NHI Graduate Frankie Menzel won the 2012 NHI/Biofreeze AMTA Convention Scholarship. Read about his achievement here in Massage Magazine. Below is Frankie’s take on what the award meant to him.
This is the second year that NHI and Biofreeze have teamed up to offer the Melissa Wheeler Scholarship, which sends a student or graduate from NHI to the AMTA National Convention. The scholarship was created last year when the AMTA was recognizing our very own Melissa Wheeler as Teacher of the Year! The scholarship is open to any student or grad from any of the seven NHI campuses, where only one is chosen. I had to apply.
My name is Frankie, and I recently graduated from the Advanced Program in July from the Emeryville campus. My experience with attending NHI has been full, and I have loved every minute of it. I found myself in an atmosphere that was so conducive to learning, with an amazing support system. The campus, staff and students alike, radiated such positive energy, that it propelled me forward day after day, giving me a feeling of accomplishment. I craved more.
NHI has been so supportive in and out of the classroom. I am very grateful that I have been given many opportunities, and I made sure that I was not going to limit myself. I took every one that was put in my path.
This was the second year that I applied for the scholarship. I obviously did not receive it last year, but the way I saw it, I had nothing to lose. I applied again this year, again throwing my chances up into the universe to see what would manifest. Little did I know the feelings and emotions that I would soon be experiencing.
I was in a parking lot when my cell phone rang. Melissa Wheeler was on the other end. “Frankie…..” she said. I could tell from the tone of her voice that the news was good. I was excited beyond belief, and in total shock. I have NO idea what the next 20 minutes of our conversation included, all I remember is that my face hurt from the smile that was smeared on my face from one ear to the next….I felt as though I had won the lottery. I was going to the AMTA National Convention!
December 20, 2012 No Comments
This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers broke records with more online sales than ever before. Many massage therapists are quick to cash in on the craze and offer packages and gift cards through websites and social media as well as grassroots methods. Most therapists know that it is a good idea to sell gift certificates or gift cards, but what some may fail to realize is that this sudden windfall of incoming money can be spent and gone and they still have a ton of massages to do. Here are a few guidelines I have used to be gift card smart.
- Keep your gift card money separate from your monthly earnings. Think of it as a savings plan that you will only pull from when someone redeems their gift card. This can keep you from spending all of the money at once, and if you put the money in an interest bearing account you can make even more from the sale.
- Gift cards cannot expire in California. You may print a use by date on the card, but legally you must honor the purchase. Make sure you get the name, phone numbers, and email addresses of who is buying the gift and who may be receiving the gift. This way you can give them a reminder call if the gift is not redeemed or you can send future notification of any specials you may be offering.
- Be firm with your refund policy. If you do not refund gift card purchases, make sure your clients are aware of it. Your service does have value and someone coming in and just trying to trade it in for cash does not work for your business. You may want to remind this person of the benefits of massage and that whoever bought it for them really thought that they can benefit from the service. If they do not want to get a massage maybe they can give it to someone who can use it.
- Keep a log or spreadsheet of who bought what gift cards and for whom it was purchased with all of the contact information. This makes things easy to know who bought it, who has used it, and how to get in touch with them. It can come in handy if someone has lost a gift or even worse had it stolen. Make sure you have a clear policy on how you want to handle lost or stolen gift cards, and then stick with your policy.
Consumers spent more than $23 billion on gift cards last year. While many big-box store gift cards are considered somewhat impersonal, a massage gift card can be a unique and thoughtful gift – consider offering card packages like 2 cards for couples massage or buy 5 get 1 free. For example, our National Holistic Institute student clinic offers various levels of discounts on gift cards during the holiday season. Think of creative ways to allow your gift cards to bring you brand new clients. Make them easy to order and don’t be scared to let it be known that you have them available in any way possible!
I hope these tips and guidelines have been helpful to you. If you have any other tips for massage therapy gift cards, feel free to tell us in the comments! Remember, gift cards are great during the holiday season and all year long. They can greatly benefit your business if you have the proper policies and tracking in place. May you all have the best Holiday season and Happiest of New Years!
