Wilkes Community College to Open Registration for Therapeutic Massage Therapy Programs Aug. 1

Published Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 9:15 am

July 17, 2012. Wilkes Community College will accept registration for its day and evening Therapeutic Massage Therapy programs on Wednesday, August 1, from 9 a.m. until noon. Registration will occur in Lovette Hall Room 510.

Enrollment is limited to 10 students each for the day and evening programs. Registration is accepted on a first come, first served basis.

The 32-week program will begin on August 20, 2012, with anticipated completion of May 16, 2013. Classes will meet Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

The 41-week evening program will also begin on August 20, 2012, with an anticipated completion date of August 1, 2013. Classes will meet Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The student clinic for both day and evening programs operates on select Fridays during the course. Students are required to complete 100 percent of their coursework and maintain an 80 percent or better in all of their courses in order to successfully complete the program.

Persons entering the program must be 18 years of age by the first day of class, be high school graduates or have their GED, have a current CPR certification and be of good moral character.

The therapeutic massage program, which began in August 2009 and is offered through the college’s continuing education department, consists of both classroom lecture and lab settings. Students apply their skills by giving massages at health fairs and student clinics and by providing chair massages to MerleFest volunteers. At MerleFest 25, students conducted 165 chair massages over three days. The students also embark on field trips to local massage therapy practices, a chiropractic clinic and Wilkes Regional Rehabilitation Center.

The 660-hour program can accommodate a total of 10 students in each day or evening program. Students completing the program may be eligible to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) and apply for licensure with the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy.

“Massage therapy has long been seen as a luxury. However, more and more studies are providing proof of the lasting health benefits associated with massage,” says Foster. “A study reported last year found that Swedish massage provides benefits to the immune system. The American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society now include massage as one of their recommendations for treating low back pain. And, giving massage to premature babies helps them with gaining weight.”

Other recent research has shown the effectiveness of massage for the following conditions:

–          Osteoarthritis of the knee

–          Reducing post-operative pain

–          Boosting immune function in women with breast cancer

–          Decreasing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

–          Lowering blood pressure

–          Reducing headache frequency

–          Easing alcohol withdrawal symptoms

–          Decreasing pain, fatigue, anxiety, nausea and depression in cancer patients

–          Improving symptoms in children with asthma

“My hope is that the growing amount of research supporting massage therapy will eventually lead to greater insurance coverage for the complementary treatment,” says Foster. “Washington is the only state that currently requires coverage of massage therapy in insurance plans. However, throughout the country, more and more insurance plans are offering participants the option of purchasing alternative medicine coverage. Other insurance plans offer members discounts on massage and other alternative therapies provided by practitioners who are part of an affiliated network of alternative medicine providers. I can say that the vast majority of massage therapists – 96 percent according to the American Massage Therapy Association – believe massage therapy should be considered part of the health care field.”

North Carolina is one of 43 states and the District of Columbia that regulates massage therapists or provides voluntary state certification. North Carolina requires that in order to legally practice massage you must be a licensed massage and bodywork therapist. To apply for licensure, individuals must complete a minimum of 500-hours of specialized training in massage therapy and related studies and successfully pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing exam. They also must be of good moral character.

For more information about the Therapeutic Massage program, please visit www.wilkescc.edu/conedalliedhealth or contact Holly Foster, program coordinator, at 336-838-6411 or holly.foster@wilkescc.edu.

Wilkes Community College, a member of the North Carolina Community College System, is a public, two-year, open-door institution serving the people of Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties and beyond.

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