“Please allow me to introduce myself….”
My name is Jeff and I’m a recovered doctor and therapist. Allow me to explain. While I have spent most of much adult life in education and have practiced as a member of the Structural Integration, chiropractic, manual osteopathic and somatic communities, today I seek a different, more “right-sized” identity. I am a music lover, a poet, a step-father, and a shameless tree-hugger from Santa Cruz. I have work I love, teaching at the San Jose campus of the National Holistic Institute (NHI). I try to be useful, as well, at my offices in Santa Cruz and Los Gatos. And now I am happy to announce that I’ll be the new blogmeister for NHI, and am look forward to conversing with you in these virtual “fireside chats.” As such, I invite your comments, suggestions for future posts, or questions as they arise below each post.
When I was younger, growing up in the—believe it or not—countryside of New Jersey, I loved running through corn mazes set up at pumpkin patches in honor of Halloween. I ran in at a full sprint, fervently trying to outsmart the twisting labyrinth. Inevitably however, there would be that moment of panic in which I felt stuck in the maze. I’d reach a dead end, or get turned around, such that the path to the exit seemed obstructed or unclear. In those moments, even though the maze had an exit that I was perfectly capable of finding, it felt like I would be stumbling up and down the green pathways forever. It was guidance from those around me that eventually helped me to find the exit.
I often use a similar metaphor with clients when we talk about where they are stuck, how they got there, and how we can work together to find a way out: The exit to the maze is there, and although it may feel so far away in the moment, each of my clients has the tools they need—a body, a nervous system, and a mind that is in union with the body– to triumphantly emerge into the sunlight. Perhaps what I value most about the holistic vision taught and embodied at NHI is that my role in the healing process is not to run in the exit, find the person, and drag them out. Rather, there is a respect for their process and a basic assumption that individuals will flourish as they become more in touch with the cellular wisdom beneath their skin. Perhaps Neruda said it best when he likened a healer to a fellow traveler: ”Our real job in life is, first, to live an awakened and golden life and to walk with those in need, never ahead of or behind, on their life path, humbly pointing out obstacles in the road as we see them, bearing witness to this difficult, miraculous journey.”
My name is Jeff, and I am a fellow traveler.
December 10, 2013 2 Comments
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!
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
“The darkness of the day is the best time to see”
- Don Juan to Carlos Castaneda
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 6 Comments
-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.
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 2 Comments
A brief article by David Bloomer, mentor and teacher at NHI Petaluma
A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit Jamaica. During my brief stop over I walked through a butterfly house. There were several varieties of butterflies, some indigenous to Jamaica, others from similar climates around the world.
Our guide talked to us about the lifecycle of the butterfly, something that often has fascinated me. From a tiny egg, which hatches into a caterpillar, which turns into a chrysalis, or pupa; the final stage before it becomes an adult butterfly.
A caterpillar builds its chrysalis on the plant that will be its food source when it emerges. Just as it lays its eggs on a leaf of the plant from with the newly hatches caterpillar must feed. While it is crawling about there is a purpose for everything it does. Throughout its brief time on the ground it is preparing itself for the process of metamorphosis which it is about to begin.
It is what occurs during the chrysalis phase that I find most fascinating, not that the entire process is anything less than wondrous. While within its chrysalis structure the entire being melts into a sort of soup. It no longer has a body. There are no eyes, not legs, no furry outside, just a soupy, melted down mixture. It is literally rewriting its own being.
From this soup comes the beautiful butterfly. It has the ability to fly instead of crawl. It feeds and drinks in an entirely different manner. In short, its entire way of existence changes as it moves from crawler to flier.
What does this have to do with massage therapy, you ask?
Quite a bit, actually, but that is for another time. Today I am thinking about what it has in common with massage therapy school.
When a new pupil walks through the door, entering the classroom for the first time, they are very much the caterpillar. What they will become they may only be starting to imagine. While it is sometimes too easy to pass judgment on people based on appearance or on apparent ability or lack thereof, in truth, like the caterpillar, with the right set of circumstances they can become whatever they can imagine themselves to be.
Thank goodness no one is limited based on someone else’s opinion of their abilities, their strengths and weaknesses that might seem apparent at first glance.
It is difficult to fully relate the feeling of walking through this process, as every teacher at NHI has done, or of being witness to the process. It is nothing short of amazing.
As the butterfly must struggle to break the bonds of the chrysalis when it is time to emerge, so the student goes through challenges, whether relating to curriculum or to life outside the classroom.