~ John Lambert, CMT
Instructor, National Holistic Institute Sacramento
December 11, 2012 No Comments
Prior to my entrance into the world of massage I had the privilege of traveling to some pretty interesting places. High on my list are my many visits to Egypt and Peru. The focus of my visits was to gain some perspective on the people who inhabited these places in ancient times. An underlying theme was to see what, if anything, these ancient cultures have to show or teach us today.
While my general outlook was esoteric, I couldn’t help but notice the attention these ancient people gave to the health and care of the body.
Both cultures have given us marvels which, with all of man’s current technology we are unable to truly grasp either how’s or why’s. For instance, “Who built the pyramids?” is one of the most frequently asked questions when dealing the ancient wonders and cultures of the world.
While we can read quite a lot about the ancient Incan culture, very little is truly understood about the people who gave us lasting, mysterious structures including Machu Picchu, ancient cities and pyramids. Why are the most advanced building techniques evidenced in the oldest structures? These are questions that drive many modern explorers to go to great lengths for answers.
There are many things we don’t know about either of these cultures. There are many things, however, that we do know.
Ancient Egyptians are widely believed to be the first to organize the use of essential oils. And in the Nile Delta some of the oldest known families remain faithful to these ancient arts. Specific application of these oils can be found both on walls in tombs and temples as well as on ancient papyri. On the walls of temples as well as tombs that I visited are many depictions of massage, including reflexology given to the ruling class and soldiers.
When I first visited Peru I was struck by the almost overwhelming “mothering” energy. Many shaman and others refer to Peru as the womb or the naval of the earth. The Shaman I visited with shared some of their verbal history of massage and other bodywork as an essential part of the traditions handed down for thousands of years.
So, “Why is this important,” you might ask? Well, there are structures and teachings that come to us from these ancient people that we are just beginning to understand today. There are likewise many that are beyond our ability to comprehend. Their intelligence may well have greatly exceeded our own. Their teachings show us much about the true nature of humanity, where we come from and where we may be headed. In the midst of all of this we find massage, surviving for many thousands of years on the walls of some of the oldest structures on earth.
What we do for humanity as well as for the individuals with whom we work as massage therapists has its roots in some of the most advanced teachings from antiquity. That is a very powerful thought to carry with you into your next massage session, whether as a therapist or as a client.
~David A. Bloomer
National Holistic Institute
November 8, 2012 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
“Love Is Possible”
Meredith J. McMurray
My name is Meredith McMurray. I am 24 years old. I served four years in the United States Marine Corps. I joined when I was 18 years old with the intentions to educate myself about life, people, and the world that I live in. I didn’t feel a calling for myself to go into college because at that time, I had no passion to obtain any particular degree. I didn’t know any other person who had joined the military, so my curiosity propelled me. I love a challenge, so I chose the Marine Corps. I knew it would be difficult. In my mind, I knew that it is the difficult things in life that make us stronger and more defined as people. I made this decision on a whim because somehow I knew it would be right for me. So I kissed my parents and my dog goodbye and left for boot camp.
My experience taught me many things, how to be respectful, how to be on time, how to do the right thing even when everyone else is doing the wrong thing. I learned how to condition my body to achieve its highest capability and I learned how to take care of and defend people, including myself. The most important thing I can say that I learned being a United States Marine is that without discipline one cannot achieve any goal. Discipline is the basic ground work for successfully overcoming any forward moving, self improving challenge. This is a principle that I choose to take with me throughout the rest of my life.
Looking back, I am able to see value in my struggles. At that present time, I was not. I deployed twice, seven months in Iraq and seven months floating around on an air craft carrier. On top that, being a female in the Marine Corps is guaranteed to bring about constant traumatic experiences on both subtle and extreme levels.
During the four years I spent on active duty, I would sit and dream about the life I would create as soon as my contract was over. I dreamed of going back to college for a higher level of education. I dreamed of rescuing animals by fostering and volunteering at animal shelters and any other volunteer work I could find. I dreamed of helping people and living in a world where people feel accepted for being who they are. I dreamed of creating a safe environment for myself where I could heal from all the past wounds that had been created. I dreamed about traveling the world serving, teaching, and building in third world countries and experiencing as much variety and culture as this world has to offer. Most importantly, I dreamed about being genuinely happy again.
