Massage Therapy Blog | Massage Therapy, Massage Therapy Schools, Massage Techniques
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — Students and Alumni

Helping Hands – The Massage Essay That Inspires Positive Change

National Holistic Institute would like to congratulate NHI San Francisco student and scholarship winner Mary Rone on her emotive and inspirational essay.  Mary entered in the Helping Hands Gifts for Growth 100 word essay scholarship contest presented by Biotone & BioFreeze. Out of 480 applications from more than 165 massage therapy schools, Mary’s was chosen as one of the four winners!

helping hands logo 3-22-13

Sometimes what comes above toiling work and hours of studying is a palpable urge to do good. Mary’s essay shows us the balanced and grounded side of how we can be helpful in a chaotic world.

My hands have been helping for a long time but have finally found a home in massage therapy. My hands have flown Helicopters in combat. My hands have held the hands of the wounded. My hands felt helpless. The surprising and inspiring thing about massage therapy is what my helping hands are now capable of. My hands are making a difference by providing a calm and comfort to others and myself. My hands would love to help Veterans who suffer from physical and especially psychological trauma, helping to find a grounded place inside them, hopefully to inspire positive change.
– Mary Rone

“It was truly gratifying to see the excitement and response to this new program. We received over 480 applications representing more than 165 massage therapy schools. We are very pleased with the results,” stated Jean Shea, President, BIOTONE. “Those in our industry possess a real passion and desire to make a difference, so we know it wasn’t easy for our distinguished selection committee to choose the four winning essays—truly the best of the best. Thank you for taking on this difficult task.”

NHI would like to thank BIOTONE & Performance Health for showing leadership in the industry by investing in our next generation of massage therapists with endeavors like Helping Hands Gifts for Growth.  Mary Rone would also like to extend a personal video thank you to Helping Hands for helping her towards having work she loves!

November 21, 2013   No Comments

Anatomy in Braille: Close Your Eyes to See

“The darkness of the day is the best time to see”
- Don Juan to Carlos Castaneda


Dana Schutz, Blind Foot Massage (2009). Oil and acrylic on canvas

Dana Schutz, Blind Foot Massage (2009). Oil and acrylic on canvas

Over the nearly thirteen years I have taught for National Holistic Institute, I have had the pleasure of teaching a number of vision impaired students. And I’ve learned a lot from them too. One student had a seeing eye dog that – not making this up! – would “whoosh” with the group by wagging his tale and giving a single sharp bark!

One day I came into class and found one of my vision impaired students lying on his back. At first I thought he was taking a quick cat nap, but then I saw that he was actually reading. The book was open on his chest as he lay supine, his fingers dancing over the Braille “letters” on the page. I remarked about it, and his answer charmed me: he said that when he reads, he has ten eyes. I thought that was pretty cool.

In China and Japan, people with vision impairment were traditionally trained to be body workers. Even today, many people in those countries will preferentially seek out a blind massage therapist. The expectation is that their touch skills will be exceptional and that their gentle, grounded presence will help soothe the client’s body and mind.


When I used to study the Japanese martial art called jujutsu, my favorite drill was to be attacked while blindfolded. The challenge to the person on the mat was to rely on nothing but their proprioception (the neurological awareness of the body in space) to defend themselves. I was reminded of Obi Wan Kenobi’s classic guidance in Star Wars to trust the feeling of the Force instead of the fickle vision of the eyes. “Your eyes can mislead you,” he tells the inexperienced Luke Skywalker during his first practice with the light saber, “Don’t trust them.”

Vision is a tremendously powerful sense. So powerful, in fact, that it can and often does “unground” us and scatter our attention. As I seek to help my students develop a grounded, centered presence and the quality of touch that goes with professional massage therapy, I am frequently amazed at how consciously disconnecting from this often overwhelming sense can serve us.

In a recent MFT Palpation class, we were watching a video produced by Books of Discovery, makers of our well-loved Trail Guide to the Body. At one point, the presenter Andrew Biel gives the tip to close the eyes while seeking to palpate (touching to gain knowledge) a muscle. It was great to hear this from such an esteemed expert on muscle palpation, and I reiterated it to the group. When we close our eyes, we begin to reduce the flow of information to our brain, allowing us to tune in to some of the subtler signals that we may be receiving, but tuning out.