Yes it is amazing to watch the caterpillar transform itself into a butterfly. It is also quite a thrill to what a human being transform from a single parent, struggling to make ends meet with a life in turmoil to a thriving therapist, making a powerful difference for others with their work.
That is metamorphosis: a striking alteration in appearance, character or circumstances: (Mirriam-Webster). Sometimes all three happen simultaneously.
September 16, 2013 1 Comment
~written by Sabrina Italia
One thing that stands out most about National Holistic Institutes Core Program is the public clinic. Once students learn a full body sequence, either in Swedish or Zen Shiatsu massage and pass their evaluation, they have a practice clinic.
Practice clinic is a class in the core program that allows juniors to connect with their seniors about any questions or concerns they may have about working with the general public. Juniors get their first taste of greeting clients, conducting a brief assessment, doing a 50 minute massage, and then escorting the client back to the lobby where students practice educating and rebooking with their seniors.
Students also learn how to run the front desk. They book appointments, handle money and deal with any issues, like last minute cancellations, that come up. These experiences are of great value, especially for students that want to have a private practice.
The class starts with an opening circle. In that circle, the juniors speak first about any excitement, nervousness, or insecurity they might be experiencing, at this point the teacher steps back to let the juniors have center stage. As the seniors listen, they start to think back about their first clinic. Allowing the juniors speak out their concerns and have them addressed by their seniors is very powerful.
First, it gives juniors the platform to talk about their fears in a safe space. Then the seniors step in and encourage their juniors with personal experiences and fears they had during their first clinic. There’s usually at least one amusing story that helps to break the tension. Plus it’s nice for students to hear it from a classmate as opposed to a seasoned teacher.
The value in having that experience while still attending school is beyond is one that students carry throughout their career. Many massage therapists out there took their first client at their first job without the support of their mentors and classmates. This creates confidence that is evident when graduates of NHI go out and start working.
Students have the benefit of psychologically ironing out situations like, “what if a client only wants me to work in a specific area for 50 minutes” or “my client has a recent injury, can I work on that area or not?” These questions and so many more come up during practice clinic. A teacher is present for all clinics and frequently checks in to make sure clients and students are getting what they need in the moment.
By the end of practice clinic, students feel much more confident about their first public clinic, not to mention it helps the group to bond together as a team.
National Holistic Institute offers student massages on most days. Visit our website for more information or to book an appointment:
September 3, 2013 No Comments
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
by Heidi Sue Roth, CMT Instructor, NHI
The saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” As massage therapists, I believe this message goes one step deeper.
Massage can be a busy reality: techniques to learn and practice, paperwork to complete, marketing tasks, and perhaps laundry on top of clients combine into a significant workload. Therapists or students may loose track of what brought us to this industry. Today I encourage you to take a moment and tune into the incredible privilege of providing therapeutic touch. Touch truly is a basic human need. From a parent’s hand soothing a fussy baby to a comforting hug from a loved one on a difficult day, we are built to give and receive physical contact.
Popular activities such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other technologies increase access while reducing in-person contact. Massage increases human contact in our high-tech, low-touch society. Each person who chooses to be on the table for a massage, as a student, in student clinic, spa, or private practice offers an amazing privilege. For a short period time both parties get to connect and interact in a basic human way. Healing, inspiration, and support happen during each connection – and these interactions can have a lasting effect. As a practicing therapist and instructor, these moments keep me in the field year after year.
Likewise, I want to inspire students to create this experience for themselves and others. The saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” As massage therapists, I believe this reality goes one step deeper. Clients don’t care how many techniques you know until they experience your care and acceptance in the moment. A brilliant stroke or movement applied without heart creates less impact and benefit. Incorporating your acceptance and care into each touch changes work from routine to essential. It also feeds the best in us as humans and a culture.
National Holistic Institute aims to create a safe space for students to become comfortable providing therapeutic massage while learning all of the techniques and skills necessary to find work they’ll love. For more about NHI, visit us at www.nhi.edu
How has massage therapy changed or influenced your life? Tell us in the comments or post your story to facebook by clicking the icons below!
July 15, 2013 8 Comments
One number reflects our mission more than any other. That number is our placement rate, and this year topped even last year’s incredible benchmark!
The placement rate shows the percentage of our alumni who have successfully gained or improved their employment status as a direct result of their education at National Holistic Institute. We must carefully track our graduates’ employment to remain nationally accredited and state approved. ACCET, the organization which accredits us on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, stipulates a placement rate of 70%. NHI handily beat that standard with an overall placement rate for 2012 of 86%!!