My transition began with music. My favorite at the time was Jason Mraz, a singer/song writer who is notorious for his infectious upbeat tunes and inspirational, positive, love based lyrics. I remember in my lowest moments, I would crawl into my bed, put on my head phones, squeezing them tight to my ears, and play his music loud with the intent to literally brainwash myself with that positivity. Something in the music was healing me and ultimately leading me on a divine path to my destiny.
In August of 2010, I had returned from my last deployment. My contract was about to end and I was finally beginning the process of transitioning out of the Marine Corps. One particular weekend, my mother had come to visit me. My mother, my friend and I decided to go to a nearby café for some breakfast. We ordered food and then sat down at a table. Ten, maybe fifteen minutes later, Jason Mraz walks in the door. No joke. I was so shocked! I thought, “Of all people in the world that could walk in that door right now…” Then I thought, “If I leave here without shaking that man’s hand, I’m never going to forgive myself.” So I got up and asked if I could shake his hand. He was very nice and obliged me. I even got a chance to take a photo with him! A woman nearby had noticed how excited I was to have met Jason Mraz. Once I sat back down, she passed me a note. It was information about an upcoming concert featuring two musicians I had never heard of before and a secret appearance made by Jason Mraz! I was so excited!
Needless to say, I did attend that concert. I met all the musicians there and was able to tap into an amazing community of local musicians who all have love and positive, healing messages in their music. This marked the beginning of my transformation from feeling lost, out of control, disconnected, wounded, victimized, into becoming whole, healed, connected, in control, and loved! It began with music. Music then lead me to positive thoughts, changing my speech towards myself and others by saying positive affirmations. Positive thoughts lead me to healthy eating, slowly changing my diet, and understanding the value of having a good organic vegan meal. Healthy food lead me to yoga, I began actively practicing both Kundalini and Hatha yoga three to four times a week and there I began to understand the concept of real healing. It was there that I learned that healing is not something that just happens on its own. It is work and the person that is wounded must have a strong will to do what is necessary to let go of whatever is standing in the way of them and being healed.
Being profoundly grateful that I had found yoga, six months after taking my first yoga class, I enrolled in Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. I am happy to announce I will be graduating as a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher this coming weekend. About half way through my teacher training, I decided that I wanted to be a well rounded healer. I started by becoming a Reiki practitioner, but I knew that massage therapy was going to take more of a primary role in my professional life. So I searched around for the best massage therapy school in my area. I went and toured a few different campuses. None of them seemed to be right for me until I found the National Holistic Institute in Studio City, CA. At this school, the campus is in a great location, 15 minutes away from my home, the staff is very friendly and accommodating, the curriculum is all encompassing. They even hold a ten minute meditation every single morning before class. It was then that I knew this was where I was supposed to be. A few days after checking out the school, I enrolled. Now, I am more than half way through their 720 hour program with plans to join their extended Advanced Neuromuscular Therapy Program after graduating from the standard course.
Right now, I look at life as a time to collect as many different tools (healing modalities) as I can to place into my tool kit. I would love to travel to different places to learn different healing techniques used around the world. When I read about Lomi Lomi and heard some of my instructors at NHI speak about it, I knew that I am definitely interested in going to Hawaii to learn about Lomi Lomi in an authentic way.
Long term, I will never forget where I came from. Remembering all the men and women I served with in the Marine Corps, I know that there is a big need for healing modalities to be provided to our troops. My intention is to one day go back and provide a wide variety of healing modalities and education to our troops, not as a way to support war, but to reach out and support the individuals who are sacrificing so much to be of service to our blessed country. I remember all too well how it was to feel trapped, angry, unloved, and unable to express myself. I would love to be able to go back with the tools of education and the strength of wisdom to give our service members some hope and the truth that they don’t have to suffer forever.
The message that I have to give to the world through my work is this: Healing is possible. Inner peace is possible. Love is possible.
