Comparing Massage Schools: Internship Experience

Massage ImageWelcome to our new Touchpoints blog series on key points to look for when choosing the right massage therapy school. This month's topic is "Internship Experience."

To earn your certification or degree in massage therapy, you'll need to practice your massage skills on real people while you are still in school. Your state licensing board will also require proof that you've completed a certain number of actual massage hours under supervision.

Where, how and on whom you practice your required massage hours can vary greatly from school to school. Here is what to look for:

  • Will you complete your hours massaging a wide variety of clients, or will you just be working on fellow students, friends, family or people from only one demographic or age group?

A school that assures you receive a large number and wide variety of different clients (meaning clients of different ages, backgrounds and health histories) will give you the broadest base of experience and prepare you for the real world. At National University, you'll be interning in our on-campus integrative medical clinic, which draws from the local community, the college campus, as well as referrals from our chiropractic, naturopathic, acupuncture and oriental medicine clinicians.

  • Will you gain experience in a medical environment? or will you work in a school spa or massage center?

Working in a school spa or center that only provides massage can provide an adequate number of clients, but the actual experience you'll gain may be limited.

You'll be better prepared for a wider variety of career opportunities if you give massage in a clinical or medical setting where you are part of an integrated health care team.

First, you'll be more likely to see clients with actual medical conditions who have massage therapy prescribed as part of a treatment plan. This provides important experience in applying your therapeutic skills. Secondly, you'll work alongside doctors and health professionals from other specialties. That means you'll have practice in learning how to communicate with them effectively.

Once again, National University's on-site integrative medical clinic provides an ideal internship setting where massage therapists can gain confidence in working with clients who are referred by medical clinicians. You'll learn to prepare SOAP notes (an acronym for subjective, objective, assessment, and plan) for your client's file and medical charts, in a way that is responsive to their physician's requests.

Additionally, many of National University's massage faculty and clinic supervisors are also practicing primary care physicians. Your supervisor will not only be a massage expert, but will be able to show you what a medical doctor will expect from you.

National University's clinic provides an internship experience that better prepares you for new career options opening in hospitals, chiropractic practices, integrative medical clinics, hospice care, wellness centers, and more.

Why not come for our next massage therapy information night and see our clinic for yourself. We think you'll agree, it's an exciting environment for aspiring health care professionals like you!



Mayo Clinic Integrates Massage Therapy into Treatment Plans

More and more hospitals are incorporating massage therapy into patient care -- including the Mayo Clinic. This is because of the proven benefits of massage therapy for stress relief, pain reduction, and more.

In this video, you'll hear Dr. Brent Bauer of the Mayo Clinic explain why they are expanding the use of massage therapy for patients with a wide variety of medical conditions.

National University prepares you to succeed as a massage therapist working as part of an integrative medical team. The program gives you the experience you'll need to take advantage of expanding career opportunities in major hospitals and other institutions.

At National University, you'll serve your internship in its on-campus integrative medical clinic. You'll see clients who've been referred by their physician for therapeutic massage as part of their overall medical treatment plan. You'll learn how to maintain client charts properly and understand the medical terminology needed to communicate effectively with the client's physician or medical specialist. You'll also work alongside student interns from the university's graduate medical degree programs.

That's why National University is a great place to start your career journey in massage therapy. Why not plan a visit?

U.S. News and World Report Hails Massage as Medicine

National University faculty member, Dr. Jerrilyn Cambron was quoted in a recent U.S. News and World Report article on massage therapy, titled "Massage as Medicine." Dr. Cambron is a noted expert on massage therapy research, and is the president of the Massage Therapy Foundation, a leading massage research organization.

Massage As Medicine

The article highlights that the American Hospital Association recently surveyed 1,007 hospitals about their use of complementary and alternative medicine therapies. More than 80 percent said they offered massage therapy. Upwards of 70 percent said they used massage for pain management and relief.

The growing use of massage therapy in hospitals and integrative medical settings is why NUHS provides its massage students with internship experience in an on-campus integrative medical clinic.  NUHS massage therapy graduates are prepared to successfully bring their skills into a medical environment.

In addition, massage therapy students at NUHS enjoy the prestige of studying at a university boasting many noted leaders in the massage therapy profession, such as Dr. Cambron.

Massage Can Help Those with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Do you or someone you know get the wintertime "blues"? Less sunlight in the winter, coupled with more time indoors, can trigger what is known as "Seasonal Affective Disorder" in many people. SAD can prove to be a serious form of depression and reduce the quality of life for those with the disorder.

Sad _250wOne of the many therapies that can help SAD is massage.  A recent article from the American Massage Therapy Association catalogs several proven ways in which massage therapy can counteract physiological mood factors that often accompany SAD. According to the AMTA, massage can:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression with a course of care providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy.
  • Increase neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety and decrease hormones associated with increasing anxiety.
  • Significantly decrease heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure.
  • Improve mental health by reducing depression in individuals with HIV, lessen anxiety in cancer patients, reduce anxiety and depression in military veterans and lower work-related stress for nurses.

Treating those with SAD is one of the many ways that massage therapists can offer real help to their clients as part of an integrative medical team. Want to learn more about massage therapy in an integrative medical setting? Just visit our website!

And if winter has you down, why not schedule a massage at the NUHS Whole Health Center in Lombard? You can also work with our chiropractic, naturopathic or oriental medicine clinicians to find additional treatments to help reduce the symptoms of SAD.

Holidays are a Time to Both Give and Receive Massage!

Holidays can be fun, but they can be busy and stressful as well. With family obligations, financial demands, and a full schedule of activities, many people experience tension or even depression this time of year.

That's why taking advantage of a professional massage is a great self-care tool during the holidays. Massage has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce pain and tension, and can be a great way to de-stress. 


It may seem impossible to find the time for a massage in between your holiday shopping, cooking and social commitments, so here are some tips: 

  • Book your massage in advance, as this time of year can be busy for massage therapists, clinics and spas too.
  • Ideally, try to plan your massage for a day and time where you can relax afterwards with low-key activities. 
  • If an hour seems too much to squeeze into your busy pre-holiday schedule, how about a half-hour massage? Or even a quick stop at the chair massage station in your local mall?

In addition to taking care of yourself, giving the gift of massage to others during the holidays is a great idea. Think of those you know who would enjoy feeling pampered, or who are interested in health and wellness, or who would appreciate the stress reduction of a professional massage. A massage gift certificate is often a creative, unexpected and welcome surprise.

For those in the Chicago area, National University's Whole Health Center in Lombard offers massage gift certificates year-round. Your friends and loved ones will enjoy a relaxing therapeutic massage in one of our comfortable massage therapy suites. (Hint: Massage gift certificates are also great for workplace gift exchanges, raffle prizes and thank you gifts.)