More Than Massage: Natiana Goes into the Trenches

As a massage therapy school student, do you want your teacher to simply know facts and spew them out, or do you want to know that they are working as a professional in the industry and can teach you necessary information from their own real-world experience?

One of the advantages and benefits that Globe University-Wausau offers its students is that their instructors are professionals with work experience in their field, and may even be currently working in the field.  This gives our students the opportunity to develop relationships with and make contacts with professionals in their chosen field.  Sometimes these relationships develop into very real professional experience.

massage therapy programNatiana Nygaard, a student in the massage therapy school at Globe University-Wausau, first met Allen Musch, owner of Inner Element Massage in Stevens Point, as an instructor in the massage therapy program on campus. Natiana was able to work with Allen in the labs as well as at various events.  While Natiana was getting to know Allen as an instructor, Allen was getting to know Natiana.

Allen observed, “My experience with Natiana in class was that she has all the promise of being a very successful massage therapist. She is very friendly with a welcoming personality.  She’s intuitive and has the focus that is necessary to do well in this field.” 

So when Allen was given the opportunity to host Natiana during her externship, he was happy to agree.  “Anyone who truly loves massage truly is always happy to talk, share and teach others about it,” Allen said. “I am very passionate about massage and helping others succeed–especially those that don’t plan to open a practice across the street from me.” 

Natiana also felt that knowing Allen as an instructor prior to the externship was helpful. She said, “Having my externship with Allen has been really fun! I got to know him as an instructor the quarter before, so it was easier to work with him.”

Allen knows from his previous experiences hosting students and especially his experiences on his own externships, that it is most beneficial to tailor the externship experience to meet the needs and interests of the students. 

While Allen’s externs will certainly experience working on a variety of clients, he knows that students come to their externship having had experience with the technical aspects of massage through their classes and lab work. 

He also knows that some externships include a great deal of the “drudgery” of daily work, like cleaning the office and folding sheets.  Natiana did experience some of that, too–as all of Allen’s externs do–because that is part of the job. However, Natiana’s experience centered more on the business of massage, learning about forms, advertising, marketing, as well as business focus and planning.

In Natiana’s case, Allen knew exactly what she had learned in her business and ethics of massage class, because he was her instructor.

Allen explained, “In that class we discussed a lot about marketing yourself and networking. One of the things I had Natiana do was to attend business networking meetings for the Wisconsin region of Business Networking International, which I attend weekly. I talked specifically about this group and the advantages and disadvantages of it in class.  In her externship with me, she was able to experience and participate first hand in what being a part of a networking group is all about. She drew a number of her clients during her externship from that group. Many of them came back to see her more than once. That is not an experience I could give her in class.”  

Natiana was also able to experience that many situations can be used for a marketing advantage.  Allen and Natiana had worked together at events, but Allen wanted to give Natiana the experience of using an event as a marketing opportunity.  So when Adventure 212, a local business, sponsored a health fair, Allen and Natiana made it a point to attend.  They were able to speak with many of the businesses, and Natiana observed how already-strong contacts can be strengthened, lost, or old contacts can be renewed, and new relationships can be formed.

Natiana agreed that these experiences were helpful. She remembers the lessons from the business and ethics of massage class and she appreciates that her externship experiences reinforced those lessons.  She said, “It was all very helpful to me because I will one day start my own massage business, so learning all the tips and information was really cool.”

She added, “I enjoyed the experience at Inner Element. I’m sad to see it is almost over. The entire externship was a good experience for me.  I think I am well prepared for after graduation and I move on to new things.”

Interested in massage therapy careers? Call today to learn more: 877-303-6060.

By Natiana Nyggard, Massage Therapy Student, Globe University-Wausau, and Allen Musch, LMT and Owner of Inner Element Massage and Adjunct Massage Faculty Globe University-Wausau