Calling All Massage Therapy Future Superheroes


Kelly Dixon graduated as valedictorian of her massage therapy class at National University. Her speech was extraordinary, in that she used her own story to show that massage therapists can indeed be superheroes. How? By the dramatic effect they can have on the lives of others.

Here are some excerpts from Kelly's speech:

"We start thinking about the future so early in life. Dreaming of being princesses, superheroes, doctors or astronauts. We are impatient to grow up and fulfill those dreams … Somewhere along the way… we began to doubt ourselves.

But during our time here at National, some of that doubt has melted away…Through our hands we have the potential to alter someone's reality. The very first time we each hear those words "You have changed my life," it will hit us hard, leaving us awestruck in the realization that we can have such a profound effect on another individual….

Seven years ago I was living with chronic pain and I didn't know it. It had come on so gradually that I hardly noticed. I never consciously felt the pain, just the effects. But then I got a massage and afterwards I sat in my car and cried. I hadn't realized I hurt so much.  When I had that realization is when I decided to become a massage therapist….

So as we walk out the doors today… let us also take a moment and embrace the fact that we do powerful work. Let us embark upon this next chapter of our lives with all the enthusiasm of a young child heading out of their room towards the backyard wearing cape or crown because now we have grown up to be something much more exciting than a princess or batman. Wearethe superheroes. We may not save the damsel in distress from the latest villain, but we will save the restaurant servers who work all day from their sore backs. We will save nurses from aching legs. And yes we will save college students everywhere from tension headaches during not just midterms but finals as well, becauseweare healers who will change lives.

Congratulations Kelly, and to all the future superheroes who will graduate from National University!

The Top 5 Health Benefits of Regular Massage Therapy

Photo of shoulder massageOctober 19-25th is "Massage Therapy Awareness Week." The health experts at National University of Health Sciences want you to know the top five health benefits of adding regular massage therapy to your health and wellness strategy.

Massage therapy from a licensed practitioner can:

  • Lower stress
    The long-term effects of stress can take emotional and physical tolls. Massage therapy may relieve stress and conditions associated with it, such as tension headaches.
  • Increase immune function
    Medical research
    indicates that massage therapy can help boost immune system strength by increasing the activity level of the body's natural "killer T cells," which fight off viruses.
  • Boost mental health and wellness
    Research suggests
    that symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression (all associated with mental health) may be directly affected with massage therapy.
  • Manage pain
    Pain can negatively affect a person's quality of life and impede recovery from illness or injury. Recent findings highlight the role of massage in pain management.
  • Improve physical fitness
    Elite and recreational athletes alike can benefit from massage therapy-massage can reduce muscle tension, improve exercise performance and prevent injuries.

(source - American Massage Therapy Association)

If you've never tried a massage for yourself, it's a great first step to exploring a career as a massage therapist.  If you live in the Chicago area, why not schedule a massage session at our NUHS Whole Health Center in Lombard? You can even schedule a meeting with one of our admissions counselors prior to your massage, so you can visit our campus and learn more about our massage therapy certification program.

Massage for Severely Ill Children

National University grad Karen Selph ('03) was recently featured on a local television news segment on bringing the benefits of massage therapy to severely ill children. Karen works as a massage therapist at Maryville's Children's Healthcare Center in Chicago.

Screenshot of video featuring Karen Selph

Karen is just one of our grads who are taking advantage of new applications for massage in an integrative medicine environment.

Massage Therapists Partnering with Chiropractic Physicians

2014-08-11_massageOne fantastic career opportunity for massage therapists is to work for a chiropractic physician. DCs (doctors of chiropractic) love to offer patients the option of massage therapy as a beneficial addition to their treatment plan. Having a part-time massage therapist on-site as part of their practice makes this easy and financially rewarding for the DC as well as for the massage therapist.

The "Massage Book" blog has a great article called "How to Partner with a Chiropractor". Many National University massage graduates choose this option as either the focus of their career, or as a part-time option in addition to a small practice of their own. Here are more recommendations from an MT who works in a chiropractic office.

If you want to work with DCs or other medical professionals, there are many advantages in choosing National University for your massage therapy education:

  • You'll be studying on a campus that also has students in chiropractic medicine, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and oriental medicine degree programs. 
  • In addition to seasoned massage professionals, many of your instructors will also be chiropractic physicians.
  • You'll serve your clinical internship in our integrative medical clinic, working alongside students and clinicians from our various medical specialties.
  • You'll often treat clients who are patients of our clinic, and get accustomed to working with treatment recommendations prepared by chiropractic physicians.

Preparing you to work in partnership with other medical professionals is just one way National University gives you a career advantage in massage therapy.

Instructors Learn How to Train More Effective Massage Therapists

Massage therapy is a field where person-to-person contact is essential, but it isn't limited to the massage itself. That contact happens from the minute the client phones for their first appointment, when the therapist greets them at their session, and how a therapist handles client questions throughout and after the massage. Good communication skills are paramount to creating a positive massage experience for the client and ultimately a successful career for the therapist.

That's why National University is proud that several of its staff and faculty recently attended courses on building communication skills in massage students. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) sponsored the workshop as part of its "Instructor on the Front Lines" program.

NUHS instructors: (Back Row L-R) Joan Spencer, Krista Soli Foster,
Jennifer Dexheimer, Candy Washington, Dr. Nicole Brod,
(kneeling) Dr. Patricia Coe, Dr. Heather Wisniewski

"We explored topics such as communication styles, avoiding communication blockers, and the importance of developing active communication skills," says NUHS instructor Candy Washington. "For example, some students are so accustomed to texting as their main communication vehicle, they might forget the importance of making eye contact with their clients."

"I really enjoyed the workshop on teaching methods where we learned about story-telling and role-playing in the massage classroom," Candy adds. "I can't wait to try role-playing in my next class!"

"Teaching our students to be better communicators will help them forge better relationships both with future clients and other health care providers, potentially building better inter-referral networks. Better communication training is a great investment we can bring back to our classrooms."

Learn more about the advantages NUHS offers to its massage students at our upcoming massage therapy information night.