When compared to other vocational schools, massage or not, 86% greatly exceeds expectations, especially in an economy still deep in recovery with a limited job market. For those unfamiliar with placement rates, you may wonder, “why not 100%?” Well, life happens to people, even our students. Some relocate, pursue additional education, choose to remain in their current jobs a while longer, get pregnant, suffer illness, tend to family obligations, deploy in the military, and so on.
For massage therapy in particular, a number of students come to school for personal growth or to pursue massage as a pastime on which to practice on family and friends only, never intending to work. For all those considerations, ACCET sets the standard at 70% and NHI managed to high jump over it with 86%!
Everyone at NHI has the same mission to “help people have work they love.” So, achieving this incredible placement rate is a team effort. Of course, we have amazing alumni who came to NHI wanting to learn, desiring to change their careers, and followed up on their dreams upon graduation. Our placement rate is only as good as our graduates! But we hold one group most accountable for helping and tracking our students as they find work – our Student Life & Career Coordinators.
All seven campuses have an SLCC (known to us as “slick”) who often meets prospective students before they enroll, gets to know them from orientation on, guides them through externship and career launch, and ultimately helps them find work they love. This dedicated team, led by their fearless Placement Manager Emily Devenny, deserves our standing ovation.
“2012 was a year of new and exciting job opportunities for our NHI graduates. Many employers reached out directly to our local campuses to meet, interview and hire new Massage Therapists in industries ranging from Spa, to Sports and Fitness, Healthcare, and Corporate On-site,” reports Emily.
Phil Okazaki, the SLCC who led San Jose to 90.5% placement, adds, “I feel the Externship Program helps prepare students for their future job search; and in many cases, helps them get their foot in the door. In fact, with Externship Sites like the San Jose Sabercats and Stanford University Athletics, our students receive experiences that many would find difficult to obtain.”
To work as a massage therapist, one must obtain legal certification. SLCC’s help students with that certification during the course. San Francisco SLCC Alison Trujillo points out, “It is wonderful to see so many students CAMTC certified by the time they graduate. This means they are motivated and ready to work in the field right away!”
“With the knowledge and ability they obtain from our curriculum and the confidence they acquire through our externship and clinic programs,” says Emeryville SLCC Sara Ahmadi, “they are well supplied with all the tools they need for a successful job search before graduation.”
Interested in a career in massage therapy? Our SLCC’s look forward to helping YOU have work you love!
Contact the NHI team today: www.nhi.edu
June 17, 2013 No Comments
-written by Sabrina Italia, NHI Instructor.
Ever wondered why you feel great for a few days after your massage only to find your aches and pains resurface just as they were before the massage?? Most people believe that massage alone can reverse muscle and fascial patterns. In many ways it can, and does short term.
However, sometimes mechanical massage alone isn’t enough to allow a person to release tension and anxiety. When working out a plan with your Massage Therapist, including different modalties may create extended benefits and maybe even permanent reversal of postural deviations or tissue and muscle “stuckness”. In both our Core and Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy programs, NHI teaches students numerous modalities and how to alter the perpetuating factors that can keep clients in pain if unaddressed.
Last week I taught a class to group 18 on the Emeryville campus. In this class we talk about emotional effects on our muscles and joints. Have you ever walked up to a friend and without even saying anything noticed something’s “wrong” just because of their body language? Often times our first response is a hand on the shoulder or back to show support. Sometimes just that initial touch can begin to help someone feel better. In this class we apply “Compassionate Touch” which is simply addressing tense areas with quiet hands (hands that remain still, or mostly still). We find these areas by visually assessing a client’s body to see if they seem to be holding any tension in their body.
I did a demonstration of “Compassionate Touch” on Richard. We observed that he seemed to be keeping his arms tight against his body, enough to make his left shoulder rise up and his chin was slightly tilted up in a potentially defensive manner. (Before)
After the “Compassionate Touch” was applied, we did see a change in how he held himself, and noticed that his shoulder and chin did drop down into a more relaxed state. While the results were minimal, the long term effect could be very beneficial. (After)
Because we prepped the body by getting rid of that initial layer of tension, it’s likely that the benefits of the massage will go farther.
There are many modalities that “prep” the body for mechanical massage. Either way massage is a great and effective tool in stress reduction and is great at helping restore range of motion in joints and tissue.
Research; choose a well-trained, certified massage therapist and get the most out of your massage!
May 28, 2013 1 Comment
Staff Day lives on! Even though National Holistic Institute’s All Staff Day 2013 occurred a month ago, the memories live on in our minds, our new initiatives, and – where else? – the internet.
