Carl's story is unique in that he was already a practicing massage therapist in Ashland, Oregon, before starting at National.
"I was a registered nurse and in Oregon, nurses can simply take a test to get their massage license," Carl says.
"I loved massage so much that I gradually got out of nursing to do massage full time. I felt like I had a new lease on life. Nursing was very stressful for me, but with massage therapy, every massage I gave left me feeling better and better."
It was in Oregon where Carl met his wife who is also a massage therapist. "We both worked at a spa. She had been doing massage for 13 years so I learned a lot from her. We did side-by-side massages and I watched what she did."
Carl's wife had previously lived in Chicago's western suburbs, and when the couple decided to return to this area, Carl saw it as a great opportunity to go to massage school.
"I looked at other schools' marketing materials and had interviews set up, but after I came to National's Massage Therapy Information Night, I decided to come here."
"I chose National primarily because of the cadaver anatomy and because it's more science-oriented," says Carl. "I didn't even have cadaver anatomy in nursing school because it was a community college that couldn't afford it."
"Also, NUHS has their on-site clinic that integrates chiropractic medicine, naturopathic medicine, oriental medicine, and acupuncture. It's very helpful to work together with the other fields," says Carl. "I also like the clinic because you're not just massaging your friends. It's like you're out there in the real world massaging."
So what has Carl, who already practiced massage professionally for almost 10 years, learned from the program at National? "The biggest thing that I've learned is how to improve my body mechanics. Before I got here, I was hurting when I was giving massage because my body mechanics needed some work. Within the first few weeks at National, I was using better body mechanics and now I can massage without pain."
"In order to do massage, one has to be centered and healthy, use good body mechanics and really enjoy it. When all that comes together, it's fun and rewarding. It's like therapy for me to give a massage because I have to be centered and present. It's almost like doing a meditation."
"National's program is tough but rewarding, so know what you're getting into. One thing this school really focuses on is teaching you how to take care of yourself. To be a massage therapist, you have to learn how to deal with your own stress, whether it's relaxation techniques, yoga, eating well, regular sleep, or meditation."
Carl seems to have found his balance. To get to school, Carl takes a train from his home to Lombard and then rides his unicycle to campus from the train station! Now that takes a person who is centered, balanced and taking care of himself!