How to Choose a Massage Therapy School – by Nicole Canfora Lupo


How to Choose a Massage Therapy School

Guest Post by Nicole Canfora Lupo, subject expert on choosing and getting accepted into a massage therapy school, at

Massage therapists undergo hundreds of hours of coursework and hands-on experience in order to become professionals in their field. But first, they had to find a reputable massage therapy school that fit their needs and prepared them for real-world success.

School administrators, instructors and graduates all agree that you can’t just head to the yellow pages and randomly pick out a school to attend. Learning as much as you can about what each massage therapy school you’re considering offers is the key to getting a proper education and finding success in the field.

So where should you start? “Getting massages and talking to the therapists to see how they went about their schooling is the best way to go about it,” recommends Winona Bontrager, a licensed massage therapist, vice president on the Board of Directors of the American Massage Therapy Association and owner of the Lancaster School of Massage in Lancaster, Pa.

Bontrager advises would-be students to ask about class hours and program start dates; some schools have rolling admissions, while others only admit new students once or twice a year. If you have a busy schedule, it pays to find out what the typical study time is, in addition to hands-on work.

Beyond logistics, take a close look at the curriculum, says Pat Russo, director of sales and marketing for the Institute of Massage Therapy, which is affiliated with four hospitals throughout the state of New Jersey. “The student needs to understand what massage therapy is comprised of – there’s more than just the hands-on aspect of a massage therapy education,” she says. “There’s a lot of anatomy and physiology, which are just as important, if not more so. You don’t want to accidentally hurt someone in your practice.”

Do Your Homework
You’ll also need to ensure that the program you choose is legit. “The most important things to look for in a massage therapy school are accreditation and affiliations,” says Russo. In addition, instructors should be seasoned and have a minimum of two years’ field experience, so Russo encourages students to ask the admissions office at the massage therapy school under consideration about the backgrounds of its instructors.

Russo also advises that you get beyond the admissions rep by setting up interviews with alumni, current students and instructors, if you can, to ask about their experience. Bontrager suggests an additional tactic: “Ask where the school’s graduates work, and how long it takes them to find a job.”

See for Yourself
Visiting the campus can be crucial. “People may want more of a college experience or a more relaxed atmosphere – you get a sense of what suits you by going to the school,” explains Russo. “Someone who goes to three or four different schools before deciding on a massage therapy program is an educated student.”

Adrienne Dyer, a licensed massage therapist from Allentown, Pa., agrees that you shouldn’t just pick the first school you come across. “When I was first looking at schools, I immediately narrowed it down to accredited schools in my area,” she explains. “Then, I looked at the curriculum. The school I chose went above and beyond what I needed for certification.”

Her program gave her a well-rounded foundation in Eastern philosophy, such as shiatsu massage, among other techniques. “You get a basic foundation, and when you come out of the program, you hopefully know in which direction you want to go,” she explains.

Finally, it pays to ask about job placement services. “Most schools offer career placement guidance, which is important,” says Dyer. A massage therapy school that offers lifelong employment assistance can lead to continued success long after your schooling is completed.

Travel Tips for Summer (or any time)

  • Our Roll-on's are great for travel.


    One of our favorite tools on line is a Packing List planner. Just click on fill in the blanks.  A handy list will be generated to make packing the easiest part of the trip. 

  •  Long car trip?  Clear My Head Ache Roll-on at the temples is perfect for keeping you mentally alert. Clear My Head ‘fresh’ disks can be hung on the rearview mirror or tucked in the cup holder.  Activate with oils to keep you awake.
  •  Before you go, make two copies of all travel documents. Pack one and give the other to a relative or friend at home.
  •  Email yourself important phone numbers, reservation booking numbers, etc. If something should happen to your wallet, you can access the information from anywhere in the world. 
  •  Flying?  Apply Clear My Head 2go Roll-on under your nose. You’ll breathe easier and help protect against airborne germs.  Keep the whole family healthy when you fly.  Roll-on’s are sized to take with you on the plane – just remember to bring your plastic bag for all your toiletries. 
  •  The threat of developing blood clots on long flights is very real.  Get up and walk around as much as you can, wear support hose and do self massage on legs during long flights.  For warning signs and more prevention information:
  • Prevent Jet Lag before you even take off.  Enter in flight information and your sleep/eat and daily routine at and print out your custom jet lag prevention guide. Make one for each traveler so everyone can arrive as fresh as possible.
  •  Musty hotels or suitcases?  Carry the Clear My Head ‘fresh’ disks with you – 2 disks in the travel tin.  Use one activated disk in your luggage to keep it fresh smelling and hang the other activated disk on the lamp in the hotel room to keep the smell of smoke or mustiness away.  Sew ‘bean bags’ and fill with baking soda and

    'fresh' disk for hotel and auto.

    lavender flowers – stuff into shoes to absorb moisture and odors.   