The skin is an extraordinary sense organ. One square inch of skin on the palm contains over 130 yards of nerves, specialized to detect subtle changes in pressure, heat, vibration, texture, and much, much more. Closing the eyes takes our attention temporarily away from the fast-paced and distracting world around us, and begins to tune our attention to the vast spectrum of subtle sensation that many of us habitually tune out. And so if you are feeling ungrounded, feeling distracted, or just feeling like you want to experience something (like a new muscle you’ve just learned!) with more depth, let me invite you to follow the wisdom of the Jedi, Don Juan, my old jujutsu Sensei, and my many excellent vision-impaired students…

… and close your eyes to “see”!

written by William Mathis, Teacher and Mentor,
National Holistic Institute of Petaluma, CA

October 24, 2013   5 Comments

Massage: No Bones About It? Think Again.

-by Sabrina Italia,
NHI Mentor and Instructor

What do bones have to do with massage therapy anyway? After all, massage therapists focus on soft tissue like muscles and the tissue that attaches muscles to bone, not the bones themselves. However, it’s essential for budding therapists to know the location of bones to provide safe touch.

National Holistic Institute’s 900 hour core program starts with the basics such as name and location of bones. The first anatomy class new juniors have is “Bones Class”. In this class students receive their first Anatomy textbook “Trail Guide to the Body.” They learn to navigate through the book, eventually using it as an assessment tool and even to educate clients in a visual way.

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 2.21.12 PM

Once students can easily identify bones and muscles, they move into more advanced anatomy. Immediately following the foundational bones and muscles classes, they transition into Kinesiology. This is where they learn the details of how muscles attach and move bones.

Students are encouraged to continue their education in National Holistic Institute’s 450 hour Advanced Neuromuscular Massage Therapy program where they get the opportunity to label a cadaver as opposed to a chart.



You may think of a pirate ship or Halloween when you think of skeletons, but when we take a closer look, our existence relies on our healthy bones in many ways. Let’s take a look at some ways our bodies would not be able to function properly without healthy bone function.

Bones provide an important defense system protecting organs which would otherwise be left vulnerable. Aside from that, we would be immobile without them. Our bones provide attachments for muscles; together they create the lever and pulley mechanism that allows movement. The relationship between bones and muscles is undeniably linked…literally!

As a matter of fact movement and exercise provide needed chemicals in our bodies for healthy emotional and mental function. Ever been stuck in bed for a few days?? Most of us get sick of being in bed and need to move around so we don’t go stir crazy.

Did you know that our bone marrow is directly responsible for all of Red Blood cell production and 60% white blood cell production? That’s right; any dysfunction with this process could be devastating! Have you thanked your bone marrow today?

The next time you see a skeleton remember that bones are as alive as you are!

If you’re interested in learning more about the program, contact admissions to get a class pass!

        _ ,.
       ( `  )
        |  |
        | "|_
        | ,__)
        | \,   -See you 'round the massage table!
        |  |
       (_,  )

September 30, 2013   8 Comments

Welcome Weary Athletes: Post-Ironman Sports Massage with National Holistic Institute

-written by Lucas Nevarez,
Instructor and Mentor, NHI Sacramento

Sunday September 22nd 2013 marked the very first Ironman Triathlon in the Lake Tahoe area. It will definitely be an event to remember for all parties involved. National Holistic Institute was invited to support the athletes after the event by providing recovery-oriented “post event” sports massage.


To say the event was grueling and demanding on the human body is an understatement.

Imagine if you will:

A race that begins before dawn… It begins with a 2.4 mile swim in frigid waters of Lake Tahoe that is enough to wear down the average body.  As they emerged from the icy waters, they were met with freezing air temperature; lows were in the 30’s that morning!

Then they continued with a brisk 112 mile bike ride through the gorgeous windy mountain roads. What lay ahead, aside from the gorgeous backdrop of the Serra Nevada range – were steep, lengthy grade changes that would make most legs quiver.

And… to cap it all off, they finished with 26.2 mile run; a full marathon! At an elevation of 6000 feet, I imagine it was a little hard to breath during the entire event.

Racers finished within 7 – 16 hours. Yes, some worked out from 7am till midnight.

Everybody could have used a massage after a day like that.

The energy of the finishers was a combination of jubilation, elation and relief. In the mix were many cases of hypothermia: (meaning) shock, nausea, muscle cramps and disorientation. We did not work on those people – they went straight to the medical tent.

The good news is that many made it to the finish line and could still walk. They moseyed into the warm massage tent and into our welcoming hands.


I have never seen so many people so happy to get a massage. Having massage therapists present really made a difference for hundreds of athletes. Most people felt better after receiving bodywork, they were able to walk a little more up right and a little less wobbly.

For all you Iron Men and Iron Women…well… all athletes for that matter – I leave you with this thought:

Massage Therapy as part of your training cycle as well as after major events will help keep your body at peak performance.