The San Jose campus presentation, or at least a portion of it, has found a life of its own on the internet. Inspired by the wildly popular web craze, the San Jose staff inserted their version of the Harlem Shake into their campus video. The unexpected presentation detour left the Staff Day audience rolling in the aisles. San Jose’s Harlem Shake found its way to YouTube where the public could witness the goofier side of NHI.
(The above clip is taken from the full video, which can be found here)
NHI’s motto is “helping people have work they love.” Of course this applies to us helping our students thrive in the massage therapy profession, but that starts with everyone who works at NHI loving the work they have. So, while we take our mission seriously, we make sure to have fun with what we do every day. Having fun makes the work seem…well…less like work, improves the learning environment, and produces silliness like the Harlem Shake.
As part of NHI’s All Staff Day, each campus puts together a 10-minute presentation. Some are videos (like San Jose this year), others are live skits, and some we’re still trying to figure out. These presentations highlight the events and staff of the past year for other campuses to see while showing the interconnectedness of NHI. Always from the heart, they often use humor to make a point and laugh about our workplace foibles (CampusVue, anyone?).
Santa Ana celebrated being the newest of the seven campuses by linking to the others through the Seven Chakras of NHI. A rather unkempt fairy made all of StudioCity’s wishes come true. San Francisco showed that they beat to a different drum with a musical interlude. Petaluma stirred the pot with some NHI stew, while Sacramento grew to new heights. And Emeryville took a trip to outer space, where they apparently forgot to bring back Al.
We already look forward to next year’s Staff Day when we can reflect on the upcoming year’s events that have yet to happen. Until then, enjoy the Shake!
Do you have a memorable experience from your company’s staff day? Tell us about it in the comments below!
May 14, 2013 No Comments
National Holistic Institute Staff Anniversaries (Staff Day Post 2 of 3)
Brandy & Monica belted out The Boy is Mine, Bruce Willis saved the world from an imminent asteroid in Armageddon, and Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to the NBA Championship one last time. It was 1998, the year National Holistic Institute founder Carol Carpenter hired a recent college graduate named Jennifer as an admissions representative.
At this year’s NHI All Staff Day, Jennifer Jhanda celebrated 15 years with NHI! In that time, she has gotten married, had a beautiful daughter, and worked her way up the ranks to her current position as Vice President of Admissions. Starting out, the phone and snail mail were an admissions rep’s primary tools. Now, Jennifer oversees a complex network of emails, texts, and Google metrics (Google also began their world domination in 1998). The one thing that hasn’t changed in 15 years is her mission to help people find work they love by matching aspiring massage therapists to the school of their dreams, NHI.
Fast forward five years. The Lord of the Rings found Oscar gold, audiences found Nemo, and NHI found new ownership. 2003 brought a lot new to NHI. After 24 years, founder Carol Carpenter passed along the NHI torch to Mason Myers and Tim Veitzer. This year’s All Staff Day saw Mason celebrating 10 years with NHI! (Tim fully joined a bit later, so he’ll get his turn next year.) Mason commemorated the occasion by thanking all the staff who took a chance and risked the journey with him. And what a journey it’s been! Among many milestones in the last decade, NHI expanded from 1 campus to 7 and added the Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy (or ANMT) program.
Mason had good company up on the NHI stage as four other staff members celebrated 10 years as well. Linda Rikli, Vice President of Education, has commandeered an ever-growing and changing department. She has coordinated the expansion of our core curriculum from 720 to 900 hours, overseen the development of our 450-hour Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy program, and become our unofficial (and perhaps unwilling) tech guru as the one in charge of upgrading our school software system.
Linda’s journey could not have been as successful, robust, or certainly as funny without her partner in crime and office neighbor, our Dean of Students Ron Peat, also celebrating a tenth of a century here at NHI. Under Ron, the student services department has grown to offer more with dedicated staff at every campus. He even accomplished the awe-inspiring feat of increasing an already stupendous completion rate as well. And he keeps us laughing! (Did I mention he has a son named Kevin?)
1,350 hours of NHI education requires copious pages of teacher documents, PowerPoint slides, and over 1,000 pages of student handouts. Keeping all of this together is one woman, Ron’s office neighbor and our Curriculum Coordinator Sharlene Philip. A teacher before her current role, Sharlene also celebrates 10 years at NHI! She shares this milestone with fellow teacher Esko Homsi.
An accomplished teacher in our core program for many years, Esko became one of our first instructors to teach the Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy program a few years back.Mostly, though, he is known throughout NHI for his annual toast at the company holiday party. We love you, man!
