The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South installs massage program, seeks customers

By Tristan Evans/south news editor

South students looking for a stress reliever next fall can receive a free massage on Fridays while helping fellow students earn certificates of completion in massage therapy.

The massage therapy program on South Campus teaches students everything from deep tissue to Swedish massages.

“It is one of the professions that has grown despite the economy,” instructor Dana Gunter said.

In 2009, Michael Cady, South vice president of continuing education services, and other administrators thought it would be a good idea to offer a massage therapy program.

After taking a look at the massage therapy curriculum at Austin Community College, studying the program’s feasibility and getting the help of outside consultants, the administrators submitted a proposal to the board of trustees who approved the program.

Gunter was hired in late 2009 and from there began to develop the classes and get the program up and running. In March, the program had its first set of graduates complete the 580 hours required.

“There are nine classes in the program,” she said. “Their first technique class is called Massage Fundamentals I, where they learn how to do Swedish massage.”

Gunter said although they will graduate with only a certification in Swedish message, they learn various other techniques in Massage Fundamentals II such as deep tissue, hot stone and basic foot reflexology massages.

“Techniques that will make them very marketable when they graduate,” she said. “But at the same time, if they decide that they don’t want to go on and continue studying in something like hot stone, then they have the option of pursuing something else like deep tissue massage and spending their money elsewhere on CE classes in that.”

Gunter is giving them the basics and introducing them to the various techniques without making them commit to any one in particular.

Some of the other required classes include kinesiology, pathology and health and hygiene. Gunter said this gives them a well-rounded education.

“What everybody here loves is the clinical,” she said.

During clinicals, the students have the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned on other students, faculty and staff. The students’ participation in the clinical is state-mandated.

The program uses a cohort method of teaching, Gunter said. Students who start the program together finish together.

“I think that’s really great, especially for massage therapy,” she said. “It helps students to really bond as well as connect with each other and assimilate the material in all the different ways they could possibly do it in that setting.”

The classes are small, partially because of the fire codes in the room and because it makes it easier for the teacher and the students to communicate, Gunter said.

“In a program like this with the material we have to cover and the things that we have to do and the people we have to touch, that is very important,” she said.

Massage therapy can be physically demanding for the person giving the massages, Gunter said. Therefore, students are taught stretches to help warm up and prepare as well as the importance of having an exercise routine and taking days off.

Gunter also encourages students to explore the various areas of massage therapy.

“That’s one thing I love telling students,” she said. “There is a plethora of options. There are more things being rediscovered every year. Massage therapy is very ancient. It’s very frustrating to go through a career training program being told that there is really only one thing you can do after you graduate.”

Jennie Voong, who graduated from the program in March and is now studying for her state license exam, said she signed up for the program for fun and enjoyed her experience.

“It was fun and interesting,” she said. “It was really great and really short.”

Voong said she could use what she learned to help out her sister, who owns a spa.

Voong’s fellow graduate, Linda Simmons, received her state certification a couple of weeks ago and says she enjoyed the intensity of the program from the classes to the clinicals.

“Actually applying the skills we learned and seeing and hearing from our clients about the relief, ability to relax and minimizing pain was rewarding,” she said.

Her peers’ varieties of personalities and talents made each day an adventure, and Simmons feels during her time in the program, she was provided with a solid foundation, she said.

Gail Bryeans, who works as an administrative office assistant on South Campus, had a chance to receive a massage during the clinicals.

“By the end, they were just as good as any massage you get from a spa or places like that,” she said. “They were really a great group. I felt like I had won the lottery when I got to go.”

The next set of graduates will have clinicals in September. Students, faculty and staff interested in receiving a free massage can call 817-515-4873 to make an appointment.

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