In this video, you'll hear why Cassandra Ennsmann feels National
University's program offers the best career preparation in massage
therapy. Internship experience in our on-campus integrative
medical clinic is a big reason.
videos from students, faculty, and alumni of the massage
The Massage Therapy Advisory Board met recently and I was lucky
enough to be in attendance. One of the functions of this group is
to review evaluations filled out by our students at the end of each
trimester. Through this process, they acknowledge the successes
within the program and make suggestions for improvements down the
road. Dr. Randy
Swenson chairs this board and takes the students' responses
very seriously. One of the reasons that National University
students have a 91% pass rate on their national
board exams is because their feedback and suggestions are used
to improve the program and better their experience.
The results of the most recent evaluations completed by first
trimester students showed that they gave the highest kudos to the
fundamentals class. In this course, new students are taught a full
body one hour massage. Second trimester students indicated that the
chair massage and sports massage courses were their favorites.
Third trimester students overwhelmingly gave a high five to the
orthopedic and assessment course which they felt gave them
invaluable working knowledge of multiple syndromes which might
throw them off in future practice.
Students identified the chair massage course as a
Open to Suggestions
In addition to evaluating the program, current students are also
asked to comment on the university as a whole. One area where
students thought we needed improvement was to have the campus store
open a little later so that they can stop in before classes (which
start at 6:00 p.m.). I am happy to report that this request is in
It was also suggested that the CPR course be included in the
basic curriculum since it is required that students have this
training before their clinical rotation starts. Because many of our
students come to us with CPR already under their belt, the Advisory
Board didn't think it would be fair to put it in as a required
course at this time.
Watching the group in action is just delightful. They have
enthusiasm for the work we accomplish here and a true passion for
touch therapy. They are the guardians of our program and knowing
who they are and how they operate I am reassured that the massage
therapy program is in very good hands.
Meet Laura Dupler from National University of Health Sciences.
She teaches ethics for First Trimester students and a portion of
the business classes for other First and Third Trimester students.
She also teaches an elective class in myofascial release.
Laura is a previous graduate of the
NUHS massage program. "I was almost 42 when I came here to prepare
for a second career. I had been an office manager, bookkeeper and
staff accountant in the corporate world. Not only was my old career
stressful, it wasn't what I really wanted to do and I didn't feel
happy about going to a job just to pay the bills."
She heard about the field of massage therapy and decided to
attend an information night at NUHS. "When I went to the
information night, I knew that if I could get through the gross
anatomy portion of the orientation, then I could do the rest."
"As much as I dreaded it, the anatomy
lab was one of the best advantages to the program. It's an entirely
different thing for somebody to show you a muscle in a book versus
seeing it on real bodies - how it looks, how it moves. It is an
"I picked National because they had
the 'nuts and bolts' program that I wanted, and I had researched
pass rates on the national board exams. I wanted to know I was
going to one of the best."
After graduating in 2006, Laura went
on to work as a massage therapist and chiropractic assistant in a
chiropractic physician's office. She initially started teaching
just a few nights per week in the business courses at NUHS, drawing
from her background in office management. "One of the jobs I held
previously was for a high end hiring firm. I know what employers
are seeking in terms of resumés and curriculum vitae, so I could
share a lot with students who would be interviewing for jobs when
they left." Laura is also a member of the University's massage
therapy advisory board.
Laura's advice to her students and to
those considering a career in massage is this: "Don't look at any
educational program as an automatic ticket to making tons of money.
It takes a certain amount of work and salesmanship when you
graduate to become a successful MT. Just because you graduate from
one of the best schools in your field doesn't give you an automatic
pass to making the money you feel you want to make. It takes hard
work to build a practice and to get clients in the door. You can't
sit back and let it happen, you have to go after it! One of my
instructors here said to us, 'You might be the best therapist in
the entire world, but nobody knows it if you don't tell them.'
my favorite sayings that I really live by is this: 'Stop asking
what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and
then do that. Because what the world needs is more people to come
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."
A quote recently caught my eye from a book by
Marianne Williamson and it says, "It is not time to wait for
angels, but to actively become them."
With each passing day that I spend as an employee of the
university, I become more aware of how lucky I am to share my day
with the dedicated and passionate students who grace our halls.
There's a certain air of deep caring that embodies National's
interns - one that beckons us to seek their advice and care. You,
graduates, have been blessed with that gift and came to National to
complement it with the proper education.
Your graduation ceremony will be steeped in tradition and
overflowing with emotion. The baton will be passed and you will
rise to the challenge. Those of us who have watched you grow are
blessed to be able to witness the end of this small journey in your
lives. We share your overwhelming excitement as you walk out into
the world full of many different possibilities - a world just
aching for your care.
You are the angels of the health care field and whether you
picture yourselves donned with wings or draped in a red cape, you
will change lives just as you changed your own when you chose to
muster the courage and conviction to pursue the profession of a
I am honored to walk among angels every day at National and I
wish you a lifetime of rewards.
And, as Charlie would say, "Good luck angels".
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