To learn more about a career as a Sports Massage Therapist, click here to visit our website!


Have you provided massage for athletes?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

September 26, 2013   5 Comments

How To Find Work You’ll Love Before You Graduate Massage School

National Holistic Institute’s missions statement, “Helping People Have Work They Love” would never work without considering a truly holistic approach.  Not only do all of the mentors, staff, and peers at NHI contribute to the success of each individual, but we also reach out past the NHI community.

Massage Envy is one of our many Preferred Partners – employers that know and trust that graduates of NHI are the best out there.  The mutually beneficial nature of these relationships are proven in the success that many of our graduates continually find with our preferred partners.  In addition to offering students of NHI unprecedented access to their massage therapist positions, Massage Envy also gives back to our students in many ways.

Nick Navas, a Senior in Group 40 at National Holistic Institute in Petaluma recently attended a Massage Envy Hiring event on campus and came out of it not only with a job as a massage therapist before he graduated, but was also able to take advantage of their tuition reimbursement program which helps recent graduates pay off $1500.00 of their tuition in their first year at M.E.!  Check out this interview with Nick to learn more about their program and to hear how he did it!


Two more students who just graduated from the Petaluma campus of NHI are already employed by Massage Envy. One of them, Darcy Blain, qualified for the tuition reimbursement program, $1500.00!  She additionally won the quarterly M.E. scholarship of $500.00, totaling $2000 to apply towards her tuition. Darcy is one very happy grad.  You can read more about Massage Envy’s quarterly scholarship for NHI grads by clicking here.

The tuition reimbursement program is made possible by Gina Drohan, owner of Massage Envy locations in both Napa and Novato – all NHI students and grads are encouraged to apply for the program and can get more info via email for the location they are interested in:




Congratulations to Nick, Darcy, and many other NHI grads who have work that they love!

August 27, 2013   No Comments

Hands for Humanity Massage | Taking Care of Yourself is Taking Care of Your Community

This week’s blog post highlights a unique business founded and run by graduates of National Holistic Institute.

Hands for Humanity Massage is a local, Midtown massage business that cycles funds back into local non-profits in the Sacramento area. They provide the opportunity to receive a massage and support a local non-profit at the same time by giving 10% of your massage cost back to a non-profit of your choice.

Jenna Maggard, founder and owner of Hands for Humanity Massage, has created a business model that not only helps to heal individuals, but the larger community as well.

Jenna’s co-founder and fellow NHI graduate Chene Watson, both graduated from the Sacramento campus and live in Midtown. They have a passion for massage but they love their community as well and take pride in being a local, Midtown Sacramento massage business. This being the main reason for why they are focusing on being part of events that take place in Midtown area. They have collaborated on two Second Saturdays with an art event called Art Bazaar; set up chair massage sessions at Insight Coffee Roasters for their “Cappy Hour” every Thursday; set up a chair massage event at The Art Complex, and another chair massage event at a CD release party at The Guild Theater of Oak Park, Sacramento.

“My education at NHI is the reason I am able to create this dream into a reality. NHI provides an in-depth education of several massage modalities, kinesiology, anatomy, pathology, physiology, and business. My mentor and all the staff at NHI have also provided incredible support, during school and after graduation. All the staff has played a role in developing the massage therapist I am today. I can’t thank each and every one of them enough for the tools, the patience, the love, the time they have made available for me, and the encouragement.” -Jenna Maggard

Hands for Humanity Massage invites you to learn more about them or to book an in-home/office/on-location massage. You can visit them at or just call Jenna Maggard at (707) 631-1366 or Chene Watson at (916) 396-1701.

July 30, 2012   No Comments

National Holistic Institute Sports Massage Therapists at The Oakland Running Festival

Waking up before dawn isn’t always the easiest thing to do… but when it’s for a Sports Team Event like the Oakland Running Festival, you can be sure that the day ahead will be full of excitement.

Some National Holistic Institute students were so eager that they beat the instructors to the site.  While dark clouds filled the sky, the students’ spirits remained bright.  As we began setting up the tent prepared for the team, we knew there wasn’t going to be enough room. The Emeryville campus and Sabrina Italia even came prepared with two additional tents – still, there were at least 8 tables that were left to brave the elements.