Goals for My Future
1. Complete the National Holistic Institute’s Advanced Neuromuscular Program. In this program I will be educated more in depth about the human body and how massage therapeutic techniques can help heal people who are suffering from chronic pain. This course offers education on neuromuscular therapy, advanced deep tissue, orthopedic massage, myofacial therapy, injury prevention and rehabilitation, tools to re-invigorate my business and set myself up for a long career as a massage therapist.
2. Provide a wide variety of healing modalities to the troops. Having served four years as an active duty Marine, I know firsthand how it means to have so much responsibility, sacrifice, suffer, and not feel like there is any time or opportunity for healing to take place. My goal is to return to a military base and provide physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing and education for the troops. If I can make a difference in at least one life, it will all have been worth it.
3. Adopt an orphan child. Last year I went on a trip back packing around Asia. I saw and experienced a wide variety of things. One of which was an orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Before I got there, I picked up 50 kg of rice and a Cambodian hula hoop to donate to the children. They were so delighted to meet me! I was overwhelmed with compassion for these children. The lady working there informed me that their orphanage was over its maximum capacity. Then I began researching and found that there is an estimated 210 million orphan children in the world today. It was then that I realized my calling in life. When I am older, and financially stable enough, I will adopt an orphan child. I believe strongly in being the change I wish to see in this world and one of those changes I’d like to see is every child having a warm, loving home to live in.
September 28, 2012 5 Comments
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
Leading AMTA and the massage therapy profession, Cynthia has noticed a disconnect between the massage therapy profession and the public’s perception of our field. Many people are unaware of the benefits of massage and of the availability of certified and licensed therapists throughout the country. AMTA members have volunteered to join Cynthia in the “AMTA Massage Therapy Tour”
“Our mission here at NHI is to ‘help people have work they love.’ Similarly in my role as President of the American Massage Therapy Association, my job is to help our member massage therapists succeed in their careers. In doing so, I’m proud to announce a new initiative by the AMTA – our Consumer Awareness Program. This program will run advertising campaigns nationally to drive more business to AMTA massage therapists. One really neat aspect of the campaign will be a tour around the country with the AMTA van. I had fun riding in (note: they wouldn’t let me drive!) the van back in Chicago. Check out the photos and video here and look for the AMTA Awareness Campaign coming soon!” ~Cynthia Ribeiro
September 4, 2012 No Comments
National Holistic Institute was named Massage School of the Year last night during the Industry Awards Ceremony at the 2012 World Massage Festival in Las Vegas. Joe Bob Smith, NHI’s Strategic Development Manager, accepted on behalf of the numerous staff, students, and graduates who have worked for 33 years to make NHI what it is today. The award was presented by noted international massage teacher James Waslaski.
Other industry awards handed out included the Association of the Year which went to ABMP. Brian Halterman, a graduate of NHI and ABMP’s Education Program Coordinator, accepted. Longtime friend and supporter of NHI, Lynda Solien-Wolfe of Biofreeze received the first Bonnie Prudden Meritorious Award for her volunteering and service to the massage profession.
Lynda told Joe Bob that it was actually an encounter with James Charlesworth, NHI graduate and former staff member, in the mid-90′s that led her on a path of volunteering. Coincidentally, James Charlesworth was posthumously inducted into the Massage Hall of Fame at a World Massage Festival ceremony held Sunday night. Jim was most known for creating the Massage Emergency Response Team (MERT). During the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, Jim desperately wanted to help. So, he did what he knew best – massage. Jim and many of the students and staff of NHI worked tirelessly to massage relief workers and victims of the earthquake. Jim’s legacy has lived on at NHI where, for over 20 years, students and staff continue to offer help in times of need.
But Jim had an even bigger vision and took MERT to the American Massage Therapy Association where it became a national program. Cynthia Ribeiro, NHI’s curriculum supervisor and AMTA President, became teary-eyed when recalling Jim’s sense of giving. Cynthia volunteered with Jim at the AMTA several years before she joined NHI. She’s proud that both AMTA and NHI have continued to fulfill Jim’s dream.