  • Sunburned?  Take a tube of H2O Aqua Therapy – our healing salts and essential oils will help you feel cooler and  the red clay salt naturally soothes your skin. After your bath, mix 4 drops of lavender essential oil into aloe vera gel and apply to skin.  Always wear sunscreen to avoid burns, even on over cast days.
  • Indulged a bit too much?  Clear My Head Ache Roll-on can help alleviate a pounding hang-over.  Massage at temples and drink plenty of fluids (lemon water absorbs quickest and will help you rehydrate more quickly). 
  •  Nausea can be alieved by drinking peppermint or ginger tea.  Alternatively, gently rub peppermint oil or ginger oil (diluted in jojoba or almond oil) onto abdomen in circular motion.
  •  New sites – new allergens.  Many travelers are exposed to new plants, pollens and other allergens – so stocking up on Clear My Head in the summer makes sense. 
  • High Altitude?  Spas in higher altitude regions report that our Clear My Head 2go is effective on reducing High Altitude Sickness symptoms.  Use during treatments and offer the Clear My Head 2go for your customer to purchase when they leave.    





Hope & compassion – Why we support The National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Limited Edition Pink Jar - October - December only

Like many of you, our family has been directly affected by breast cancer.  My mother, one of the strongest women I know is a breast cancer survivor.  Her sister, my aunt, succumbed to the disease at the age of 34, leaving behind two small girls and her loving husband.  The tragedy is, it’s one of the most treatable cancers if caught early enough.  Education is key. This year Clear My Head is proud to be a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month with our limited edition PINK jar.  We’ll donate a portion of each sale to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for each Pink jar sold beginning in October and through December. 

We believe as Spa owners and professionals that we have a unique role in the way women feel about themselves. I remember the first time a client came in for her regular massage and told me ‘the news’.  It was obvious she was shattered and devastated.  And now, I was telling her, until she was in remission that I could not perform her deep tissue massage that she had some to rely on.  In essence, the one place she felt safe and accepting about her body for years, was ‘unavailable’ to her. Of course we sat down with a cup of tea and talked about what she was going through. We talked about the type of massage she could receive, with the permission of her doctor.  We came up with other wonderful spa ‘treats’ that were safe for her and that could continue to support her. I remember the day she came in with her scarf over her head (she refused to wear a wig, but somehow this suited her) and we mixed up some lotions for her.  I remember too, the day she called up and bubbled over with joy that she had her doctors note for massage therapy because she was in remission.
I remember the woman in Hospice that I brought ‘Compassionate Touch’ to.  The women receiving chemotherapy and the gentle hand massages we gave – they were comforted by our touch. I remember the faces of the women at the support groups I would give presentations to – a close knit group, a secret club no one wanted to sign up for, but yet they grew together with strength and compassion.  A family in their fight to survive.  I still see many of them today and smile they have come through the other side or still continue the fight.
I remember another client as well. I called on her at her home, as a favor to a long time regular client. As a rule, I don’t go to homes for massage therapy, but my client told me this woman was in her last stages of Breast Cancer and was sent home to die.  So I went.  I was surprised that she lived one block behind me.  I hadn’t know her before.  I remember walking in and being afraid I would say the wrong thing, I was fearful also, because the week before I had discovered a lump on my own breast and was awaiting the results. (It turned out to be nothing.) But what I remember the most was her GRACE, her STRENGTH, and her DIGNITY.  I was in the grace of God.  She was selfless and loving and seemed at peace with what was happening, although she struggled with leaving her family.  She shared with me a life well lived, of trials and tribulations, of how even in her final days she was going to be present for her family.  She asked, when was my last mammogram and I told her last week. ‘Everything fine?’ she said.  “I don’t know’ I replied, feeling guilty – and now I understand how inappropriate that feeling was, because she took my hands in hers and said – ‘It will be alright, and if it’s not, you do the best with your life as you can.’  I left that appointment with a gift, no doubt about it.  One that I try to keep in my heart daily.  I called on her twice again in her last two weeks of life, feeling privileged to have had the time with her.  She insisted on booking an appointment for her husband to see me after she passed on, and I promised that when I worked on him it would be my hands and her heart I would bring to the table.  It was also one of the most sacred sessions in my long career as a massage therapist. I know she was present with us. 
I tell you these things because I hope that you will reflect too on the people in your life and how much they mean to you.  We have no guarantees about tomorrow, but we do have the power to change to world with the kindness, thoughtfulness and care we show the people around us.  Take care of yourself.  Be good to yourself.  Be kind and forgiving to those around you.  Change can start with you. 