Before the event began, Curtis Hisao led our crew in a briefing to lay out our expectations for the day and of course… took some group pictures!  One of the Emeryville Team, one of the San Jose Team and the all inclusive team picture.  (You can see the sun trying its best to come out to greet us)

Over 9,000 people participated in the Running Festival this year and as the students can attest, the runners came in tsunami-sized waves to the massage tent.  First the 5K and 10K runners were treated to the bodywork… then after a 45 minute pause in the action, the Half and Full Marathoners came crashing down on the massage tent. With support from Dr. Jessica Greaux and InnerSport Chiropractic, the team completed over 450 complimentary massage sessions, including one special session for a national spokes…gecko???

The NHI Team enjoyed their 3rd year supporting the efforts of The Oakland Running Festival and with the continued growth of the event, it appears to have a bright and exciting future ahead.

To connect with the NHI Sports Massage Team, visit our Sports Massage Facebook Page, or learn more about the Team on our website!

March 28, 2012   1 Comment

The Book of Sun Chaser | Insights Into a Holistic Life From NHI Massage Student

This week’s blog post is brought to you courtesy of Johnathan Levy, NHI student and author of The Book of Sun Chaser: Life As Eye See It. For many, NHI is not only a place to learn about massage therapy, but also a place to grow as an individual. A lot of our students take advantage of the flexibility of being a massage therapist by pursuing their passions alongside massage and healing.  Reggie Wright for example, continues along his path of being a musician as well as a massage therapist, the two constantly feeding and supplementing each other.

Johnathan has taken the opportunity to learn from the holistic and connective power of massage therapy and has included many snippets of advice, inspiration and wisdom that anyone, including his fellow massage therapists, could benefit from.

Book of Sun Chaser: Life as Eye See It

The Book of Sun Chaser: Life As Eye See It, is a collection of profoundly simplistic, divinely appointed, life inspired wisdoms, insights, and knowledge transcribed with an intention and purpose to motivate, encourage, challenge, question, inspire, illuminate and help. As I mention in my book, all that I have ever gone through, experienced, learned, been privy to, etc. I share in the most genuine and sincere hope that it can help another. Topics incorporated in The Book of Sun Chaser, include the concepts of Natural versus Super-Natural, Reacting versus Responding, Balance, Harmony, Energy, Self – Fulfillment, and a host of other topics designed to improve quality of life physically and metaphysically.

The concept of Natural versus Super-Natural refers to living a life of mediocrity, never truly pushing oneself, settling versus living a life of striving for excellence in everything that you make yourself available to. Reacting versus Responding refers to acting rashly and hastily off of emotion versus thinking before you act, speak, and or do, acting off an intelligent decision.  Balance, in life, in all aspects: mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, resulting in increased Harmony in your life.  Also, being aware of your Energy and the Energy of your environment, whether it is positive and uplifting or negative and detrimental. And Self-Fulfillment, truly taking the time out to discover who you are and what makes you happy and fulfilled.

All of the mentioned principles and topics are all vital towards becoming a better human being. And by becoming a better human being, you will become better at what you apply yourself to.  A specific example of this being Massage Therapy. These principles, which mirror principles and knowledge shared at the National Holistic Institute of Massage Therapy, allow me as a Massage Therapist to be more grounded and in a state of peace; providing me greater control over my intention, awareness, understanding of various modalities, ailments, energy (Chi), emotional state, etc. Producing a more enjoyable and therapeutic session for my clients as well as myself.

Massage Therapy has directly improved my life experiences by allowing me to gain more knowledge of the human body, how it works, and how I can impact it. Thus increasing my ability to improve my quality of life, my ability to deliver aid, and heal in another form. As well as being an excellent networking tool. The world of Massage Therapy has exposed me to a more diverse and expanded segment of society. Another real life benefit of Massage Therapy is that it allows me to have greater control over my schedule and life. I am able to have the option now of when I want to “work” or devote time to other endeavors. Massage Therapy has in essence removed the constrictions, allowing me greater flexibility. This greater flexibility encourages and provides a platform for greater personal fulfillment.

~Johnathan Levy

February 6, 2012   4 Comments

National Holistic Institute named Massage Therapy School of the Year by the World Massage Festival

National Holistic Institute has been named 2012 Massage Therapy School of the Year at the World Massage Festival to be held in Las Vegas, August 19-22, 2012! 

“Today, NHI is one of the most respected and largest schools of massage therapy in the world. Their history and network of relationships in the field continue to help graduates have success and help keep their fingers on the pulse of the dynamic field of massage therapy.” – Massage Magazine

When you go to work every day and you love what you do, it’s surprising and humbling to receive recognition for it.  That’s how all of us at NHI felt when we heard that the World Massage Festival had chosen us as the Massage Therapy School of the Year.  For several years, this well-established festival has been home to the Massage Hall of Fame, complete with a who’s who of massage profession inductees.  To now be permanently acknowledged alongside those industry luminaries is an incomparable privilege.  For all the staff and students who have and will come through the NHI doors over the decades, we look forward to accepting this honor on their behalf.