Time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like yesterday that Barack Obama was first elected President; Batman, Iron Man, and Indiana Jones were battling for the box office; and Tiger Woods was still winning the U.S. Open. But in reality that was five years ago – 2008, in fact, when four more staffers joined NHI.
Celebrating 5 years teaching at NHI are Darlene Campo and Patrick Keehan! Demonstrating the diverse backgrounds our teaching staff brings to NHI, Darlene (a clown college graduate) makes learning fun for students every day, while Patrick lets his lomilomi (Hawaiian massage) training guide him. Patrick shared the seven principles of lomilomi at our Staff Day and we felt it worthwhile to share here (http://www.sacredlomi.com/articles-lomi/principles-of-huna/).
Rounding out the 10 anniversaries we applauded at this year’s Staff Day are the two Lupitas, both observing 5 years with NHI. Lupita Laney always greets prospective students with a smile as one of our admissions reps and Lupita Ruiz went from punching the telephone keypad as our receptionist to hitting the calculator buttons as one of our financial aid analysts.
We thank these 10 people as both our co-workers and friends. They join good company. Almost half of the employees at NHI have been here over 5 years and 1 in 5 have been here 10 years or more. That puts the employee average at roughly 7 years, which means a lot of combined massage education experience for our students.
Still, they’ve got a ways to go to beat our 20 years and counting veterans who still clock in. Jim, Melissa, and Pat, keep showing us all how it’s done!
April 11, 2013 No Comments
The guy in the tie stood out. He cautiously peered through the Berkeley fog at the hundred or so people surrounding him. Unsure of the rules, but willing to play, he gamely followed their every choreographed move.
Embrace tiger. Combine heaven and earth. Give from your center. Gather what you need.
As Marianna gently voiced each command, the crowd echoed in unison with the appropriate movement. These words, these motions have been repeated again and again throughout the classrooms of National Holistic Institute since tai chi master Al Huang gifted them so many years ago. And, as the man in the tie discovered, every Staff Day begins with them.
Dr. Scott Fitzgibbon has worked in almost all aspects of vocational education. He now shares his wisdom as a noted speaker with schools across the country. But even with many miles and schools behind him, this was the first time he had found himself in the midst of an entire staff performing tai chi all together. They welcomed this somewhat overdressed stranger as one of their own.
Starting the day in a different way turned out to fit Dr. Fitzgibbon’s presentation perfectly. As part of a larger conversation, he talked about how people, to achieve what they truly want, must change their habits, get out of the routine, and look at life differently. Just as Dr. Fitzgibbon pushed us to re-evaluate how we did things, we surely shook him out of his patterns a bit too.
A related topic revolved around defining our own beliefs. This topic particularly hit home with the crowd because, for the last year beginning with Staff Day 2012, the staff of NHI has engaged in various exercises to define what exactly NHI believes. This day would reveal the results of the quest for those beliefs.
To arrive at this destination, all staff submitted what they believed NHI stood for. Working as both individuals and teams, the list of potential beliefs grew to the hundreds. Then, given time of reflection and process of elimination, the staff helped whittle those beliefs down to their core. With much pride and honor, here they are:
NHI Believes In…
• Positive Energy Flowing
• Building Confidence, Creating Opportunity
• Empty Cups and Full Journeys
• Telling the Truth with Compassion
• Providing Safe Space
• Teamwork Making the Dream Work
• Sustainability Through Kaizen
• Creativity and Consistency
• Every body Having a Story
• Embracing Tiger
As these beliefs began to define themselves, the question arose, “What exactly do we do with them?” Much as the beliefs themselves came from the staff, so did suggestions for their display. Ultimately, our curriculum coordinator Sharlene Philip had the winning concept. She incorporated the beliefs into the “fingers” of the NHI logo. Now these beliefs can hang at all seven NHI campuses as a daily reminder of who we are and what we stand for.
All Staff Day is a tradition that convenes every employee of all seven NHI campuses together in Northern California for two days of business, self development, connection, and celebration – mostly lots of happy tears and joyous laughter!
Stay tuned for more Staff Day inspirations in our next posts…
April 5, 2013 3 Comments
by Tiahna Skye
Regulating massage therapy in Petaluma is rife with questions and issues, and demands the serious attention it has been given… and more.
What should we be regulating? What are the possible unintended results? Will legitimate massage therapists be adversely impacted while attempting to restrict prostitution? And how do we oversee the healthy growth of massage therapy as the next advancement in collaborative health care?
I am concerned that the goal of establishing quality controls, educational requirements, and best practice standards is getting lost in a “power struggle” while the dialogue between law enforcement, the community, and massage therapists deteriorates.