While at the World Massage Festival, Joe Bob was honored to participate in an industry panel for aspiring massage therapists. Panelist shared personal stories of how they came to be where they are in the profession and included Angie Patrick of Massage Warehouse, AMTA-Nevada President David Otto, WMF Educator of the Year Michael McGillicuddy, massage blogger Laura Allen, Lynda Solien-Wolfe, James Waslaski, Massagenerd.com’s Ryam Hoyme, author Cherie Sohnen-Moe, nationally known instructor David Kent, and American Massage Conference founder Scott Dartnall.
August 21, 2012 11 Comments
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 handsforhumanity-massage.com or just call Jenna Maggard at (707) 631-1366 or Chene Watson at (916) 396-1701.
July 30, 2012 No Comments
Here in San Francisco students brought health and relaxation to the senior community. As part of our Community Services program, students provided chair massage for residents and staff of Martin Luther Tower, a residence facility that provides affordable, independent living for seniors in the heart of San Francisco.
After a warm welcome from the residents, our NHI students set up shop and worked nonstop! We were amazed at the positive response. Highlights of the event were chatting with the residents, giving information about NHI, and providing massage for Martin Luther Tower’s oldest resident who is 102 years old.
The event was extremely well-received; One of the residents even happened to be an NHI grad from 1990! We were impressed that every client was able to use the massage chair and welcomed the experience. This was a great way for students to gain experience working with an older population.
Our students look forward to more opportunities like this to give back to the community while honing their massage therapy techniques and broadening their experience. If you have an idea for a special event you would like our students to take part in, feel free to get in touch with us at http://www.nhi.edu/employers/special_events/
Student Life & Career Coordinator
National Holistic Institute, SF Campus
July 18, 2012 No Comments
Several days ago it finally happened… With the right light and the right angle, as illusive as it might have been it was clearly there – not a six pack but an eight pack! As every well trained massage therapist knows, the Rectus Abdominis is really a ten pack. We all have it but for most part it remains hidden. So how did I get to see it?
For the past few years I have been practicing Bikram Yoga. Sure it is nice to get a glimpse of your own six pack (or eight pack) but there is so much more to it. The benefits are countless, and are especially important for massage therapists. During class at National Holistic Institute, my students took part in some Bikram Yoga postures to enhance our massage therapy practice and to maintain a holistic approach to our own wellbeing. I’ve outlined just a few of the benefits for therapists here:
Bikram yoga is a 90 minutes open eye meditation. Practicing this kind of meditation you will notice that grounding in and out of your massage session becomes much more effective. You will no longer feel tired and drained of energy but instead you will feel focused and energized after each session.
This practice implements the same body mechanics principles as massage does and gives us opportunity to solely focus on them. As every new massage therapist knows when we learn massage we need to focus on the technique, on body mechanics on quality of touch, on the flow and rhythm of the sequence. Here in the yoga class we have an opportunity to practice body mechanics and improve our posture before we do massage. With each class we train our proprioception and then emerge into the world with new posture and somatically enhanced way of moving. This gives us the advantage of longevity in the field. From that point every massage we do has a positive effect on us as well as the client.
Stamina is what makes a difference in how much revenue you will be able to produce. Bikram Yoga is a great cardio workout and with time will increase your ability to work for extended periods of time.
Balanced Immune system will help you avoid getting a cold or flu and therefore make you a more reliable therapist (I have not have the need to call in sick or cancel an appointment with client since I started practicing yoga (about 5 years ago). More reliable therapist means more reliable and robust clientele base!
The profuse sweating experienced in this form of yoga has a detox effect on the body. Your skin will be glowing, your eyes will be bright; you will feel like a totally new you.
The best part – anybody can do it! It is a good idea to talk to your instructor about any injuries and they will assure the session is safe for you. If you are ready to enhance your life and massage practice don’t wait… Take your first class! The first class is usually the toughest one but it gets easier. Bikram Yoga is one of the best paths to self care for massage therapists and I will continue my practice for many years to come.
Perhaps I will see you there.
