Earning a certificate in massage therapy
is certainly a gateway to a great career. However, did you know
that future physicians can also add massage therapy to their
credentials in order to broaden their future medical practice?
Meet Sarah Gerencher, who is enrolled
in National University of Health Sciences'
Massage Therapy Certification Program, while at the same time
earning her doctor of naturopathic medicine degree at National.
Originally from Joliet, Illinois,
Sarah always loved science. She graduated with a bachelor's degree
in biology from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. After college,
Sarah spent time working as a laboratory technician, making slides
for pathologists, but she soon tired of spending all of her time
with microscopes. She decided to enroll in National's naturopathic medicine
program to become a naturopathic physician.
While a student at National, Sarah
took advantage of health care at the on-campus clinic. "I received
quite a few massages here at the clinic, which is what first got me
interested in learning massage. I remember my first trimester in
the ND program; I had a bad headache and a massage made it
disappear. It seemed like a good idea to study another modality
that would help people and make them feel better," says Sarah. Only
a few trimesters into her graduate program, Sarah also enrolled in
National's MT program.
Some of Sarah's advanced science
classes from her naturopathic medicine curriculum transferred into
the massage program. This allows Sarah to take a lighter load. Yet
Sarah is still quite busy completing a full-time ND schedule during
the day, coupled with MT classes at night.
"I really like the classes and the
faculty in the massage program," says Sarah. "I especially like the
yoga class, as it gives you time to relax and focus on yourself. I
like the fact that NUHS gives you tools to take care of yourself
while you're learning to take care of others."
"My favorite teacher is Dr. Patricia
Coe, a chiropractic physician and massage therapist and the
clinical supervisor for the massage program," says Sarah. "She
knows what she's doing and is very straightforward and
Even though Sarah was already studying
to be a physician, she had not yet reached the clinical portion of
her studies. Her clinical internship in massage started several
trimesters before her ND internship and served as her introduction
to the clinic. "I was nervous about seeing massage clients for the
first time. I thought it was going to be very intimidating, but it
wasn't that bad after I got into the swing of it." In fact, Sarah's
sure that working through the jitters of seeing her first massage
clients, will help her when she starts her ND clinical internship
In the future, Sarah sees herself
combining her expertise in massage and naturopathic medicine and
travelling out west to practice.
In the meantime, Sarah has advice for
those considering massage therapy as a career: "Do research on what
type of massage you would like to learn. Different schools vary in
what they actually teach. A lot of schools don't have an anatomy
lab with real dissected cadavers. That's what's cool about
National. Also, our professors here are very accessible and the
class size is small."