Many currently practicing massage therapists want a more lenient local regulation that would create a “grandfather clause”, separate from the new State permit requirements set forth by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC). A clause of this nature would allow these working massage therapists to continue practicing in town without the need for additional education. The argument has been made that those with less than 100 hours of massage specific education have historically provided good care, and should not be subject to additional burdensome requirements.
CAMTC was founded by massage therapists to regulate our own field. The requirements set forth were agreed upon by a large and diverse group of massage, law enforcement, and other health care professionals seeking to define standards of expertise in the interest of public health and safety. Additionally, the hope was that these efforts would further the recognition of massage therapy as a legitimate and valuable health service.
The reality is that even if Petaluma chooses to adopt CAMTC requirements, California still has one of the lowest requirements of any state in the country. Massage therapy has become part of the medical field, and as such, there needs to be definition of the training, practices and ethics of the field. The public has a right to know that the therapy they seek for pain relief or injury rehabilitation is going to be performed by a skilled therapist with in-depth knowledge of applicable techniques, benefits and contraindications.
While I appreciate the City of Petaluma is striving to support the ongoing success of local businesses, I think it is important to also consider the profession in terms of emerging national standards and changing regulatory landscape.
No one opinion or constituency comes out the sole “winner” in this current version of the ordinance. I do believe however, that it addresses the issues well. For example, dictating a specific, professional dress code is unnecessary for lawful massage therapy businesses. Having been a massage therapist for 35 years, I have seen the field change and gain public recognition as a legitimate health service. It is a bit disheartening that we still must deal with any misperceptions as being entangled with the adult entertainment industry.
Nevertheless, I think it is important to remember, as we consider this ordinance, that the city and law enforcement are responding to valid issues of prostitution, and did not create this unfortunate circumstance. While I personally find denigrating the need for a dress code stipulating such things as opaque clothing, I recognize the need to take such measures is a result of the fact that illegal businesses use massage as a front for prostitution.
There are some who feel burdened by the need to meet the hourly educational requirements of the CAMTC certification. I know without a doubt that there are many current massage therapists who do perform a wonderful massage with only 100 or 150 hours of training. I was able to start my own career with 120 hours of training. That said, it is also a fact that at this time the public has no means of distinguishing between those who provide massage designed purely for relaxation, from those who practice therapeutic, issue-related massage techniques.
Regardless of training and experience, we all fall under one heading, Massage Therapist. Because of that I feel strongly that it is important to establish minimum education requirements that ensure public health and safety. As an educator in the field, I am committed to elevating the standing of our profession. To that end, National Holistic Institute offers support in the provision of free continuing education courses to help local practicing massage therapists achieve their permitting requirements, and hopefully alleviate some of the sense of burden they might feel.
I wish that I could say that as a community we had reached consensus about this ordinance. Unfortunately we did not arrive at that destination. My hope is that despite our differing views, we can rise above our individual wants and agree to the steps necessary to further our profession and support our local law enforcement in having the tools they need to ensure the safety of our entire community.
In the end, I think we all want the same things.
We would like to offer legitimate massage therapy services that provide support for the health and well being of those we serve. We would like to live and work in a community that is safe and free from crime. We would like to stand as professionals in the field of massage therapy and be recognized as legitimate and respectable. We would like the freedom to earn a livelihood through the means of our talents and skills. And, we would like to have a sense of belonging and meaningful contribution in the community in which we live and work. I think the city’s proposed ordinance meets those goals and I am in favor of approving it.
~ written by Tiahna Skye, Petaluma campus manager of the National Holistic Institute, a massage therapy school with locations in Emeryville, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose and Southern California. For more information about NHI, visit us at www.nhi.edu
What are your thoughts on the topic? Let us know in the comments below!
February 14, 2013 No Comments
January 17th marked a significant holiday for many of the students and Instructors at NHI. It was National Thank Your Mentor Day and anyone who has attended massage therapy school at NHI knows just how important and significant the role of Mentors are, both in and outside of the classroom. National Holistic Institute‘s mentor program pairs each student with a teacher who is also a professional in the massage field to become their point person if they have any questions about the class material, need a little extra push, or just need some guidance on how to become a successful therapist and bodyworker.
We were excited to see that many of our current Mentors actually went through the program before they began teaching under the mentorship of some of our other long-standing Mentor/Instructors – Check out the longest image we’ve ever blogged – a screenshot of some of our graduate comments:
If you haven’t had a chance to thank your mentor yet, you’re in luck! The holiday continues through the end of January. If you’ll see a mentor you’ve appreciated, tell them why you appreciate them – or if you prefer, go ahead and click here to add your 2 cents to the Facebook comments!