Mentor and Instructor
NHI San Francisco
July 2, 2012 No Comments
One aspect of a healthy lifestyle is having a healthy diet. And an aspect of the “healthy diet” that has gotten a lot of exposure in recent years is the need to eat locally grown food produced without chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Local, sustainably produced food has tons of health and environmental reasons to recommend it, and it generally tastes great too. But it does take work. Now, conventional, chemical-intensive agriculture is not easy either, but the work is generally reduced by using huge, expensive, gas-guzzling machinery and expensive, frequently toxic chemicals.
With seasonal, chemical-free farming, that chemistry and machinery is replaced by the farmer’s energy and exertion: digging, hoeing, weeding, shoveling, hauling, picking, and so on. In other words, many of the health and environmental benefits of small-scale, sustainable farming are due to the fact that the process rests on natural cycles… and lots of manual labor.
When I was in massage school up in the mountains of North Carolina, I spent some time working on an organic farm. The work was fun, active, outdoors, and I often came home with a bag of fresh veggies too. Wielding shovel and hoe, I did battle with weeds and insects. Naturally, I deeply appreciated my newfound circle of massage therapists-in-training. But what really surprised me was the difference that was made by learning to move efficiently… in other words, using good body mechanics. If you aren’t familiar with the term, check out this great video introduction to Proper Body Mechanics For Massage Therapists.
When I brought my massage therapist’s Lunge and Weight Transfer out to the spinach field it was nothing short of a revelation.
Suddenly it seemed like I had a boundless reserve of energy to apply to all of manual-labor challenges that farm work provides. The actual work became more fun, and the attention to the body mechanics made me more present with my work, and in a paradoxical way, being present rather than daydreaming made the work shift fly by. And at the end of the day I wasn’t exhausted, but energized, like I had done several hours of Tai Chi – the only difference being I had a hoe or shovel in my hand the whole time!
Now fast forward some fifteen years… My path of teaching massage has led me to Sonoma County, which may as well be the center of the sustainable farming universe. A multitude of small, sustainable farms are scattered across the wine country. Many are certified organic, and at least a few describe their practices as “beyond organic”.
As an effort to give something back to the hard-working men and women who are fighting on the front lines of this Food Revolution, National Holistic Institute’s Petaluma Campus is sending Student Therapists out to local small farms to do massage and offer coaching on body mechanics and self-care. This is a chance for sore, tired bodies to get massage, as well as get the movement education that might help them be a little less sore and tired next time. It’s also a chance for the students to practice their massage, networking, and health educator skills… and maybe to come away with some nice fresh veggies too!
Do you want to get involved in supporting our sustainable farmers?
Here are some ideas that you could easily implement in your area:
• Farmer’s Markets have become a big hit in many urban areas. This is a great opportunity to meet and market to healthy-minded people in general, and many markets feature on-site massage for customers. Bring your business cards!
• Farmer’s Markets are a prime way to meet your local farmers. Most of these folks would be happy to have you tour their farms. With a little clever marketing, you could easily set up a chance to do free chair massage for their workers as a promotional activity. You could also make a pitch to offer a little mini-class on body mechanics and self-care. Bring your fliers and Powerful Presentation skills!
• Most farms have a farm store on-site that could make a good externship site. Many organic farms have volunteer, internship, and work-trade options – and some might even be open to trading massage for farm produce. “Will work for food! (if it’s sustainable, local, and organic!)”
I hope that inspires you to “lend a hand” to the sustainable farming movement! Happy Eating!
Mentor and Instructor
June 20, 2012 No Comments
To become grounded is to let go of the stresses of life & to be present in the moment with the client. Taking precautions to operate within the moment & clarify the goals of the session are absolutely crucial when one considers how much massage is affected by intentions. The method to ground oneself can be different for everyone, require different levels of concentration, and will vary day by day.
The thinking behind grounding is to bring positive intentions to the client & increase the level of focus on the therapist’s goals. Without properly grounding, the therapist runs a risk of injury, on a physical level or possibly on an energetic level. The risk of injury is only one motivation to support the healthy habit of grounding. A much more exciting reason to ground is the prospect of increasing the positive outcomes of the body &/or energy work. Practitioners can use a variety of techniques to enter a grounded state to help achieve amazing results.
