A Hand Start

By Melissa Cade Daily Light staff writer

Classes for the long awaited massage therapy certificate program at Navarro College Waxahachie campus has been under way since the beginning of the semester, and is proving to be a success. Program Director Ginger Mensik said they are off to a good start, and she is already looking forward to the new semester.

“I’ve never directed a college program before,” Mensik said. “We have a total of 16 students who are excited about learning, and we are excited about teaching.”

Mensik said the course is about more than learning to give a great massage, but it’s about understanding how the body works.

“You would be surprised at how much knowing the sciences can play a role in you becoming a great massage therapist,” she said. “You have to know the body, and they are receiving that knowledge right here at Navarro College.”

In addition to taking courses involving the fundamentals of massage therapy, students are required to take anatomy and physiology, pathology of massage and kinesiology. These courses are a must when pursuing certification in clinical massage therapy Dr. Don Capone said.

Capone is the assistant dean of business, professional and technical education for the college. He said they chose to focus more on the clinical aspect, because it gives students additional opportunities to find employment upon receiving there certification.

“We decided that if we chose to focus more on the clinical side of massage therapy that it would create more job opportunities for our students,” Capone said. “With this certification, the students would have the option to work in a chiropractic clinic or a day spa.”

Mensik added that what she likes about the program, that her students will be well-rounded in their field of study and able to pursue whatever direction they would like.

As they move ahead and plan for the future of the program, the staff members have decided to offer a client day beginning next semester. This day will consists of students providing clinical massages for residents of the community at a nominal fee.

Capone said he loves this aspect of the course because it allows the students to get solid hands-on training before sending them out into the real world.

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The massage therapy program isn’t the only program having great success. Cosmetology Lead Instructor Chrystal Gist said she is very excited about the direction the program is going in, and she is looking forward to meeting more of the needs of the people in the community.

“We have been offering a client day since the program began,” Gist said. “It has been successful, but we would love to have even more people from the community come in.”

The client days are from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Gist said while an appointment isn’t necessary, it is better to call and secure availability.

“We do everything from haircuts to hair colors and facials to manicures,” she said. “We also provide waxing services, above the waist of course.”

Gist said overall the program has improved in quality and service over all. This is a testament to the quality of students the program attracts and their desire to succeed Gist said.

“This is a pretty intense program,” she said. “There are a lot of demands placed on the students and they always handle the pressures really well. This kind of career can take a tole on the body, because you are on your feet at least nine hours a day.”

The program is broken down into three phases, including 1,500 hours of practical training. Gist said job placement has been at 100 percent upon students completing the certification process.

The massage therapy and cosmetology programs are housed in the same facility. Anyone interested in certifications in either of these programs is encouraged to apply at navarrocollege.edu.

Source: http://www.waxahachietx.com/news/waxahachie/a-hand-start/article_74f37361-1e34-5d4d-af4c-205b4f3dda9e.html