R E A D E R  E X P R E S S I O N S

We Asked: Are you satisfied with the massage education you received? Why, or why not? How could it have been better?

Here is what you told us…

I wish I could do it all over again—and this time, with more understanding and clarity! I moved from Chicago to South Florida for two reasons: 1) to attend massage school; and 2) to get away from the cold. My classes were scheduled for six months of modalities, anatomy and clinic. I must admit that the classes were far more fun because of our instructor, Dr. Joe, a chiropractor. As for clinic time, I was definitely unsatisfied. During [these] sessions, we were told to "shhhh," while in the real world, clients talk and are curious as to why their bodies are sore, hurting, or in any other condition that they would expect the therapist to know something about. I’ve been done with massage school for [more than] a year, and I haven’t established that comfort level to work with clients, knowing that I may not have all the answers they are looking for. More clinic time is definitely essential for becoming a better therapist.
Ana Reyes
Boca Raton, Florida

I did not have an adequate education from school in Texas. The technique instructor refused to teach anything at all about sports massage because he disagreed with the school’s philosophy about it. We didn’t learn much more than how to locate a trigger point and how to do deep massage on the back. We only learned basic moves and were taught a formal, by-the-numbers routine. We didn’t learn aromatherapy, and our anatomy and physiology were presented like a first-grade class. I need to learn about reflexology, trigger points, other types of massage techniques and strokes, better body mechanics, how to start and run a business, chair massage, muscle relationships to function and pain, and much more about how a massage can affect a person’s emotional and physical well-being. I regret to say that we learned only enough to be dangerous. Most of us are already taking CEUs because we don’t feel adequately trained to be turned loose in the field. Many will just go out there and do what we learned, and be a poor example of both the school and the profession.
Kate Dvorak
Paducah, Texas

The instructors and school that I attended had to be the best to have put up with me! I was employed by a chiropractor who essentially ordered me to attend massage school. Working from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., and raising three daughters, why would I ever want to take on anything else? Because I could not stay awake during class, to this day my instructor says, "Vivian was the one most unlikely to succeed. She must have obtained [her education] through osmosis." It took great teachers as well as massages to get me through it!
Vivian Madison-Mahoney
Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Realizing that the purpose of my massage school in Ohio was to train students to pass the state medical board exam and receive licensure, I do feel some things were lacking in my education. Due to time constraints, we didn’t spend a lot of time learning the muscles. Looking back, it would have been beneficial to learn [about] muscle origin and insertion (and general body structure) with palpation. Also, very little pathology was covered in the curriculum. Understanding pathological conditions and how they affect the body allows me to make intelligent decisions, with my knowledge of anatomy and physiology, about how to most effectively massage, [or] if massage is appropriate. However, I did learn [how to give] a good, basic massage. It’s important to have a strong foundation upon which to build a future.
Susan Nunn
Bellbrook, Ohio

I’m in an internship at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas. I believe the [classroom] academics are good, although somewhat rushed. All the teachers are actively practicing [massage] and bring a variety of expertise to the classroom. My main frustration had been (and still is) the actual physical facilities. The classes are taught in a portable metal building with semiconductor technology [classes] on one side and auto mechanics on the other. I also do not have a home computer, and the college’s libraries and computer labs close at 8 p.m., but class would go until 10 p.m. Campus security is strict about us clearing out the buildings by a certain time, so we feel rushed. The classrooms are shared with the Physical Therapy Assistant program, and we have to clear out their tables, set ours up, and put everything back the way they want by 10 p.m. I do not regret my choice. I realize, however, that I must continue to learn on my own and will take some advanced classes at some of the other massage schools in Austin.
Name withheld by request
Austin, Texas