Personal experiences point the way from social worker to massage therapist

BOSTON, June 24 /PRNewswire/ — With a 30-year career in social work behind her, soon-to-be graduate of Cortiva Institute–Boston School of Massage Therapy Paula Nesoff is excited about where her new degree will take her.

“My decision to become a professional massage therapist was based on very personal life experiences, ” says 61-year-old Nesoff, a resident of Hull, Massachusetts. “I wanted to bring massage to vulnerable populations who often do not get touched through massage.” Nesoff’s father, who lived with multiple sclerosis for 39 years, was an important factor in her decision to leave her career as a social worker and pursue massage therapy.

“My father lived with the disease of multiple sclerosis for nearly four decades and I was witness to the lack of services offered to him as his abilities to move declined,” said Nesoff. “Unfortunately, I continue to see how little in the way of massage therapies are available to people with chronic diseases who have limited monetary resources and I hope that I can make a difference in the future.”

Before entering Cortiva, Nesoff had taken a number of continuing education classes in massage and bodywork, and knew that “serious work was needed in order to be part of this great field.” Nesoff graduates this July with a massage-therapy diploma.

Like many career changers, for Nesoff, massage therapy tops the list for realizing monetary and spiritual rewards within a manageable time frame. The profession seems a natural fit for career changers. In fact, many massage therapists are in their 40s, and have entered the profession as a second career, according to the American Massage Therapy Association. In addition, massage therapy remains a fast-growing field, even in these tough economic times as the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that employment for massage therapists is expected to increase 19 percent through 2018, faster than average for all occupations.

After graduation, Nesoff explains her goal “is to build a massage therapy practice that would offer reasonably cost treatments to individuals, families and caregivers coping with chronic diseases.” By taking this approach, Nesoff hopes to combine her background as a social worker, community organizer, Reiki practitioner and licensed massage therapist “to create a center dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of individuals and families facing the challenges of chronic illnesses.”

About Cortiva Institute

Cortiva Institute is a community of massage-therapy schools with 11 locations nationwide, offering full- and part-time massage-therapy instruction, continuing education courses, student clinics that are open to the public, and career services for graduates. Cortiva schools take a holistic and integrated approach to ensure graduates are prepared to work in clinics, hospitals, health clubs, spas, resorts, sports therapy clinics or start their own private practices. Visit for more information.