More than three decades of hard work and commitment to the massage field has led to this recognition. Carol Carpenter, founder of NHI, had a vision of what massage education could be. Carol built a school whose roots still feed and support the organization today.  The foundation she built was made of knowledge, professionalism, and a deep dedication to excellence. In 2003, Carol Carpenter retired and Mason Myers and Tim Veitzer stepped in and continue to lead in the tradition of excellence.

Tim and Mason have grown NHI to be a statewide massage school with six (soon to be seven) thriving campuses. Today NHI offers the most current state of the art education available in massage therapy. Over the years, we have continued to refine our curriculum in order stay current with the growth of the massage industry and ensure that our graduates are ready to be successful in any area of the massage field they choose.

Our graduates work in a wide variety of industry specialization including the allied medical professions, spa industry, private practice, sports and fitness. Today the possibilities are virtually endless. The massage industry has grown tremendously and more and more job opportunities open up every day. It is a very exciting time to be a massage therapist!

NHI is growing along with the field. In addition to a foundational education in massage therapy, NHI now offers a 400-hour Advanced Neuromuscular Massage Therapy Program for massage therapists wishing to specialize in therapeutic massage. We also have robust sport massage and professional on-site teams that provide massage at events and locations around the state. We have had as many as 120 massage therapists gathered together to offer massage to the runners of the Nike Women’s Marathon, and participate in many more events year round.

We are proud of our growth and achievements, but our biggest accomplishment is our students. They go out into the field and bring professional, positive and healing touch to so many. We are proud to know that we have sent thousands of massage professionals into the field, and they in turn have enriched the lives of thousands and thousands more whom they’ve touched. Our graduates have helped those suffering from long-term and sometimes debilitating pain, supported women as they go through pregnancy and childbirth, provided comfort and care to those who need it,  helped professional athletes improve their performance, and generally have helped to decrease the stress levels of all with whom they come in contact.  You might even say our graduates are changing the world one touch at a time.
Massage Magazine National Holistic Institute World Massage Festival

To read Massage Magazine’s article about the prestigious award bestowed on NHI, click the following link.

January 31, 2012   3 Comments

From Dream to Reality: A New Massage Practice is Born | NHI Massage Blog Guest Post

This week, we bring you a post from a few of our graduates – Gathering all they have learned at NHI, the San Jose campus alumni opened the Silicon Valley Massage Therapy Group, LLC.  Their doors opened to the public in November of 2011 and they are on their way to a thriving new business. Their mission? “Exceptional body work, Exceptional results”… and we know they mean what they say. Without further ado, please allow us to introduce NHI grad Bard Williams of SV Massage Therapy Group:

“NHI isn’t just a place to get a world-class education as a massage therapist – it’s also an incubator for new entrepreneurs.  As graduates we all have our dreams of how we might use our new skills – maybe a thriving private practice, working in an elegant spa, or following a sports team. There are lots of options!  As a marketing exec and “serial entrepreneur”, I’ve always liked the challenge of building a business from the ground up.  A massage practice has lots of moving parts and the process seemed nearly impossible at the beginning and I quickly realized that several heads were way better than one.  I didn’t have to look far – two other really talented therapists were sitting right next to me in class!  So, on 11/1/11, three NHI-San Jose students, Mayke Weiber, Javier Nikaido and I, launched the Silicon Valley Massage Therapy Group.

So, it’s official.  We’re a “Silicon Valley startup” with big dreams.  We quickly expanded the team to include fellow NHI student Sharon Lee whose amazing skills, positive energy and administrative talents helped us stay grounded and organized.  We found an amazing location and worked through the process of licensing and getting the space ready. Then, as we each became CAMTC certified, we picked up more NHI students and alumni as therapists or to help with reception work.  All of us continue to learn about the business of massage therapy. Luckily, we’ve got the support of classmates, our NHI instructors, friends, family and a whole bunch of people who appreciate our skills.

Now we’re all focused on attracting clients and building the practice. It’s so good to put into action the things we learned at NHI – from business and marketing to great bodywork, we all feel very prepared to move ahead with our dreams of a successful practice. We invite you to book a session with us online at or give us a call at (408) 260–CALM (2256), or contact us about employment opportunities at Mention this blog post and we’ll give you a nice discount.”


January 9, 2012   No Comments