilities will line up with your needs when you are in your realm of enthusiasm! Stop boring work and have work you love!

What is Thai Massage?

by Robert Gardner

People often ask me about what Thai massage is and licensed massage therapists want to know how it’s going to benefit them in their practice. Thai massage is still working on a western identity and while I can’t speak for everyone else I can tell you that Thai massage is the most diverse and beneficial practice of massage and bodywork I’ve ever encountered. Much like massage itself it can be applied to a wide swathe of the population and when I say it’s effective I’m saying I’ve seen someone walk in on crutches and walk out carrying them after working with me.

Thai massage is:

  • more biomechanically effective for the therapist
  • saves your hands
  • allows you to use more pressure with less effort
  • means you can do longer sessions for larger fees
  • is more transformative for your clients
  • blends well with any other kind of work you do or on a table
  • allows you help common client complaints like low back pain easily

Watch my video with the MassageNerd:


Thai massage allows a deeper use of pressure than any other massage form I’ve seen while also creating the greatest potential for movement in a terrestrial environment. This pressure doesn’t always come from hands, thus saving them, but also from extensive use of knees and feet in session. Compared to what most licensed massage therapists practice my work feels like mixed martial arts. In session there are no rules, my opponent is pain and with every movement I’m doing my best to take out my opponent with any tool necessary while exerting the least amount of effort. It’s easy on me and remarkable to clients.

Students who observe my work have commented that it reminds them of Brazilian jujitsu or some other martial art. In effect, compared to what most are doing Thai massage done my way is the perfect balance of client communication, effective pressure and proper body mechanics. Intro to Thai massage and Table Thai are my starter courses to give you a solid foundation in the work. I look forward to working with you.

Learn more at the Introduction to Thai Massage workshop with Robert Gardner on April 24-25. CLICK HERE to register today!

Meet Our Teachers: Christopher Fritel

11.01.FacultyHeadshotChristopherThe teachers at The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School have skill, experience, and a true passion for Massage Therapy. Let’s take a moment to get to know one of the 500 hour program instructors.

Q&A with Christopher Fritel

Q: When did you start your career in Massage Therapy?

A: I attended massage school here at The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School in May of 2000. I began as an instructor in 2002.


Q: Why did you decide to become a Massage Therapist?

A: I had just moved back to Texas after a year in New York City. I graduated the 4 month program at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School and worked for a family as a personal chef. I was still interested in working with my hands but wanted to have more diversity in my work. When I got back to Texas, a friend of mine had mentioned that she was a massage therapist and that I should be one too. She gave me a wonderful massage, my first, and told me that I should attend TLC rather than the place from which she had graduated. I moved to Austin and enrolled at TLC almost immediately.


Q: What training and experience do you have in Massage Therapy?

A: At TLC I was trained in Swedish, Stretches, Body Mobilization Techniques, Sports Massage, Deep Massage, and some Shiatsu and Structural Bodywork. Later I received training in Craniosacral Therapy from the Upledger Institute and Zero Balancing from TLC. I tend to use Craniosacral, Zero Balancing, and Deep Massage in my private practice.


A: What was your favorite aspect of Massage School?

A: I did not expect to learn so much about myself, especially my mind and body. I really enjoyed the meditation of giving massage and the way both my client and I would feel after a session. It was the most self-supportive job I had ever had in my life.


Q: Do you have a favorite modality? If so, what is it?

A: When giving and receiving, I definitely prefer more subtle massage modalities such as Craniosacral, Zero Balancing, and Deep Massage. They seem to approach a massage session from the perspective of facilitating and working with the client’s self-regulatory and self-resolving nature rather than imposing change forcibly on the “client’s problem”.


Q: What is your approach to Massage Therapy?

A: Listen to the client and find a way to facilitate his or her needs for that session.


Q: What is your favorite color?

A: Seriously my favorite color was been orange for a long time. The color that I am thinking if is like a plain-jane orange crayon.


Q: What is your favorite food?

A: I love a good smoothie and will never turn down Indian food. I am currently obsessed with authentic Chinese food from Asia Cafe – such as spicy honey comb, sliced beef tendon in pickled pepper sauce, stir-fried salt and pepper squid, Szechuan style pork intestines, stir-fried snow pea leaves, and Singapore noodles.


Q: What kind of movies do you like?

A: I love sci-fi and foreign films. A recent favorite that fits both categories was Snowpiercer, but it’s very violent so don’t watch it if you blood makes you queasy. It is in English but it was made in Korea. Closely related to this film is the original version of Old Boy. I love movies that are weird and surprising and have a little violence.


Q: Why do you think Massage Therapy is important?

A: Massage Therapy represents a healthy and beneficial experience of touch which is so vital to physical, emotional, and mental wellness.

upcoming 500 hour Program schedules.