Methods of grounding can be as simple as entering a meditative state, concentrating on your breathing, or going through a specific series of motions (ie: Tai Chi, Yoga, Qigong…). Some people also get themselves pumped up, as if they are about to enter an athletic event. The goal is the same, to reach a state of clarity that will allow the therapist to bring the client the best experience possible. A term commonly used to describe the feeling of living in the moment, or reaching a grounded state is Zen.
Zen is the ultimate goal, and as most people who try to attain that state of clarity discover, it is rarely achieved in its purest form. As with massage & every other worthy endeavor, grounding before each session becomes more effective with practice.
By implementing this activity into your massage routine you will undoubtedly achieve new success stories from your clients & you might just find a sizable amount of personal growth as well.
May 31, 2012 1 Comment
If you hadn’t heard yet, April was National Autism Awareness month. Currently, we are in a trend of a growing number of children being diagnosed with developmental disorders which include Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), pervasive development disorder (PDD), and nonverbal learning disorder (NLD).
These disorders used to be rare. In the 1980s, the diagnosis rate was 1 in 5000. Today, we are at 1 in 110. With this rising rate, it is becoming more common for us to know at least one person in our life that either has Autism or is the parent of an Autistic child.
Tina Allen, founder of Liddle Kidz™, Pediatric Massage Master Teacher, and Massage Therapist says, “Many autistic children have sensory malfunction and dysfunction of the tactile system making them averse to certain sights, sounds, smells or touch. Given that autistic children have been reported to be opposed to physical contact, it is interesting that many massage therapists, and parents, are finding great success in the use of massage therapy with autistic children.”
She also states, “Research has found that these children show less autistic behavior, are more social and attentive after receiving massage therapy. This safe, nurturing touch and regular sensory integration is beneficial in reducing inattentiveness, touch aversion and withdrawal.”
The Liddle Kidz™ foundation offers Massage Therapists NCBTMB-Approved Training on Massage for children with Autism. These courses review what Autism is, what type of therapies are currently used, how to communicate, educating tools to help empower the parents, as well as hands-on practice time.
With this rising rate becoming as common as other pathologies, it is important that Massage Therapists become educated and prepared for this potential application to their practice. It very well could change the life of a family in a very positive way.
To introduce children to therapeutic touch, Tina suggests combining storytelling with touch to make the experience very positive for the child. Read our blog post, A Different Kind of Bedtime Story to find out how!
For more information on LiddleKidz™ and class schedules visit: http://www.liddlekidz.com/autism-massage-training.html
National Holistic Institute Sacramento Instructor
April 30, 2012 No Comments
Nicole Vandehurst has been a member of the AMTA since 2004 and was recently elected President of the Redwood Empire Unit. She brings a rich background of experience as a massage therapist along with a dedication to education and advancement of the field. In addition to her new role as President of the Redwood Empire AMTA Chapter, Nicole continues to provide her skill and passion for massage to our students as instructor at National Holistic Institute.
During the interview, Nicole candidly shared her views on professional massage therapy organizations, her hopes for her chapter in the coming year and her excitement about the legislative changes happening in the field of massage therapy.
Why did you become an AMTA member?
I want to be a member of an organization that stands for professionalism in this field. I believe it enhances my standing as a massage therapist.
What benefits are there to joining a professional organization?
AMTA membership offers many benefits to massage therapists: It provides a sense of community and support, networking opportunities, continuing education, insurance, and up to date information on what is happening in the field – from current research to updates on legislative changes, both locally and nationally. I particularly like that it is a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of the entire field of Massage Therapy. I love the newsletters and magazines and always find inspiration in the articles for my practice and my teaching.
Why choose AMTA?
There are a couple of good choices for Massage Therapists wanting to be part of a professional organization and some therapists like to join more then one. I chose AMTA because of the local chapters. It is so valuable to have that community support and dialogue. Also, AMTA has the ability to bring nationally recognized leaders in the field to the local chapters. I am a life long student of Massage Therapy and I appreciate all the education opportunities AMTA offers. I hope I never stop learning!