If you’re on Facebook and want to keep up with National Holistic Institute, you can Like our page at: facebook.com/NHImassageschool
(After you click “Like”, make sure to hover of the like button and click on “Get Notification” so you don’t miss out on our updates!)
If you’d like to get to know some of the instructors at your local NHI campus, you can start here: nhi.edu/about/people/instructors.html
NHI would like to thank ALL of the Staff and Mentors who allow us to continue bringing in some of the best massage therapy students in the country and who never cease to fulfill their mission of “Helping People Have Work They Love!”
January 22, 2013 No Comments
Sunday, October 14th marked the 9th Annual Nike Women’s Marathon. The world famous event was held in San Francisco and was host to 25,000 runners and walkers. With the San Francisco hills, Golden Gate Park, fog coming in through the bay, and choice ocean views, this was easily one of the most scenic marathons in California. However the beautiful scenes came at a high price… by that I mean the hills, and hills and more hills that San Francisco has to offer.
With the punishment the athletes had put their bodies through, it was clear that sports massage was the right remedy for their tired, aching muscles. The main goal of a post event Sports Massage is to help the athletes’ bodies cool down, calm their nervous system and assist with their recovery time. We had many runners walk out of the tent feeling much better than when they staggered in.
The massage tent was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, and part of the wellness / recovery village. The National Holistic Institute showed up in force with over 80 massage stations, 115 team members and 6 campuses represented. Collectively we worked on over 1400 athletes and made a difference in their post race experience. Athletes loved the massage, and they were very grateful; plus the students / staff of NHI had a great experience. All in all it was a successful event.
Massage has come a long way in being integrated within athletic communities. We now see massage therapy on athletes in colleges, professional teams, the Olympics and special events such as the Nike Women’s Marathon. We as an industry have much more integration to work towards. I await the day where every athlete – from professional to weekend warrior makes massage a part of their recovery regimen. Like the old saying goes “work hard, play hard”…and to that I add treat your body right!
Written by Lucas Nevarez,
Instructor at NHI Sacramento
For more information about sports massage, check out http://www.nhi.edu/massage_school/sports_massage.html
October 30, 2012 No Comments
“The Norma”, as the award is affectionately called, is named after Norma Ford who passed away from ovarian cancer several years ago. She was a longtime California financial aid trainer, California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools board member, and original inductee into the CAPPS Stars Hall of Fame. Near the end of her struggle, she spoke about how wonderful it would be for CAPPS to find a way to recognize outstanding Financial Aid administrators, whom Norma believed are a critical yet often overlooked part of schools.
This year was the third year of awarding the Norma Ford Award. The criterion are simple but tough. The winner must be nominated by third parties who have concluded that he or she has gone far beyond the normal requirements of the job and is considered in the institution as a great help to other staff and students in completing their work or their programs.
We are excited to announce that our colleague at the National Holistic Institute, Pat Troxel, is the 2012 winner! Pat has been with us for over 21 years and over 12 years as the Director of Financial Aid. During her early years in financial aid, she took many classes and workshops taught by Norma Ford herself to learn the ins and outs of financial aid. She is known for her care for students, diligence to detail, and her direct communication style to keep us all on our toes. She is quick with a quip that keeps us all laughing. Most importantly, she is a steady, reliable hand to keep the school operating well.
Quote from Jason Daniels: “Over the years, Pat has taught me so much about what it means to work in financial aid and administer the program with the proper level of integrity. Her mentorship has been invaluable in my career and I truly wouldn’t be whre I am today without her.”
We are so proud of Pat’s accomplishment and welcome your stories and thoughts for Pat in the comments below!
To learn more about NHI’s financial aid program, visit http://nhi.edu/massage_school/tuition.html
October 23, 2012 1 Comment
Growing up we always knew when Summertime was officially coming to an end. We could feel it in the weather, the change in the leaves, and when our parents would take us back-to-school shopping for clothes and supplies. None of us are the same, so we probably all reacted differently to going back to school. Some of us were excited to start a new school year, learn new things, meeting our teacher and classmates. Then there were those of us who didn’t feel that way, because going back to school meant going to bed early, waking up early, taking tests, reading and group projects, yikes. But at that time we were young and we had to go to school. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
Well, most of us aren’t in elementary school anymore, and as adults, if we choose to go back to school, we get to decide what we study. So find out what you’re passionate about, start looking into it, find the right school for you, and get educated. There is no better time than the present to take initiative and make an investment in your future.
