There’s a new massage school in town, but it’s really not new at all.
National Holistic Institute has provided massage therapy education since 1979 and was the first nationally accredited massage therapy school in California.
NHI opened its ninth campus — at Institute of Technology in Clovis — this month.
There are five students enrolled so far in the 900-hour program, which teaches Eastern and Western modalities of massage along with body science and business tactics.
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Western therapy is based in Swedish massage, while Eastern is based on Shiatsu, said massage therapy program manager Michael Greene.
“After that we branch off. In Western we’ll be learning about deep tissue massage, myofascial therapy, sports massage, prenatal and also lymphatic massage,” he said. “With Eastern segments, we’ll learn acupressure, traditional Chinese medicine and understanding energy work, all those different types of things.”
The morning program will take eight months to complete, while the evening program will require 12 months of study. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.
“Our students, once they finish their entire 900 hours, will be able to have the tools to go into whatever direction of massage they want to,” Greene said.
National Health Institute co-owner Tim Veitzer said graduates of the program are given lifetime career placement assistance.
“At NHI we have a simple but profound mission statement: helping people have work they love,” he said.
While it only takes 500 hours of education to become a certified massage therapist in California and 750 hours to become board certified nationally, NHI’s 900-hour program provides students with the knowledge and skills to have a successful career in massage therapy, officials said.
“One thing that separates our program from many of the others is we incorporate the sciences: kinesiology, physiology, pathology. When somebody knows what’s going on with the systems in the body … an insertion point or action with the muscle, it turns what might feel good into a truly therapeutic and medicinal experience,” Veitzer said.
Not all graduates want to pursue a career at a day spa. They may find themselves working alongside medical professionals, Greene said.
“A lot of people don’t understand that a massage can be used from just health and wellness and spa — the way we traditionally think about massage — to working with chiropractors, physicians, helping people to avoid surgery and also rehabilitate from surgery. Our students are well prepared for whatever field they want to go into.”
NHI was founded in 1979 by Carol Carpenter, Veitzer said.
“She ran it for many years and grew it into what became one of the largest and most respected colleges in massage therapy in the country under one roof. After doing it for 24 years she decided it was time for NHI to grow and for her to retire,” he said.
Veitzer — who had gone through the massage therapy program himself — and longtime friend Mason Myers purchased the school from Carpenter in 2003.
“The mantra in the early days was ‘Let’s just not screw it up,’ ” he noted, laughing. “Over time we’ve grown.”
There are NHI campuses in San Francisco, San Jose, Emeryville, Sonoma County, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Redding.
Public clinics at the Clovis campus will begin in July, during which the public is invited to come in and get discounted professional massage, Greene said.
“The students get feedback and the clients get the same type of massage they would get at a spa, but just a discounted rate because they’re being worked on by students,” he said.
Visit www.nhi.edu/massage_clinic to book a massage.
National Holistic Institute
564 W. Herndon Ave., Clovis