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.
If you missed last week's Information Night, you missed a great
event with featured speakers Dr. Randy Swenson, our Dean, and
Massage Envy owner, Jan Gentner!
The hit of the night, as usual, was our cadaver demonstration.
Because our students spend a good deal of time studying anatomy on
cadavers, it's important for them to get to view a body and hear
about how instrumental this learning tool will be in their future
Our alumnus, Matt Clement, gives a guided tour of the body as he
shares the highlights of his experience as a student and as a
professional massage therapist--and Matt's got some great stories!
We invited our guests to put on some gloves and touch the human
body (if they dare) and we had a few takers. Each person that
donates a body to science is offering the ultimate gift to medical
and health students and we are most grateful and respectful of that
gift. This type of experience in a massage school is quite
We also visited Dr. Ed Bifulco's palpation class where his
students were poking and prodding the knee area to learn how to
detect abnormal pathologies. This is a class that is not teaching
any kind of massage technique but is one of the foundation courses
that make our students well prepared to detect areas of concern in
I can guarantee you will be well prepared for your board exam
and your career if you decide to choose National for your formal
education. Give me a call (1-800-826-6285) or email me if you'd like to visit
or just chat. Personal tours are offered every week day.
Most athletes can testify to the pain-relieving,
recovery-promoting effects of massage. Now there's a scientific
basis that supports booking a session with a massage therapist: On
the cellular level massage reduces inflammation and promotes the
growth of new mitochondria in skeletal muscle. So says new research
from the Buck Institute on Aging and McMaster University in
Hamilton, Ontario. You can read more about this study and watch a video
from one of the researchers explaining how they made the
The study involved the genetic analysis of muscle biopsies taken
from the quadriceps of eleven young males after they had exercised
to exhaustion on a stationary bicycle. One of their legs was
randomly chosen to be massaged. Biopsies were taken from both legs
prior to the exercise, immediately after 10 minutes of massage
treatment and after a 2.5 hour period of recovery.
Buck Institute faculty Simon Melov, PhD, was responsible for the
genetic analysis of the tissue samples. "Our research showed that
massage dampened the expression of inflammatory cytokines in the
muscle cells and promoted biogenesis of mitochondria, which are the
energy-producing units in the cells," said Melov. He added that the
pain reduction associated with massage may involve the same
mechanism as those targeted by conventional anti-inflammatory
drugs. "There's general agreement that massage feels good, now we
have a scientific basis for the experience," said Melov.
Once again, National University of Health Science's massage
therapy students performed exceptionally well on their national
board exam scores, according to an official report from the
National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and
In fact, National University's school pass rate average for the
last two years on the exams was a whopping 91.43 percent! Compare
that to the Illinois pass rate average of 65.83 and the national
pass rate average of 66.68 for the same time period.
For every single test period since 2009, on every single topic
tested, National University MT grads outperformed state and
national averages. Take a look at the
full results here.
Every massage therapist needs to take their board exams for
licensure in Illinois. National University is proud to be a school
that prepares massage students for success on both board exams and
for a full range of rewarding career options in massage
study proving that massage therapy is effective for lower back
pain, was featured on NPRs "All Things Considered."
Low back pain is very common. It often goes away after several
days or weeks, but it may last for months or years or periodically
recur. The usual treatments for low back pain include drugs
(painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants),
physical therapy, back exercises, and education about ways to
prevent back injury and deal with back pain. Some people use
alternative treatments for low back pain, such as chiropractic or
This study compared the short-term and long-term effects of
relaxation massage, structural massage, and usual care for people
with persisting low back pain.
The researchers first gathered information about the participants'
symptoms and how much those symptoms limited their daily
activities. They then randomly assigned each participant to receive
relaxation massage, structural massage, or usual medical care
without massage. Participants assigned to the massage groups got
about 1 hour of massage once a week for 10 weeks. The researchers
remeasured participants' symptoms and ability to perform daily
activities after completing the 10 massage treatments, and then at
6 months and 1 year after starting massage therapy.
Participants who received massage had less pain and were better
able to perform daily activities after 10 weeks than those who
received usual care. The benefits of massage lasted for 6 months
but were less clear at 1 year, when pain and function had improved
about equally in all 3 groups. The type of massage did not seem to
make a difference. Symptoms and ability to perform activities
improved about the same in the 2 massage groups.
(The full report is titled "A Comparison of the Effects of 2 Types
of Massage and Usual Care on Chronic Low Back Pain. A Randomized,
Controlled Trial." It is in the 5 July 2011 issue of Annals of
Internal Medicine (volume 155, pages 1-9). The authors are D.C.
Cherkin, K.J. Sherman, J. Kahn, R. Wellman, A.J. Cook, E. Johnson,
J. Erro, K. Delaney, and R.A. Deyo.)
To read older blog posts, scroll to the bottom and click the "Older Posts" button.