There are many changes happening in the field right now, especially in California. AMTA helps me stay current with what the newest trends are and with what is happening in our local legislation. It is an exciting time to be a massage therapist, but the rapid changes can sometimes be confusing too. AMTA helps us know what is going on without feeling overwhelmed. Their website gives information on how to get involved . As a massage therapist with a busy practice and a teaching career, I find the website one of the easiest ways to stay informed.
Another great thing about the website is that you can see a national calendar of events as well as your local calendar. So if I am traveling and want to find out what is happening in the area I am visiting, or if I want to locate a particular teacher, I have all the information I need in one place.
What goals do you hope to accomplish as chapter president?
I hope to increase local membership and chapter involvement. I want to be a thriving and connected community. I see us all working together to increase public awareness of the value of massage therapy. Education and networking will support successful Massage Therapists and they in turn will be supporting community wellness and health.
How do your roles of AMTA chapter president and instructor at NHI intertwine?
NHI has always stood for the highest standards of professionalism and education, and so does AMTA. They fit together like hand and glove.
April 19, 2012 1 Comment
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.
March 28, 2012 1 Comment
Springtime is just around the corner, and with it comes the natural inclination for a fresh, clean start! While this year’s lack-of-a-winter in most of California is an exception, generally spring means an end to the cold, dark part of the year and a rebirth of new life and activity.
This means it’s also a natural time for cleansing… on all different levels. Cleaning the house is a no-brainer, and probably needs little explanation or description. But we also live in our bodies (well, some of us, anyway!), and the body collects the physiological, energetic, and emotional equivalent of cobwebs, dust-balls, and cluttered closets as well!
So how can we give our bodies a good spring cleaning? Here’s a few of my favorite ways:
Up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, the ‘Old Timers’ have an interesting spring ritual. After eating little but pork and potatoes all winter, they would understandably feel a little sluggish come springtime. Some of the first wild plants that push up thru the spring snow are burdock and nettles, which are known in herbal lore for their power to cleanse the blood.
The old-timey mountain folk would make a nutritious and purifying tea from these plants to flush out the toxins their bodies had accumulated over the winter. Burdock, nettles, and other “spring cleaners” grow in California – but it’s probably a good idea to seek some qualified instruction before harvesting or preparing wild plants. Or just pick up an herbal tea from your local health food store’s herb department!
In addition to wild plants, another passion of mine is yoga, and a great cure for the winter blahs is movement. I’m particularly fond of the classic sequence of Hatha Yoga postures known as the Sun Salutation. This flowing sequence of forward folds, back bends, and hip openers is renowned for its stimulatory effects, especially its ability to improve the flow of lymph. Now, if you don’t already know, the lymphatic system is closely connected to our immune system and anything that helps the lymph flow generally helps our immune system function better. Just in time for when that spring pollen fires up the allergies!
Finally, let me suggest that you GET A MASSAGE! Most styles of massage help lymph and blood flow more efficiently, and some styles (like lymphatic massage!) are intended specifically to help support the body’s natural cleansing, detoxing, and immune functions. Of course, almost all massage feels great, lifts the mood, increases the energy, and can help relieve the stiffness that follows the inactivity of winter.
So, whatever method works for you, let me wish you a happy spring cleaning!
To schedule a massage at one of our California locations: http://nhi.edu/massage_clinic/index.html
March 19, 2012 No Comments
The following articles are a true testament to what research means to the massage profession. 10 years ago, much of what I learned in school has changed and it is all due to research; mainly the work done by the Massage Therapy Foundation and its members. NHI‘s own Melissa Wheeler and Beth McNeill have volunteered their time working with the MTF. This work helped to shape our current Research and Development classes that give students the tools to educate themselves and find the answers they need to work with clients in any type of situation.
The information in these articles also gives credence to our work. It shows that what we do has positive physical effects. When therapists use techniques they learn in NHI’s sports massage series, myofascial therapy series, or deep tissue series it is important to be able to explain and bring up evidence of how what we do works. Massage therapy has grown to be an increasingly integral field in alternative medicine, with more and more people realizing the medical benefits of massage on top of its perk of relaxation.
For more information on research based massage and the Massage Therapy Foundation, visit their freshly redesigned website at http://www.massagetherapyfoundation.org/
March 7, 2012 No Comments