Clear My Head is sold in spas across the USA and Canada.  We felt it was time to do something that can help all women, so this year will be the launch of our national fundraising campaign. We’ll donate a portion of sales of every jar sold between October and December to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.   80% of all the monies raised by the NBCF goes to their mission  to save lives through early detection and to provide mammograms for those in need by increasing awareness through education, providing diagnostic breast care services for those in need, and providing nurturing support services.

Please help us by:

Visiting The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s Web Site at The National Breast Cancer Foundation and learning more, pledging a mammogram or donating directly through their site.

Ask your spa or salon to carry the Pink Jars to help raise money for research – we want to partner and develop events the month of October.  A portion of sales for every pink jar will be donated to the NBCF by Clear My Head Ltd. The jars have our signature product with an etched logo of the National Breast Cancer Foundation – perfect for gifting from the heart and raising awareness.  We don’t require you to send in boxtops or click on surveys.  We want to make it simple to raise as much for this worthy organization as we can.  This is our first year, hopefully of many more to come.

Look for other Pink products and support charitable giving through thoughtful purchases. 

Join a run, walk or another event to raise money and awareness.  Better yet – start one!  One of my friends decided last year to have a ‘Pink Sips for the Cure’ wine tasting at a local wine shop – just by word of mouth she had 60 women attend and raised over $1,250.00 in two hours.  She was a great inspiration to me to go forward with this campaign.

Let us know your stories too – remember your loved ones here – tell us stories of hope. Let us know what YOU are doing .  Let’s join together, let’s start today!

Welcome to our new site!

Welcome to Clear My Head

Hi!  So what do you think?  I know, I know, ‘It’s about time!’ is what most of you  are saying.  We’ve had so much growth in the past five years that we just couldn’t keep up with the web site.   So, OmniSpear to the rescue.  Brad, Greg and their team of ‘techy wizards’ took my vision for a new improved site and made it happen!  I am so excited!  It’s our new window to the world and we couldn’t be happier about the results. (Well, let me take that back, I asked for a ‘scratch and sniff’ site and they said they just couldn’t do that … yet!)

Let me tell you what’s new so you can navigate around easily.

  • New photos – aren’t they lovely?  Dan at Visual Edge did an amazing job and he’s also the one who created the new ads you’ll see this year in major magazines.  In addition to our wonderful products, he also took the photos of the interior of our offices.  Yep, that’s right,  those beautiful pictures of the lobby and our amazing copper tub are part of our corporate offices and concept spa where we develop protocols and test drive our products in development.
  • Sign up for our newsletter. (Nope we won’t spam the heck out of you, we promise, we hate that as much as you do).  We have a newsletter for our Wholesale customers and one for those of you who just want to learn more about our products, spa life, or aromatherapy.  Our Newsletters will focus on product application, trends, oil profiles and featured spas plus more.  We think you’ll love the content, and if you don’t you can opt out at any time.
  • I have a blog (but you knew that didn’t you?).  I’ll be linking my Herb Companion Magazine blogs here and also posting other exclusive ones here as well.  What would you like to see here? We will also have a few ‘guest’ bloggers too.
  • LIVE Chat!  Woooo hoooo – You will see when we’re online to take your real time questions or comments.   You will most likely talk to me, Bob in Customer Care or Craig.  If you get Craig, be easy on him, he’s learning the ropes.  Of course you can email or call too, just like before. We just like to give you options!
  • A map of where to buy in the United States and Canada.  You should know this is an ‘opt’ in for the locations listed.  So if you are a spa you WANT to be listed.  You can even do that on our site too!  If you are a customer looking for us – it just got a whole lot easier.  Look for international locations at a later date.
  • Oh! Our wholesale customers have their very own portal to order from and see what’s new.  Contact us for access information if you don’t have it already.  Did you know we have products for your back bar and some exclusive items that are only available to spas?  No?  Well, we need to get you logged in – pronto!  (You must qualify for wholesale access)
  • Contact information for our Sales Representitives and Corporate Offices.
  • More ways to connect with us and our spas partners!  We have direct links to our fan page on FaceBook and our Twitter page.  We’re featuring spas, products, giving tips, recipes and so much more.  Join us!