DEEP IN SPACE AND TIME – The Resurrection of Petrissage and History!

Each time I receive a massage I learn more about what works well and not so well. Last week I got a session where there were two things missing and these are surprisingly common.

The Resurrection of Petrissage – Deep in Space

If you want to have an effect that is deep then, in some respects, petrissage is your best tool! Too often therapists emphasize repeated deep effleurages that feel like soft tissue mashing.

Petrissage done well needs to have the whole hand surround and nestle into the muscle three-dimensionally. Then one simultaneously squeezes and lifts the whole muscle away from the bone.

  • This effect – of easily restoring “breathing room” between bone and muscle – feels fantastic and is a way to deeply relieve tension quickly.
  • It can be used to warm up the area with just three petrissages, preceding deeper work.
  • When you don’t have the time or need to address a certain body part in detail, a few brief well-done petrissages can create the feeling that the part has been worked on without taking much time – adding a completeness to the session that I often find missing.

The Resurrection of History – Deep in Time

You can not do a good session if you don’t know where the person is coming from. Too often what is called a history is just the person filling out a checklist of past diseases, contraindications, and current complaints. That isn’t a history. “Taking a history,” means getting to know the person, not just their past and current problems. Even though it is challenging to connect quickly and even though many employment contexts discourage taking extra time to talk with the client, taking a history is an essential part of our work and our integrity as therapists. If we do not have much time to get to know the person, we just have to learn how to do it more quickly (or get a different job!).

Observe the person and ask yourself what you notice about them. Throughout the session, don’t just focus on the motor activity of doing the massage. Focus also on the sensory aspect in doing massage – what are you learning from your palpation? – and on the mental aspect – using your mind and attention to more accurately understand and connect with them.

  • If you have a chance, watch them walk from the waiting room to your treatment room, notice what stands out about their posture and movement.
  • When they sit for the pre-session interview, how do they sit, breathe, what do you pick up from the way they speak – the volume, the rhythm, the tone of voice, the words they choose?
  • When you are doing the bodywork how do they respond? What more does this tell you about them?
  • Taking a history doesn’t end with the interview – that’s just the beginning! What modifications of your session plan evolve as you learn more about them during the session through palpation and possibly through further conversation? Not surprisingly, as we do our work with responsiveness and gain their trust, often clients tell us or non-verbally reveal essential things about their history part way into the session. (“Oh yea I forgot to tell you I broke both tibias when I was 8.” Or “I’ve been under tremendous stress lately from the changes in my job.” Or you notice they stop breathing whenever you add pressure.)

Sometimes therapists don’t really care or they’ve been poorly educated. Some may not try to get to know the person – not only through lack of time, but also through lack of faith in their ability to understand where someone is coming from or a lack of skill in knowing how to connect or how to learn about the person and not just their symptoms. This is no excuse. Understanding does take time. Even after years we are still getting to know the person. But this nonetheless is still a commitment and skill every therapist needs to cultivate.

It is the job of a compassionate health professional to get to know the client. Ultimately it is a joy for both therapist and client – to interact with this person deeply in their space and to learn about their bodymind nature that has evolved through their life-time, so that, throughout the whole interaction and at the end of the session, they feel truly well met, relieved of their tension, with remarkably renewed vitality in body, mind and spirit.

6 Signs You Should be a Massage Therapist


1. 9 to 5 job just isn’t for you

You like a flexible work schedule where you can choose your hours. Massage therapy is the perfect fit – you can work as little or as much as you want at the hours you choose. You won’t be sitting at a desk all day – you will be working with people, helping them to feel better.


2. You like working with your hands

Massage therapy is a career that lets you directly interact with people and help them. How do you do this? With your hands! And elbows. And forearms. You get the satisfaction of feeling muscles release and knowing the relief this will give your clients.


3. You want to be your own boss

There are so many different environments to work in as a Massage Therapist. More and more are creating their own business and becoming their own boss. You get to make all the decisions – hours, location, specialty. You get to take control of your own professional life!


4. You like working in a low stress environment

Massage therapy is all about relieving stress and encouraging relaxation. Working as a Massage Therapist gives you the opportunity to be in this environment for the working hours of your day. As you help clients relax, you also relax.


5. You are curious by nature and constantly want to learn

The human body is complicated and amazing. As a Massage Therapist you will constantly be learning new techniques, specialties, and skills. You will never be bored or lacking in new knowledge to learn.


6. You like helping people

Massage Therapy is all about helping people. You help them relieve tension in their muscles. You help them feel more connected with their body. You help them relax and de-stress from their everyday life. Nothing is more rewarding than when you have a client come off your table remarking how much better they feel after the massage!


Start your new career as a Massage Therapist today!
CLICK HERE to check out our upcoming classes.

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