As an admissions counselor at National Holistic Institute, a school of massage therapy, I have the pleasure of meeting people right from the beginning, while they are researching schools and finding out what kind of education they want. I enjoy listening to the different reasons why people are looking into massage therapy. Whether they have always enjoyed giving massage to family and friends, or simply know that they want to help heal people, they are going to be a part of a respected profession and a growing industry.
Speaking of the industry, let’s take a look at the facts, because whether we are good at math or not, we all like to see numbers when it comes to the job outlook. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment for massage therapists is expected to grow by 20% from 2010-2020. This is faster than the average for all occupations! And it’s only going to increase as more and more people become aware the of many health benefits of massage therapy.
So whether you are eighteen and looking to take the next step in your adult life, thirty something searching for a new, exciting career, or someone seeking the opportunity to learn a highly in demand skill, then massage therapy may just be your thing! Just know that you are not alone in this journey, we will be there to support you from the moment you take your first tour, massage your first client, pass your final exams, and even as a graduate. We’re just awesome like that because we know you’re important and making a difference in the world.
So what will your next endeavor be as the new season approaches? What are your goals, your aspirations? Do you want a rewarding career helping people? If so, pick up the phone and give us a call. We’ll be more than happy to show you how you can have work you will love for the rest of your life.
National Holistic Institute
October 3, 2012 1 Comment
Good food, good wine, good music, good people… GREAT massage!
National Holistic Institute’s On Site Massage Team was proud to join forces with Taste of Petaluma fundraiser for Cinnabar Theater, a treasure of theatrical delights for 40 years, and one of the highlights of living in Sonoma County.
Local residents and guests embarked on a culinary journey to Petaluma’s finest restaurants, wineries, breweries and food purveyors, galleries and shops. This year they found respite from all their gastronomic indulgences in the hands of the Petaluma Campus On Site Massage Team.
The team performed hundreds of massages to the accompaniment of local musicians while aromas of delicious foods wafted by. Students delighted in meeting more of their community and building their client base, while at the same time seeing the delighted expressions of those who were just learning about our fabulous low fee student clinic.
The event was a wonderful celebration of community, arts, massage, and holistic living.
Cheers, Taste of Petaluma!
September 17, 2012 4 Comments
This Spring, National Holistic Institute opened its newest campus in Santa Ana, CA (Orange County). Eager massage students began classes in May with a Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting celebration following shortly after on June 21. NHI offers a comprehensive program that covers a variety of modalities within Western and Eastern styles of massage, combined with business and science classes.
Today, those students that began in Group 80 have completed their Western segment – They have become Seniors and welcomed new Juniors to their Group as they move into the Eastern massage modalities. This two-segment structure allows the Seniors to hone their skills by passing what they have already learned to their Juniors. As Particle Physicist Frank Oppenheimer said, “The best way to learn is to teach”. We are excited to see them progress in their journey to having work they love!
As of today, four classes are already in session with one more class scheduled to start later in September! NHI Santa Ana is located minutes from South Coast Plaza and John Wayne Airport. In addition to classrooms and offices, the 10,000 square foot campus features a clinic providing low-cost massages to the public while giving students practical training opportunities.
NHI Santa Ana is one of many examples of the growing importance of the massage therapy industry in Southern California in general and Orange County in particular. NHI Studio City, the school’s other Southern California location opened in August 2006, has experienced a 50% enrollment increase over the last two years. Founded in 1979, NHI was California’s first accredited massage school. The World Massage Festival named NHI as the 2012 Massage Therapy School of the Year.
NHI Santa Ana graduates will have a wide choice of employment options. Currently, there are hundreds of successful massage therapy businesses in Orange County ranging from independent massage therapists, medical offices with massage therapists on staff, spas, and national chains such as Massage Envy which currently has 20 outlets in Orange County and more are in the planning stages.
Cynthia Ribeiro, president of the American Massage Therapy Association and developer of NHI’s Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Program, said “The attitude towards massage therapy as an important therapeutic option has evolved so much over the past two decades and many more massage therapists are working in clinical settings which is fueling demand for NHI graduates.”
NHI Santa Ana offers a core 900 hour massage therapy program as well as a 450 hour Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Program for those who have had prior training in massage therapy and seek to boost their knowledge of injury rehabilitation, pain management, and special needs clients in a variety of clinical settings.
Prospective students interested in NHI Santa Ana should visit the school’s website or contact 714-668-9263.
September 12, 2012 1 Comment