So there are the top features of the new site. We have a few more surprises coming too.  Keep in touch and come back often to find out.

Thanks so much for stopping by. We appreciate each and every one of you!

Memory Maps: Unplug, Reconnect and Bond with Aromatherapy

Originally published for Herb Companion Magazine Guest Blog  (9/22/2009)

Lately, I’m noticing a trend.  I’m not liking it either.  I watch as so many of us (and yes, I am guilty myself) are overly connected with our electronic devices.  Yes, it’s often time well spent in front of our computer screens updating our friends through Twitter, FaceBook & MySpace, and yes we all get a little thrill when we open our ‘mail’ to find a note (not just a forward, forward, forward) from a good friend.  But ask yourself… would you rather have a real hug or a (((hug)))?

The problem becomes clear as we watch our children take more text messages and less time hearing a voice on the other end.  How does one learn social skills or pick up non-verbal cues. After all, intonation in a voice can tell you wonders about a person’s well-being.  The big question is how do we reconnect with our loved ones?  The answer can be, surprisingly, aromatherapy.

Over the years in my massage therapy & aromatherapy practice, I’ve encountered the ‘disconnect’ of families.  I’ve taught many workshops that bring people together and can open up a safe environment for conversations.  Here a few quick tips to help you turn down the electronic clutter in your life:

Small children (3-6 years) are often antsy and on the move.  Getting them to focus is challenging (if not impossible). These formative years are also when they are developing good routines and coping skills.  A wonderful gift you can give, is the ability for your child to allow themselves to slow down in the evening. Preparing for a good nights sleep.  4 drops of lavender essential oil in a warm bath will help them unwind and sleep more soundly. Bath time is a great time for singing songs and other soothing activities – they’ll never know they’re getting clean in the process.

Teens are a little tougher to pin down and even harder at times to get to open up.  A shame, since this is a time they need the guidance of a parent even more. Boys in particular are very resistant to keeping communication open. A way to get your teen to relax with you, and a nice time to catch up on the day,  is with a nice peppermint foot rub (6 drops peppermint essential oil to 1 ounce lotion).  The sensation on the feet is exhilarating and they’ll sit still for it. Athletic teens and the overachievers are often very unaware of the toll stress and activity take on their body and mind. A 10 minute foot rub will help with fatigue and also teach them about giving to others.

Often times I’ve been asked to call on a client’s family member in Hospice or Alzheimer wards.  The elderly, and especially those in the last days or weeks of their life present emotional difficulties for both the family and the individual. A wonderful thing happens when we visit and  offer a bit of compassion in the form of a hand massage.  A suggestion of oils for this would be: lavender, clary sage, bergamot or cedarwood.  (3 drops in 1 ounce)  I’ve always felt in the grace of god in these visits. You needn’t be a professional therapist for this. Your touch is comforting to the patient, the fragrance is soothing and the time  well spent. Often, in their final days, our loved ones cannot communicate with us.  However, I promise, the look in their eyes will tell you what they cannot.  You will notice love and understanding and you will reap rewards that will be revealed to you later. It is not uncommon when I create blends for my clients to use with their loved ones, that after the person has passed on, they tell me that they use the aromatherapy lotion to ‘evoke’ their mother or to feel their presence again.  This is understandable, since our sense of smell imprints emotions into us through our limbic system. Once we ‘memory map’ our essential oils to a specific action, (one that is soothing, calming, joyful, and compassionate) we have set in motion a powerful way to communicate.

So, today, unplug the cell phone, turn off the computer, even if it’s just for 20 minutes and go find someone who is getting ‘lost’ in the digital age, and bring them back to their senses!

The information presented by Clear My Head Ltd. and Brenda’s Blog is intended for educational purposes only.
Expressed opinions are those of the contributing writer and not necessarily Clear My Head Ltd or A Muse Sings Inc.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Copyright © 2010

Clear My Head Ltd. & A Muse Sings, Inc.